Five Flies, CBD, Cape Town: Restaurant Review


Five Flies
14-16 Keerom Street, Cape Town 8001

Category: Fine Dining
Open for: Lunch, Dinner
Under review: Dinner
SA Blog recommends? Definitely

Snippet
I had heard that the food at Five Flies can be hit-or-miss. Our server, Andre, seemed to know this and guided us toward dishes that he felt were outstanding. I took his recommendations on two of the three dishes and the only one I considered a disappointment was the one I choose on my own.

(See full review below.)

Price range: Medium-to-High
Fare: Haute cuisine
This meal cost: R175 per person
Including tip? No
Including wine? No
Food score (out of 10): 7.5
Service score (out of 10): 9
Reservations? Essential
Corkage? N/A

Booking Information
Tel: +27 (0) 21 424 4442, Fax: +27 (0) 21 423 1048
Email: info@fiveflies.co.za
Website: www.fiveflies.co.za
Also reviewed in: Rossouw’s Restaurants

Review
Tucked away in the legal district off of Long Street, Five Flies can be so hard to find the restaurant has even put a map on its business card.

Situated in an old colonial building, the stables have now been converted into a bar, and the marble stairs leading to the second floor have been worn with age.

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Having missed our reservation time, my dining partner and I were given the option of sitting in the foyer near the doors, instead of the preferred courtyard. However, with a little questioning about available seats, we were able to wheedle our way into the offer of the ‘honeymoon table’.

Set back in the wine cellar with a dozen or so long, dripping candles, the seating is certainly intimate… at least, when there are not other diners traipsing through to check out the architecture. Although an interesting place to dine, it’s not for the claustrophobic, as quarters can be quite cramped, especially when the waiter arrives to take your order.

I had heard that the food at Five Flies can be hit-or-miss. Our server, Andre, seemed to know this and guided us toward dishes that he felt were outstanding. I took his recommendations on two of the three dishes and the only one I considered a disappointment was the one I choose on my own.

Five Flies has a prix-fixe menu of 2, 3 or 4 courses. I suggest starting with two and adding on others if you are still hungry. Prices are R125.00, R 155.00 and R185.00, respectively. You can also order a la carte if you wish, as the fixed menu does not give you “more bang for your buck”. Note that some dishes, especially seafood, have supplemental costs.

To begin with, I snagged a taste of the Saldanha Bay mussels, cooked in white wine, cream, garlic and basil. Despite not being a fan of the shellfish, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed these – they were not rubbery or gritty.

My starter was the Norwegian shrimp, buffalo mozzarella, avocado, toasted almonds and raspberry vinaigrette salad. It was also topped by fried string onions, which seemed out of place. Unfortunately, everything in the salad had a surprising lack of flavor. This was the dish I had chosen on my own.

Waiter Andre had heartily endorsed my fish entree: sesame seed-crusted pink salmon, seared to medium. It sat on a bed of mashed potatoes with spinach, and was topped by fried green… somethings. I ignored the crisp greens and found the potatoes slightly overcooked, but the fish was outstanding. I am always wary of ordering possibly undercooked and gelatin-like seafood, but I found this to be perfectly done.

I finished off my dinner with a glass of (possibly 1999?) Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia, and fresh strawberries with Frangelico cream in a pastry cup. The wine tasted strongly of flowers, but was enjoyable in its uniqueness.

The dessert was fantastic, except for its too-thick, relatively tasteless pastry. My dining companion’s meringue layers with chocolate mousse and vanilla pod ice cream and chocolate sauce looked impressive, but wasn’t as stellar as the artistic detail suggested.

Overall, the service, ambiance and presentation of the food suggested a restaurant far more expensive than Five Flies. Although the taste is not always quite there, I believe a meal here offers excellent value.

Wine: Waterford 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine score: (out of 5): 4
Wine notes: Very easy to drink cab sav with a softer nose. Came heartily recommended by our waiter. Wine does not open up very much, but still improves after 5 minutes.