Last Saturday night hubs and I were invited to sample and review the newly opened The Mess in Green Point, Cape Town. With such a strange name, we were intrigued, but it turns out that a mess is the last thing you’ll find here. Considered and contemporary decor, extremely flavourful curated dishes and attentive staff make this a very well-rounded culinary experience.
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
The Mess, it turns out, derives its name from the 15th century term used to describe a group of people dining together. The concept for the eatery, originated by restaurateur Carlene de Gouveia, is one of casual, relaxed yet sophisticated dining with an emphasis on sharing, hence the gathering and ‘the mess’. Tapas and sharing plates are nothing new of course in Cape Town, but the defining element of The Mess is its extremely well priced and generous portions. The concept is popular because it works – it’s a fun experience without compromising on big, punchy flavours.
Guys. The food is great. The veggie options were to die for – and for me, the true mark of a chef is how they cater to vegetarians. Hubs and I are ‘flexitarians’ – we were vegetarians for a long time, and then ate meat, then went back to being veggies and now we’re pretty much pescatarians. But vegetarian dishes are always my first choice when we go out and too often we’re left to fend with some boring salad or wilting side veg. Chef Luke Wonnacott doesn’t disappoint and caters to a diverse vegetarian palate as well as a truly delectable meat and seafood offering.
For starters we had the tuna ceviche, which has got to be the best ceviche I’ve ever had. Hands down. Served on mini tacos and marinated in lime juice, these were light, crunchy and a perfect introduction to the rest of the menu. We imbibed some of the largest gin and tonics I’ve ever seen – we had the cherry and cucumber and neither of us could finish them! Encouraged to sample as much as we liked, we decided on the soft shell crab with Sriracha mayo, cauliflower and mushroom platter, truffle fries (omg yum), Cape Malay curry with naan with smoked apricot chutney, and, tummies very full, we split a creme brûlée between us that was just the creamiest, most indulgent end to a fantastic dinner.
It’s a small menu with enough variety to go back and try something else. Flavours are clean and fresh, portions are deceptively massive and the wine is kept flowing. All in all, we had a great time! The Mess made for an exceptional date night and with its lovely outside area will be a great spot for cocktails and dinner in summer. Do yourself a favour – go make a mess!
For more information: The Mess