It’s been a while since I’ve been to a restaurant/eatery that left me with mixed feelings – right down the middle – 50/50. Do I love it or loathe it? Help me decide!
Address: 168 Loop Street, City Centre
Hours: closed Mon, 11:30am-4pm Tue, 11:30am-11:30pm Wed-Sat, closed Sun
My notifications have been off the charts since Homage 1862 launched their plant-based menu with followers urging me to give it a try, sending me photos of the most gorgeous dishes. Bae and I decided to make it a “special night out” and booked a table for two on a Friday night.
Upon arrival, we were immediately impressed with the design. I would even dare to say “breathtaking”. Once seated, the first problem became evident immediately: there was absolutely no atmosphere partially due to the lack of patrons (we were one of three couples) and no background music. We took a wander to the upstairs area and balcony (completely empty) and asked the bartender to please put on some music of sorts (just to break the awkward silence). When one goes to a restaurant one wants to feel and hear the “glow” of patrons from the clinking of cutlery to the hum of conversation with the occasional guffaw of your best mate who is newly single and clearly had too much wine.
We ordered three (very reasonably priced) dishes to share from their extensive vegan-friendly menu and the food arrived promptly.
The Agave Sunrise disappointed for a few reasons: (not that it was really that important) the letters weren’t shredded, there wasn’t much cashew cream (that’s the white bit in the picture on the far right side), there were no burst tomatoes and weirdly the gluten-free nacho chips weren’t really nachos at all: they were sweet potato crisps (like the ones one would find at Woolworths). I wanted to be able to get stuck in with my (although probably not the kind of establishment for this) by using the NACHO as a “spoon” for the beans, salsa and cashew cream. Still – tasty dish!
Both Bae and I agreed that the Sundown Risotto was the biggest disappointment. When it was placed in front of us we both literally “ooh’d and ah’d” because visually – it’s beautiful! Taste-wise it was strangely bland and devoid of all flavour. We added some ground salt to it, which didn’t seem to help much sadly.
We finally devoured the Lentil Hemp Cacciatore which was great. No complaints there!
Apparently, they are in the process of developing a plant-based dessert menu which is great news as there are currently no vegan options for those with a sweet tooth.
The food can be fixed with an injection of flavour and the correct items (as per menu specifications) and at between R60-R95 per main course, this is definitely one of the more affordable venues in terms of paying for what you get. I cannot blame Homage for the lack of atmosphere due to lack of patrons on a Friday night but can suggest they “feel the room” and adjust the levels of music to make the place feel like it has more of a “buzz”.
I will definitely go back at some point (even if just to try their vegan desserts) and hope to see the folks at Homage 1862 make their mark on the vegan scene!
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