tashas Comes To Town
It was love at first sight when I read a tashas menu on the internet two years ago. I wish Cape Town had one of these, I thought, and since mid April, we do. At Constantia Village.
With one Mozambican Greek granny and another from Cyprus, Natasha has great food genes. She bought a Ninos store in 2001, converted it to the first tashas and today has five stores in Joburg, one in Pretoria, one in Durban and the most recent arrival in Constantia.
I love the all-day availability of eggy meals, the robust Mediterranean flavour combos popping with fresh greens and the generally generous sauciness of their food. Not to mention the bespoke interiors. It’s a chain, but not. Light breezy interiors are a characteristic, as are natural textures and the tashas signature blue/grey/green palette. Each store has its own local flavour. Urban melting pot in Rosebank vs champagne set at Melrose Arch, to describe but two. For Constantia, Tasha wanted to recapture some of the French flair of her first store at Atholl Square.
Now, enough about the decor. I was super excited to sample her menu and as the Afrikaans saying goes, die oomblik was vir my te groot… I got a bit…dilly. My friend Douw, with enfuriating clarity, ordered the perfect cold weather meal. A delicious French onion soup with Gruyere croutons. Lovely at R48.
I suffered from a bout of ordering-anxiety so eventually played spin-the-spoon on the menu and asked for a half-portion of baby pear and gorgonzola salad. It was really good but it wasn’t French onion soup. Have I mentioned the generous portions?
Douw again hit the nail on the head with a hearty bowl of pea and bacon pasta topped with ricotta cheese (R78). I fell for the more showy linefish in light soya, spring onion, sundried tomato, green olive and lemon sauce served with truffle oil parmesan potatoes (R130). Both are from the signature Constantia menu.
I loved the tart, lemony sundried tomato and green olive sauce but would have preferred the fish and potatoes less fried. If you love your baby potatoes done to a golden crisp, this one’s for you. A meal with cold-weather gravitas but beyond my capacity.
Still not convinced that I’d had enough of tashas, I went back for the crayfish sandwich – yet another Constantia signature dish. Two tails in Marie Rose dressing and herb salsa with green olives, lemon and capers. Served with chips and, of course, gold cutlery. Got to love it. Gold cutlery, but only if you order the crayfish salad or sarmie (R160 – R210 depending on tail size).
Another brilliant touch for the Southern belles would be The King, Queen and I trio of fresh crustless gourmet sandwiches. Perfect for nibbling on with a glass of crisp Constantia wine, of which there is plenty on the wine list.
I love a bit of Marie Rose with shellfish and topped with this herb salsa, the crayfish was delicious. The menu recommends ciabatta but I foolishly asked for baguette (stickler for the French theme) which was semi-rye and quite chewy. My little gold knife couldn’t quite cut it… Crayfish with such a nice dressing – me thinks – is best served on soft white bread to absorb the lovely juices. If you can’t make up your mind about the bread, there’s always cake. And lots of it.
The pear and almond tart was bliss. I’m not mad for muffins but I thought their selection looked extremely perky.
tashas… welcome to the Cape. With plans of having 12 – 15 bespoke stores countrywide in the next five years, I’m holding thumbs for one in the winelands. Avoid ordering-anxiety by visiting www.tashas.co.za for a good look & drool at the menu. Next time I’m going with the gourmet hot dog.
I’ll be reviewing tashas at Constantia Village tomorrow morning at approximately 6.50 am on SABC3 Expresso Show. It’ll drive you to eggs. And crispy bacon. Come prepared…
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