As you know, we just celebrated our first wedding anniversary! We also just happened to be invited to a slew of newly launched restaurants, so we decided to extend the celebrations for a few days, being treated to a different dinner each night! First up was an utterly divine dinner at the newly launched Italian eatery, Blanko in the iconic Alphen Hotel, Constantia. Transformed from the 5 Rooms Restaurant before it, Blanko is an all-white, blank canvas (hence the name) for incredible, unfussy yet beautiful food and astonishing artworks.
Functioning as an ‘all day eatery’ and gallery, the setting of white Italian marble tables, beautiful furnishings and stylish touches make this a wonderful lazy lunch and sophisticated date night venue. But, most importantly, the food certainly delivers. Over and above the William Kentridge’s and Mikhael Subotzky’s on the wall, on the plate each dish is yet another piece of artistry.
For appetisers we ordered a bowl of the much recommended deep fried green olives. DEEP FRIED OLIVES are a revelation! Stuffed with slow roasted, sweet garlic and crumbed before frying until golden, these little nuggets were heavenly. I could easily eat a giant bowl of those any day. Lucky for me, Tim was distracted from photos from his recent trip to the UK, so I ate most of them ;) Also, I basically drowned myself in their signature, sexy little number – the spiced pear bellini cocktail – oh my word, yum. Goes down smooth and tastes like Christmas.
For starters we shared a bowl of mussels in a thyme and lemon cream sauce (R80) and grilled calamari with chilli and lemon (R95). The portion of mussels was massive and utterly delicious! I would totally order it as a main next time. So yum.
Then we moved onto a beautifully clean tasting grilled seabass (R200) for Tim which he loved and the grilled sole (R205) for me. I love sole and I was looking forward to all that yummy, luscious butter, but this was done differently with a herb crumb which I liked, but not as much as lemon butter sole. Still, I licked my plate :) Chef Amber-May Deetleefs sure knows her stuff.
For dessert we shared a vanilla panna cotta (R50) with strawberries, mint, lemon and olive oil. The torn cake that accompanied it was to die for and the consistency of the panna cotta was perfect. A brilliant send off to a superb, generous dinner.
After we vehemently and veritably stuffed ourselves, we took a quick tour around the venue to look at the art. One of my favourites was this giant optical illusion in three parts – and apparently I’m the first one to get all three right in the night time. It’s easier to see in the day without the glare of overhead lights reflecting in the glass. I won’t spoil it for you – it’s too much fun to do yourself!
All in all, Blanko is a divine new spot. You can enjoy your meal outside with the gorgeous views over the historic Alphen lawns or inside in one of the gallery rooms. It’s evident the consideration that went into every detail here, from the new wood flooring covering and preserving forever the original 300 year old parquet to the choice of local artworks and the minimalist interiors. Everything performs as a stage for the food, the art and views to shine.
Blanko is open from Monday to Sunday from 12PM – 10.30PM. Find them here.
Images: Supplied and my own