I’m often a little skeptical about hotel restaurants – because they have a captive market, they don’t have to try too hard and they can be a little thin in the atmosphere department.
Not Basalt, though, which has its home at The Peech. I think that if I were going out on a first date and looking for somewhere that would impress, this gorgeous venue would definitely be high on my list.
It’s the sophisticated simplicity of the Basalt that got me from the start: it’s striking and bold, but not at all fussy. A tad on the moody side of the colour palette, it just feels comfortable.
On the menu? Chef Freddie Dias has a penchant for straight-forward flavours and dishes that let the quality of the ingredients speak for themselves. That sounds deceptively simple, because on the fork, his philosophy translates into layers and layers of tastes and textures. I went for the tuna tataki, a gloriously fresh dish spiked with habanero salsa, avo, corn and red onion, while my husband chose the ajo blanco, which is an absolutely stunning taste explosion, with summer peaches contrasting garlic.
I continued my Asian flaours theme with slow-roasted duck breast and finished off with sweet citrus burst dessert. All I can say about my pudding is Oh. My. Word. Coming in the middle of a heat wave, this icy naartjie treat was blissfully refreshing and I was enjoying it tremendously – and then I found its creamy custard heart. That’s when any possibility of sharing went out the window and I lost all interest in my husband’s plum, poached in red wine and served with smoked chocolate – although he said that was great too.
Basalt is an absolute treat for when you’re in the mood for somewhere that’s decidedly next level.