We went to Bertus' first braai at Overture last night. After his many weeks on the road with the braai competition, our expectation was high.
The food was great - as always at Overture. The starter was mussels steamed in beer w/ vegies (we were tempted to drink the broth!!!), served with grilled bread (was great to soak up the mussel broth). The main was braai'ed pork belly and chops, with a maize salad and a cole slaw, along with fresh gaucamole and tortillas. The dessert was a cheese board with bread. All the food (except the mussels) was served on wooden wine barrel planks and platters. Felt very appropriate for the braai menu. The food price was R165/person, with drinks additional as you wished.
Seating was at two long 'community' tables. There were around 40 people there last night and we were set up on the stoep - gratefully enclosed by the windscreens. Very comfortable - but you needed to be in a mood to converse with others - in some cases, groups were chatty - in other cases, lots of silence around the tables. Small solar glass jars and king proteas added beauty, along with cute checked serviettes at each place.
Bertus and his staff always do a fabulous job of food. I think there were some kinks to work out on the logistics:
- Advertised and confirmed to start at 6; upon arrival, we were told we would receive a welcome glass of wine, and then move to the tables at 7. I could have used that hour elsewhere. If it really starts at 7, tell me 7 - or even 6:30 for 7 - but an hour???? Nope.
- We paid before the meal, and could buy wine at that time (or anytime during the evening), which would be chillled / or put by our seats at the table. However, there was no menu at the pay point to help guide the wine decision. The person at the paypoint also didn't know the menu.
- Because we paid up front, and paid for our wine up front, there was no natural or convenient time or method of giving a tip to the wait staff. Perhaps Bertus et al included the tip in the meal cost, or paid his servers extra realizing the transaction timing - but this felt like a gap and I hope his servers didn't get cheated by the evening.
- Service was not up to the normal high standards we usually experience at Overture. I know this was a first time braai, but still... took repeated asking to get our bottle of wine opened, we needed to help the waiters determine how/where to place the family style platters of food ... servers didn't have a clue of the types of cheese on the cheese board ... we had to chase down coffee after the meal, and here was another money exchange (now up to 3: one for food, one later for wine, and a third for coffee).
If Bertus does this again, I'm confident that his team will close the gaps on the first night hiccups.
We enjoyed it, and we're glad we went, and we loved the food, and we met some very kind new people and had a great conversation. If we go again, we'll probably collect a larger group of our friends and create a bit of our 'party' in the midst of the large group.
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