I’m completely obsessed with sidewalk dining. Sitting outside, having an al-fresco meal as I listen to the roll and hum of the city as people lazily stroll by has always filled me with a sense of sheer happiness. I found my newest sidewalk spot recently, very unexpectedly, in the heart of the city. Mint Restaurant and Terrace at the Taj Cape Town offered me an afternoon of excellent food, people watching and so much more.
I recently received an invitation to visit the newly renovated and branded Mint Restaurant and Terrace, situated in the Taj Cape Town. As usual, my curiosity was piqued by the promise of a global fusion menu, and a chance at a leisurely sidewalk lunch in the heart of my beautiful city. My companion for this adventure? The Tall Hedonist, of course!
We all know the Taj Hotel, majestically perched on the bend of Wale Street. But did you know about the all-day, smart-casual restaurant and terrace that is contained inside it’s expansive arms?
Bursting at the seams with innovative local and international cuisine, elegant charm and a beautiful interior, Mint Restaurant and Terrace spills out of the swanky Taj Hotel and right onto St. George’s Mall with the recent addition of a new sidewalk dining terrace. The shaded tables and plush couches invite guests and visitors to linger a bit longer outside the walls of the hotel. The elegantly casual dining room, as well as the extended terrace, feels a bit like Cape Town’s take on the European bistro culture, with a seamless transition between the outside and inside seating areas.
We chose a little table in the dining room towards the terrace doors, but because it wasn’t the warmest of days, we decided to cosy up inside without compromising the sweeping views of St. George’s Mall. The dining room feels timelessly elegant without any pretentiousness. The neutral beige palette lends a gorgeously subtle aesthetic to the furnishings, with bright accents of copper, lush greens and dark sea-blues. The striking light fixtures adds a certain glamour to the space, but again without the stifling feel of fine dining. An impressive glass display cabinet lines the far wall of the dining room, filled with an impressive selection of vintage wines. Be sure not to miss popping your head into the modern open-plan kitchen at the back of the dining room.
I was immediately drawn to the beauty of the interior; was the epitome of understated elegance with a firm focus on the finer details, promising a delectable dining experience for locals and tourists alike.
We were welcomed with a glass of bubbles and a delectable bread board as we settled in for a lazy afternoon lunch. Off the cuff, I was already impressed with Mint’s team of restaurant staff, who were genuinely friendly and chatty, without the interactions feeling forced or insincere. It was like having an intimate, companionable lunch at a friend’s house, but with the added bonus of five-star treatment, a gorgeous interior and top notch food. Wiseman, our guide on this culinary journey, made us feel right at home from the minute we walked in.
We started our journey with Chef Su-Aib popping by our table to introduce himself. After a casual chat about the menu, his inspirations and recommended dishes, we opted to share a starter of tandoor chicken, beef and lamb kebabs, as well as a cumin roasted butternut salad. When our food arrived, we sat back for a good 10 minutes just taking it all in – our kebabs were served in a stunning copper table-top appetizer tandoor with slow burning coals at the bottom, gently infusing our kebabs with smokey deliciousness. A fresh, vibrant and generous salad, garnished with edible flowers and a sprinkling of cranberries and crispy onion. It was truly a beautiful sight and a great start to our lunch.
After taking our mains orders, Wiseman very confidently recommended a bottle of Saxenburg Guinea Fowl Chenin Blanc to pair with our meal. The Tall Hedonist opted for the Taj’s signature chicken curry, whilst I had the kingklip with potato mousseline, tossed spinach and a beurre blanc sauce. Our mains were fresh, beautifully presented and packed with flavour. It was comforting classics with a special Taj-twist, but never without subtle reminders that quality and presentation rank very high within the walls of the Taj hotel. You are presented with so much more than just a plate of food; Mint offers you a table-top adventure of flavours, textures and sights to behold.
We sat back and sipped our wine for a few minutes whilst our desserts were being prepared. I felt very much at ease in the heart of Mint, and I was completely in love with the beautiful interior. It was approachable, but stylish. Casual, but smart. Plush, but elegant. We turned in our chairs so that we could overlook St. George’s Mall and people-watch for a while as life went along it’s slow weekend pace in the city centre. In that moment, life was particularly good.
Dessert was a baked Oreo cheesecake (one guess who’s the cake-fanatic!) and the apple and cinnamon tatin. We finished every last crumb on both plates, but concurred that the absolute star of the show was the apple dessert with lashings of flavour and surprise elements, such as a little caramel toffee apple!
If I could summarise our visit to Mint Restaurant and Terrace in a couple of key phrases, the first few that come to mind is: unfaltering quality, commitment to customer service, an innovative and aesthetically pleasing menu that caters for all tastes, accessible fine dining, comfort in a five-star setting. I could not fault our experience at all. From the moment we stepped in until the moment we left, we were made to feel important and valued. Every dish that left the kitchen was prepared with pride and it showed on the faces of the staff who presented it to us.
So whatever you are looking for; whether it’s a space to celebrate a special occasion, a peaceful corner to hide out from the Cape Town traffic, a spot to people-watch and work on your laptop, a quick lunch catch-up with friends, a quiet table for a romantic night out, or a long table for a family reunion – Mint will happily have you. This is definitely my new favourite inner city spot – be sure to check out their specials on social media, too, because they pretty much have an offering for every day of the week!
If you would like to visit the restaurant in the evening, consider the weekly specials which run from 18.00 – 22.20 at just R175 per person. Their Table for Two special, at R195 per person, runs throughout the day. Happy hour, also running daily, is from 17.00 – 19.00. You really have no excuse!
Second photographer and photo credit: Timothy P. Gibson
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.