The Handbook
The Handbook

After a mesmerising walk from the Car Park below Westfield shopping centre out on to the Restaurants South Terrace, it took a few wrong turns until we found the bright red awning ‘The Meat and Wine Company’. As I entered the large, spacious downstairs bar, it rather reminded me of a big East-African hotel lobby. However, as I gazed around, the orangey, mud and red coloured walls in this mellow lit room were decorated in subtle but classy mask like African decor. We were welcomed by smiley staff who guided us upstairs to the restaurant, lift or stairs – we took the stairs to wet our appetite a little more.

The impressive layout and beauty of the restaurant had a noticeably long, flaming, false, but very effective long fire opposite the neatly designed kitchen. The kitchen was viewable to the customer through a glass sheet which succeeded to make the walk to our table all the more exciting. The music, a mixture of African and light jazz complimented the setting of the similar themed African, safari vibe. We were given a lovely waiter for the evening, Professor; he was a bubble of knowledge, humour and efficiency and was a great part of our evening. After flicking through the rather vast but extremely impressive menu, our starters consisted of fish, knowing that we would be dining on the renowned beef later. The Peri-Peri prawns served with a small bundle of rice was a flavoursome delight, the sauce, mixed with chilli and herbs, being a fresh kick start. The scallops (ordered from the main as a starter) missed the kick but were a lovely and natural dish, as scallops should be.  I was slightly perturbed to find that the chocolate and beetroot Bread was not available because it is sent from Dubai and they were waiting for a delivery! So I felt better without it.

While we waited for our main, we sipped on a delicious red and fruity wine, The Chocolate Box Truffle Cab Sauv, Rocland, Barossa, 2010 Australia. The wine complimented one of the best fillet steaks I have ever eaten. Perfectly rounded, perfectly medium-rare, the green peppercorn sauce poured ever so delicately over the seared grill marks, so not to ruin the succulent taste of the beef. I also made a conscious decision to order the British reared beef, rather than the Canadian. The beef came with crispy hand-cut crisps, or salad if you prefer, and we ordered a range of side orders – grilled asparagus, garlic mushrooms and creamy spinach. All very tasty and very generous portions; one or two is enough to share.

Struggling for space, we couldn’t resist the pudding menu. Malva pudding! A traditional well-known South African pudding, it is a speciality in our household, the recipe sourced from a restaurant in South Africa many years ago. It arrived denser and darker than what we were used to; the light buttery sauce flowed over the sponge and tasted spectacular topped with vanilla ice cream. I ordered the chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream – a far-fetched combination. The outside of the fondant broke perfectly, the inside a runny, almost raw centre of oozing chocolate.

A stunning evening in a somewhat large space, but well themed, designed and well presented restaurant with an array of rich menu choices, especially its speciality, the range of super aged meat. Come and celebrate its 5th Anniversary at the exclusive High-Five authentic South African event on 30th October.