There are places I have dreamt of dining at in the darker days of hard lockdown – when baking banana bread brought less joy and I grew weary of home-cooked meals – Bistro Sixteen82 was one of those places.
As if I spoke it into life, as soon as lockdown regulations eased, Bistro Sixteen82 in Steenberg was one of the first establishments to offer home deliveries. Finally, my palate could once again be tantalised by flavours and textures that only Chef Kerry Kilpin has the power to bring together so evocatively.
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I am a huge fan, and for good reason. All her dishes are meticulously prepared and thoughtfully paired to bring out the flavours of the star ingredient. Seafood is Kilpin’s speciality – it’s mostly the complete respect for the delicate flavours that I appreciate.
If you order fish, it’s going to taste like the most unbelievable dish you have ever devoured, but it’s also going to retain it’s authentic nuances and not lose it to overpowering spices or sides.
There are blackboard specials at every sitting, and they are worth considering because it’s sustainable cooking and offers the best of what is seasonally available.
The ‘wine of the month’ is a new option – and if you know anything about vino, you know Steenberg is right up there among the best in the Cape.
I am all about trying new dishes, but as far as starters go, there is only one to order here – the Beef Tataki – which is thin slices of seared beef with truffle corn, shimeji mushrooms, wild rocket, chilli and mayonnaise.
Each element lends and blends to the next and a mouthful is filled with a zest, crunch, sweet and chilli pop. It is perfectly balanced in taste, texture, and visually stunning too.
Other starters include Saldanha oysters, panko crusted cheese fritters, apple and cranberry salad, tempura prawns and curried baby calamari.
The restaurant is always buzzing, and it’s great to see patrons enjoying food at a social distance. The sound of chatter is something I longed for during hard lockdown, so it’s great to see restaurants cautiously thriving again.
There are usually about 10 main dishes you can choose from, including blackboard specials. I ordered the ‘ethically sourced fish’ which is seared fish, layered with a corn and leek tortellini drunk in a prawn and tarragon bisque and a side of prawns.
Every bite delivered a more delicious punch than the last – Kilpin completely understands the engineering of a complete dish – and she pulls it off every time. The fish was buttery and the sauce, together with the tortellini – added an additional dimension to the taste. It was dreamy and by revisiting the pictures, I can almost taste the ingredients that played together to make this memorable. And that’s the power of a great dish, the taste it lingers on even in pictures.
Dessert was the almond and chocolate streusel. It was a biscuit topped with vanilla creme, chocolate cremeux and a scoop of salted caramel ice cream. The presentation was exquisite as was the taste. The salted ice cream was pretty salty but it was offset by the sweet chocolate and cream. A successful end result to a decadent meal.
The colder months bring warmer winter specials which are more comforting to your palate and your wallet, so look out for them.
Dining out is a little more special this year and if there’s ever a reason to celebrate you should do it at Bistro Sixteen82 – life is unpredictable but if there is one thing you can guarantee, it’s a great meal every time Chef Kilpin bounces pots in the kitchen.