Saturday, July 31, 2010

Is Kream Pretoria's Crèmè de la Crèmè?

On Thursday night I braved the traffic from Jo'burg to Pretoria for a team dinner at the much Talked about Kream. Walking into Kream, Brooklyn Pretoria, I can't believe I'm in Pretoria. Could this little dorpie have matured this much? Oh yes it has!

The decor is modern very clean and minimalistic (silver and white) with great lighting, and I'm led upstairs where half of the party is seated. Drinks orders are placed, the rest of the party arrives, let the games begin.

Now being the planner I am, I knew exactly what I was going to order off the menu. The Foie Gras (Pan seared), Duck Confit and Cherries Jubilee.

The bread rolls are big, portuguese, warm, lovely smothered with butter. Drinks are served, I ordered a mojito charged with appletiser. The host tells us the specials with great enthusiasm and I suspect all that enthusiasm is the reason he's losing his voice.

The service gives an attentive feel but I had to tell the waitress that our table is ready to order our starters, then the specials were told and now we wait for another 10 minutes. So I tell her once again that we're ready to order starters and I'm told she'll get the manager. The manager then arrives to take our order, strange now I have a few trust issues with our waitress.

My Starter is the crushed almond crusted Foie Gras served with gooseberry jam. The foie gras was soft, rich with a somewhat crunchy crust. It was plated with a side of crisps, why crisps I don't know but let's put it down to small town touches. The gooseberry jam had a confyt taste- made me think of my granny.
Other starters ordered were the scallops, avocado crayfish and thai prawn wraps.
Scallops, I'm told were tasty, are served with doorstep slices of brown bread, no not wholewheat brown bread, and a lemon in netting tied with green ribbon. small town touches!

My Main  can you believe it I deviated from plan and went with one of the specials the Beef Saltimbocca which I was told is packed with flavour. It is layers of beef fillet topped with parma ham, basil, melted mozzarella and smothered with a light parmesan cheese sauce.
Note: I asked the manager, that took the order, whether the fillet is made perfectly, which to me means medium to medium-rare, and the manager said yes. And when it arrived, it was far from perfect almost well done. The fillet being the star of the dish, it had already been let down before I even go into the other flavours.
I also asked what it was served with and was told ratatouille, what arrived was roast baby marrows and cherry tomatoes maybe it's ratatouille Pretoria style.

The parma ham was crisp but sparse, one basil leaf per slice of meat, the cheese was a combination of melted mozzarella and gran padano. For me grilled gran padano is a definitiveno no! The best part of the of the entire dish was the basil pesto and the roast tomatoes.

I was more than underwhelmed by the Beef Saltimbocca and would suggest that it is never mentioned as a special. Maybe by small town standards it's special but not by foodie fix standards.
A colleague ordered the Duck Confit and said it's very mediocre home cooking.

Dessert: Cherries Jubilee black cherries flambèd in cherry liqueur served with ice-cream.

So let's do a wrap up of the small town touches:

  • Crisps/ chips served with the Foie Gras, what a paradox.

  • Doorstop slices of brown bread, I would suggested substituting it with toasted slices of speciality bread

  • Brown bread, I know we trying to work on minimising cost but I'd rather have fresh home baked bread (flour, yeast and water) than brown bread

  • Lemon slices in a net served with their seafood. What is that?
Overall great decor shouts high end dining and the ambience is good quite bustling on a busy thursday night. The presentation of the food can be worked on, dishes should be plated clean and balanced.

So word of advice if ever you are in Pretoria ask for the item on the menu that the chef would serve to Nataniel, hopefully you won't be disappointed.

So Kream may be the cream of the crop in Pretoria but alas they will not make it in the big bad Jozi Foodie Fix fine dining world.

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