If you’re looking for a fine-dining experience in every single sense of the word, consider Level Four at 54 on Bath Hotel in Rosebank. I was invited to a media preview of their new recipes, as a guest of Nederburg, and while I find I’m no longer overwhelmed with fine-dining, I found their offering truly breathtaking.
I know that a lot of people don’t think that hotels are open to the general public, or that the best that they can expect is a grisly buffet. Fortunately, this is not the case at 54 on Bath.
The restaurant is bright, breezy & spacious – perfect for a daytime visit, and probably even more so at night. The patio overlooking the city , with its manicured lawn for playing croquet, is very pleasant although I have on occasion found it a bit windy – not that I hold the hotel responsible for the weather. The food is exquisite, both in presentation and flavour – testament to the Tsogo’s award winning chefs.
One of Tsogo Sun’s chefs, Henrico Grobbelaar, also represented South Africa in the Culinary Olympics as part of the South African National Culinary Team (2016) and also won Unilever Food Solutions Senior Chef of the Year (2016).
The yellowfin tuna had me on presentation alone, but it was the freshness of the fish juxtaposed against the richness of the avocado and the astringency & sweetness of the Bloody Mary jelly that popped for me. I was expecting the flavours to meet expectations but the ricocheting flavours literally popped. It was an amuse bouche that left one hanging in anticipation for the starter course.
Our starter was titled a symphony of salmon set upon a medley of sea food. It included a salmon parfait, rock lobster, and a mild curried bisque sauce. It was a whimsical presentation that included the parfait being moulded to resemble sea-shells, a zesty soil to resemble sea-sand, and some beads to resemble fish eggs. I thought the curried bisque was a tasty in its own right but didn’t live up to expectation as it could have been spicier – no that I am complaining, because I don’t enjoy spicy foods, but I thought they could have pushed the envelope further considering they were advertising a (mild) curry bisque with salmon.
The main course was a hearty portion of sous vide lamb neck served with butternut and garnished with an apricot salsa, pine nuts and cumin. If a silent dining table is an indication of how many people are enjoying their meal, I think this dish would make even angels sing. Admittedly, it would be near impossible to ruin anything with sous vide cooking, but the lamb neck was heavenly. The apricot salsa added a fruity accent without overpowering the lamb, while the cumin was added a subtle earthiness. On the menu it looked like it would have a Mediterranean flavour profile, but fortunately, the additions to the lamb allowed the lamb to be the star of the dish.
I often complain that I never see enough vegetables on my plate, but the generous portions of sweet potato puree, butternut, and glazed carrots left me without complaint.
Dessert was a delicately flavoured vanilla cheesecake served on a pecan nut crust, offset with an astringent gooseberry parfait, macerated strawberries, and and ice cream. dessert was as decadent as it sounds, but surprisingly refreshing as the portion was perfectly portioned, and was neither too sweet or too rich. It was a perfect ending to a wonderful dining experience.