It was restaurant-exploring night again and man-person had to pick a restaurant. Impressively he discovered a spot I never heard of (despite passing the building numerous times before) and the excitement rose.
At first I was a little weary because of their location and also the fact that the butchery they ran by day was attached to restaurant. But soon realized that I clearly needed to pay more attention when I was told to not judge a book by its cover.
This place blew my mind (without blowing my wallet) and coincidentally my taste buds too. And this wasn’t one of those “expected the worst so anything would have been better” cases either.
I kicked off the evening with a Watermelon and Ginger Ling cocktail and ended it off with a Chocolate Fondant. I am probably the only person I know who does not enjoy desserts, and this was the first time I have ever ordered a dessert purely because I was enjoying the food so much I wanted the whole experience.
I ordered the New England Clam Chowder for starters, which I usually find either a bit watery and flavourless or too rich. This was just the right consistency and they had more than enough of those clammy buggers in there to keep a girl happy.
Man-person had the Beef Carpaccio served with Cranberry Compote and Parmesan and to use his words (loosely translated between the mouthfuls of food) “the best Carpaccio I’ve ever had and I’ve had plenty – also the biggest portion of beautifully sliced meat.” I can vouch for that. I have tasted a few here and there and the compote with those slivers of meat simply melted in my mouth.
We both zoned in on steaks for mains, seeing as meat is their thing. The steaks are 21-day dry aged meats and all of their steaks are served with a demi glace and roasted marrowbone. To spoil you even more you can choose 2 side dishes from 13 possible side dishes. I know, the luxuries.
The steaks are big. I had the Rump (300g) and “D” had the Prime Rib (600g). The steaks aren’t fancy and they aren’t covered in foreign rubs or mystical fairy dust. These are just good old school steaks prepared with love. They focus solely on enhancing the flavor of the meat and you realise this as soon as you take your first bite. Slap on the marrow and it turns into such a succulent bite that your tongue will dig out all the dance moves in existence and bust a move like never seen before. They were also perfectly cooked, something I rarely find.
I can’t really comment on the dessert, as I have nothing to compare it to – not eating desserts on a regular basis. All I know is that the fondant was very chocolaty and had a perfect runny center (which from what I’ve witnessed from past fondant encounters makes it a perfect little delight).
Our waiter was excellent; the music gave it a very European atmosphere. People were laughing and wine was flowing. The owner stopped by our table for a chit-chat and I actually learned a few things from him about Grappa – also tasted my first Grappa. He makes you feel like part of his family and you immediately notice how passionate he is about food and wine.
One of my favourite things about the evening was that I could see the staff plate the food. I regret that I did not ask his name, but the gentleman plating the food on that evening was such a pleasure to watch. It was clear that he used the plates as his canvas and the precision he used amazed me. I loved watching him and wish I complimented him on this (next time I will for sure).
While I was getting up to leave I was already thinking of what I would order next time we went. If I had golden recommendation stickers I would give Alpine Restaurant more than I should. Do not continue living in Johannesburg without visiting this restaurant. It would be a sin if I’ve ever seen one.
85 Braam Fischer Drive, Ferndale