Lunching at Foliage

I admit – I’m not a food blogger, or even a foodie. My descriptive adjectives when describing taste sensations are limited to about 2 and I don’t claim to know different cooking methods and techniques and even occasionally (and sometimes not occasionally) have to ask the waiter what something is on a menu. I admit these things.


I love food. Good food. The best kind of food and I don’t mind paying for it. I don’t spend money on Louboutins and LV handbags (or even Nine West or Aldo), but I’ll gladly spend it on food (and on travel – obviously).

I don’t eat fast food. Ever. Even hungover (not that I can recall what a hangover is these days. Its been a while).

Luckily for me, I have someone in my life that, while has been known to add tomato sauce and avo to a classic fried egg on toast, also has an appreciation for fine food. After being hooked to Master Chef (Australia) this past season, we both now have seen what all goes into creating the masterpiece plates of delicate food that we eat, and the price tags for the finest ingredients beautifully prepared and artfully plated, is (mostly) justified.

Foliage has been on my eat-list (its a real list. Written on my kitchen’s blackboard. A list of restaurants we need to visit. Some may say its also a hint list for date nights. Its not really working as a hint list though) since this time last year when I was recommended we go, and instead I booked another restaurant and had the worst dining experience of our life (including chipped plates, fetching our own water from inside their kitchen and waiting 3 hours for our meal).

While definitely more of a dinner spot, with its warm dark interiors and fireplace, we lunched because at a million months pregnant, dinner isn’t much more than a piece of toast due to feeling so full by the day’s end.

The food was nothing short of sublime (adjective 1). It was beautiful (adjective 2) to look at, but not in that ‘what the hell is this and do I want to eat it’ kind of way (thinking back to squid ink the year before which was interesting, but caused a moment’s hesitation). Beautiful in the kind of way that makes you almost forget to photograph it before you dive straight in. We had a front row seat (not actually a chef’s table, but a table next to the kitchen) of the chefs in action, and a full view of all the bottles and jars of ingredients and local produce in the kitchen. I love an open plan kitchen most new restaurants have these days that not only allows us to watch the magicians in action, but also builds our respect for their work as they’re doing it on display.  No one likes to be watched while working.

We started with a shared starter. Not because we’re stingy, because the reality of my eye-ball to appetite to stomach size ratio is not accurate and I always want to try everything and land up doing the dessert an injustice due to the other courses.

The restaurant was slow when we ordered, so the Chef (had time I suppose to) split our starter onto two plates for us (how nice of him). A beautiful presentation and an incredibly decent size half-portion in my opinion. Also, really incredibly tasty and many an ooh and aah (and not many other adjectives) could be heard from our table.

Almond-roasted crayfish tail, crispy sweetbreads, apple & pomegranate glaze, ferms, garlic puree, forest mushrooms – R145

As my natural selection of medium-rare meat has been off limits for the past 9 months, I did something I never do and ordered the pork belly. The waitress recommended it, and as nervous as I was (it only took one time in London for me to be off it for life) – I’m so glad I did. It renewed my faith in pork belly and my understanding as to why so many restaurants have it on their menu. It was sublime (adjective 1.. again. Don’t say I didn’t tell you).

Roasted pork belly, sweet corn cromesquis, barley & marogo ragout, chili & banana yoghurt – R205

Just because I can’t eat meat the half-raw kind of way, doesn’t mean anyone else at our table should be deprived and the intended encouragement to order it was selfish – as one small ‘taste’ couldn’t do any harm to my pregnancy. So Mark ordered what I couldn’t. The bone marrow was the highlight on the plate for him, but personally that swiggle orangey sauce thing will always impress me the most. Its all about the presentation.

Braised kudu shake boudin, springbok loin, roasted bone marrow, mushroom & oyster, honeybush jus – R225

And finally, the dessert that I almost didn’t have space for – yes, even with the half starter and without any wine. Again a tough choice, especially as we were sharing it (yes again! I call bull on the ‘eating for two’ thing – when the other 1 you’re eating for is taking up all the space inside of you, there’s not a lot of room for the extra you’d like to eat!)

We selected the caramelia delice, peanut butter & marshmallow chocolate rock, num nums basically because of the word num-nums. The flowers were unexpected but so pretty!

Caramelia delice, peanut butter & marshmallow chocolate rock, num nums – R80

This is a dessert intended for one person and even shared, we still almost couldn’t finish it which leads me to an important point: Besides the beautiful food – too look at, and to taste – the great service and knowledgeable team plus the friendly chefs, I was notably impressed by the portion sizes. Yes, we’ve done a lot of ‘tasting menu’s where the portion sizes are smaller so you can have more of them and I understand this is the point at some restaurants, but we’ve also been to restaurants where the sizes are just small and one bite leaves you yearning for more, but ultimately dissatisfied and with no room to possibly ‘try’ your husbands medium rare kudu. Granted we’ve also had the contrary – massive plates of food that are much to be desired. But Foliage was the perfect balance.

Everything was incredible and we left impressed by the beauty of the food, satisfied but not to the point of being over-full and mostly with a delicious memory of our last fantastic meal out and as just a family of two.



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