#DineJoziStyle3SIXTY #3SixtyNewMenu reviewed by Moira de Swardt @MontecasinoZA

#DineJoziStyle3SIXTY #3SixtyNewMenu reviewed by Moira de Swardt @MontecasinoZA

“We’ve been invited to 3Sixty at Montecasino for a #DineJoziStyle event,”

“The cocktail place?:

Yes, my perception of 3Sixty Liquid Lounge is that it is a cocktail place is well founded.  The first thing I found on the net is their cocktail menu. Now I am not really a cocktail sort of person, but I love the whole look of exotic cocktails.  I was excited by this whole thing.

I phoned the restaurant to get directions to the venue once I am in Montecasino.  I am mobility impaired.  I ask for the closest entrance.  Often this information is wrong and I land up walking a marathon across malls and venues.  This time I am given directions which work for me.  This is a major plus at the beginning of the evening.

The venue is in the main casino itself. Definitely not child friendly. The decor is lean and clean but very comfortable. I was offered a cocktail. I didn’t bother with the cocktail/shooter menu.  Instead I asked for something “extravagant and non-alcoholic”.  I got a fruity, overly sweet drink.  I topped it up with some fancy Pellegrino sparkling water and it was greatly improved.

The way the evening was going to work was simple.  The kitchen, open to the restaurant, had a “bench table” around it.  Some very comfortable chairs were at the bench table.  This was it.  The chef’s bench, or chef’s table.  The chef can talk to us direct about the food.

I get to meet the Chef.  Blake Anderson.  I get to meet his two sous chefs.  Chatting to one of them about my niece who has just graduated as a chef turns up the fact that Chef Blake Anderson lectured my niece.  He remembered her.

I get another cocktail.  A virgin Italian Hugo.  Pronounced “Ugo”.  This is apparently the trendy drink in Europe this summer.  It is elderflower, prosecco (hence the “Italian”) and mint.  Mine gets sparkling water.  Pellegrino.again.  It stays Italian even in the virgin form.  This time I am impressed.  The drink is not too sweet.  Very refreshing and thirst quenching.  I am definitely adding this to my repertoire.

The menu tasting starts.  Each of these are minute portions sized to be enough for tasting, but not enough to bloat one. The chef assures us we will be begging for mercy at the end.

We start with a shooter.  A rosemary elderflower gin concoction.  It tastes pleasant, but I lose the flavour of the gin.

The first course is a Amuse Bouche.  Tomatao gazpacho deconstructed.  I have had something similar elsewhere.  Except that when it arrives it is nothing like I have had elsewhere.  The cucumber is gin soaked.

The second course is a Pea and Artichoke Miza.  Crushed pea, yoghurt labneh, grilled artichoke an mint with tortilla crisp, micro herbs.  Labneh is simply strained yoghurt.  Thicker than yoghurt.  Also sometimes called yoghurt cheese.  I love this course.  The man next to me doesn’t like peas. I debate licking the plate, discarding the idea only because people are watching.  At home I would have licked the plate.

The next course is the Prawn Thermidor Croquette.  I love prawns.  I am allergic to prawns.  This is such a little portion.  I decide to risk it, especially as I know Montecasino has an on-site medic.  The prawn, tarragon and Dijon mustard infused croquette, deep fried and served with parmesan cheese cream is delicious.  The prawn tail ceviche with tomato and parsley lime salsa slightly less to my taste. I eat it all, allergy notwithstanding, but am not tempted to lick the plate.  (I experienced no negative reaction).

The main courses start with  confit duck tortellini.  Deep fried confit duck leg tortellini with Asian infused mushroom ragout, marinated cucumber and carrot ribbons, hoisin an duck broth and micro herb salad.  We are given chopsticks.  Foodie event.  Everyone handles their chopsticks with ease.  The mushrooms are wild mushrooms and delicately flavoured.  Nothing in the dish overpowers them.  This is one of those wonderful dishes and if I were returning to the restaurant for full portions this might well be the one I choose.

Griddled corn chicken.  Amasi poached chicken lollipop, panko crumb, sweetcorn puree, candied bacon, black pepper micro popcorn.  This is paired with an “I dare you” shooter made with bacon syrup.  Not bad.

We move on to an “off-menu” item entitled “Local is lekker”.  Pap and chakalaka.  The pap is a cheese filled deep fried ball nestling on a bed of chakalaka.   It is good and the chakalaka is spicy.

I have another cocktail.  This time a virgin peach and ginger margarita with a salt rim.  It is very, very, very good.

The herb gnocchi is the best gnocchi I have ever eaten.  Not that I eat gnocchi often. I generally find it doughy and bland. This was neither. It was served with basil pesto cream, braised heirloom tomatoes and wild rocket with the wonderful arched grilled parmeson cheese crumb bake.

The last of the main courses was herb crusted salmon, with Moroccan spiced couscous, lemon creme fraiche, parsley pesto an micro vegetables.  I loved it.  It is the other main course I would seriously consider ordering on return visits.

Desserts to follow.  I ask for a cocktail to go with my desserts.  I get a virgin strawberry daiquiri.

The first dessert is called “Cookies and Cream”.  White chocolate cheesecake with Oreo crumbs, an Oreo macaron and dark chocolate gelato.  On the side is a glass of salted caramel topped with a charred marshmallow.  Very nice.  Guilt inducing in a diabetic.

The “Indian Summer” overcomes all guilt.  I will eat this again any time.  It is a cardomom, orange and cinnamon infused sago pudding, with grilled pineapple dusted in masala, pickled and candied kerala style gooseberry with coconut cream sorbet.  I love this.

My mother taught me to say “I have now had an elegant sufficiency” when I was full.  By this time I have gone beyond elegant sufficiency.  I am full.  I am almost begging for mercy.

The finale arrives.  Three Jack Daniels an honey chocolate truffles entitled “Friandise”.  I had always thought friandise were something different based on the fact that I was once served some sweet cakes with fruit dipped into a crisp caramel as “friandise”.  Interesting. One learns all the time.

These were served with a mocca shooter.  Similar to Tia Maria or Kahlua.  Very nice, and the only shooter I finished.

I took these three truffles home.  They were my lunch the next day, a sweet reminder of a WONDERFUL evening.

3Sixty is one of those venues which one should experience when one does not have to drive home and more particularly when one does not have to rouse oneself from bed at a hideous hour for an early morning call to work.  I would have stayed to enjoy the company and perhaps sample a wonderful flaming liqueur if this early morning threat had not been looming.

The conviviality of the evening was almost as amazing as the food and drinks. Certainly a memorable evening.

From a corporate point of view, this is an evening which can be duplicated for team building or small celebratory events.

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