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“Surprisingly disappointed”
Review of Ash Restaurant

Ash Restaurant
Ranked #462 of 1,252 Restaurants in Cape Town Central
Description: At ASH passion & innovation come together to bring you memorable dishes cooked over charcoal. Expect an unpretentious fine dining experience, using local ingredients to create an international menu. From free-range grass-fed beef to vegetables grown in the fields of Gugulethu we bring the heart of Cape Town to your plate in the most flavorful, sustainable and ethical way.
Restaurant details
Description: At ASH passion & innovation come together to bring you memorable dishes cooked over charcoal. Expect an unpretentious fine dining experience, using local ingredients to create an international menu. From free-range grass-fed beef to vegetables grown in the fields of Gugulethu we bring the heart of Cape Town to your plate in the most flavorful, sustainable and ethical way.
Reviewed 6 April 2018

My husband and I extensively researched the restaurant we wanted to go to for our date night. We chose Ash because the premise and menu looked amazing and the credentials of the chef owner were impressive.

We arrived to a stylishly designed open kitchen which I liked but it was over lit (in a slightly florescent light) and cold. Our waitress was immediately accommodating and turned on the heaters and it did not take long to warm up.

Out waitress was knowledgable and adept at judging how much interaction to have with us. She explained the concept and recommended her favourite dishes. We went with her specials recommendation for appetisers and was not disappointed. Wow. We had charred leeks with burnt butter and hazelnuts and fried mussels with tom yum cream. Both were absolute knock outs and if we weren't in public we would have licked the plates. We were very excited about the rest of our meal... but sadly the elevated food experience ended there.

My husband chose the Impala, which has a layering of flavour that was outstanding but the meat itself was a bit mealy. I chose the lamb (which to be fair was not one of the waitresses recommendations), The lamb was so chewy it was hard to cut It sat on the plate without any sear, looking pale and flaccid on a sauce of overly sweet caponata that was one note and completely bland. I had to constantly season to elicit any flavour but there was absolutely no complexity or sophistication at all. The whole dish spoke nothing of the char or smoke promised by the concept of the coals or the earthy flavours suggested in the menu. When asked how the meal was (not by our waitress) I told them it was too sweet and not a patch on the starters to which the man simply smiled and left.

As desert fans we were looking forward to the kind of layered interesting desserts we had seen online but the menu was simply chocolate tart, lime tart or miso banana (which admittedly did sound good). We like to order different things to try each other's, so my husband ordered the miso banana and I checked that the lime tart was not too sweet as I don't like a citrus dessert being too saccharine. I was assured it was really bright and zesty. My husband's dish was interesting although not as elevated or exciting as it sounded. Mine was simply awful. The lime was undetectable above the level of sugar, it was more like a very sweet custard tart, the base was so soggy and undercooked it stuck to the plate and it looked and tasted like it was from a supermarket. I tried two small bites and decided it wasn't worth eating despite my sweet tooth and passion for deserts.

Our waitress eventually asked if the desert was too sweet and I gave an honest review. She empathised that I was looking for a sweet sharp balance that packed a punch and told me that when she tried it a long time ago it was that but that desserts change. There was no suggestion of taking it off the bill or offering compensatory coffee even though it was nothing like either she or the menu promised it would be.

Throughout our dinner, our evening soured slightly with the disappointment of the food so we begin to become notice other things about the restaurant. The 80's/90's music seemed completely out of place with the modern urban design, the cigarette smoke from people smoking right outside the door blew right into our area as we were eating, the maitre D looked pissed off and bored all night and when we began to watch the open kitchen, we realised that the kitchen staff looked disengaged and low spirited - it was actually a downer watching them as they looked thoroughly miserable. Apart from our waitress, who for the most part we enjoyed, there was absolutely no energy or excitement from the staff or chefs that enhanced the experience.

We were so looking forward to this foodie experience and we left thoroughly underwhelmed (apart from those exquisite starters) and let down by the promise of something outstanding.

Please up your game as the concept, ideas and experience should amount to something much better than what we got.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank JessicaLaws
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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9 - 13 of 114 reviews

Reviewed 2 April 2018 via mobile

We booked Ash for our last night in Cape Town and were really disappointed. The starters were tasty but the meat was a big let down. A lot of the cuts had sold out by the time we ordered so we had to order huge steaks which cost a fortune. We wouldn't have minded the cost if the quality had been good but the meat was grey and lacked taste. The restaurant was also really cold which impacted our experience.

Thank Yvonne H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 March 2018

We had heard good things about Ash so booked (and paid a deposit) to secure a table. The place is very well designed and with modern decor. But there are management problems and it showed on the night we were there.
We waited ages (well over an hour) for the main courses to arrive. This is ok if the dishes are complicated but this place is a grill specialist and that does not take long.
I ordered the lamb and it was disappointing and the two pieces I got were very full of sinew. My partner ordered the Impala which she described as tough and tasteless and it was listed as Warthog on the bill. She was not sure what she had eaten. She did like the vegetables though. We shared the Samp as a side dish and that was good.
I tried the several of their craft beers and they too were not at all interesting.
The table service staff was friendly and tried amicably to cover for the kitchen, but at the prices they charge service alone does not cut it. Only one of our party of 5 enjoyed their food and we left without ordering desert of coffee.

    • Value
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Thank PartrickL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2018

During a holiday to Cape Town we visited Ash as a party of six. We enjoyed the décor and atmosphere as we arrived and settled at our table. The waitress was extremely pleasant however it did take a while to get our drink and food order in. By the time we ordered, a lot of the cuts of meat in the weight we requested were 'sold out' we then opted for more expensive/larger cuts as there was very little alternative. A few of us ordered starters which we were pleased with, I had the Thai mussels to start and enjoyed them very much. Unfortunately, when our mains/steaks arrived they were not as we'd hoped. The restaurant is marketed as specialising in steak and particularly in dishes cooked over charcoal. From the look and taste of my steak, I doubt very much that it was anywhere near any charcoal. The meat was not cooked to my order which is a fundamental error for a restaurant that primarily serves steak. We were then disappointed to receive a bill that was overpriced for the quality of the food and had not deducted the deposit that was prepaid for securing the table. When we asked the waitress about the deposit, she asked us to do the calculation to deduct the deposit amount ourselves. Considering the fierce competition in Cape Town, I wouldn't rush back here for another steak.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank MLou228
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2018 via mobile

To make it short - superb food - tasted five starters from Thai mussels to bone marrow brioche - one better than other - staff wonderful - champagne list could be extended as our choice was not available - but this is almost picky - a great experience all round, can’t wait to be back

Thank Josephine M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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