The belly rules the mind. ~Spanish Proverb
I’ve never made shy of the fact that I love a good deal. Groupon, Wicount – my little peepers are always open! Recently Groupon offered a very good deal on a three course meal for two at La Vie en Rose in Illovo. Having never heard of it, I did a quick google and was happy with what I saw.
Voucher paid for and printed, off we went.
Team: Just the two of us. (The boyf and I)
Décor: La Vie en Rose can be found in a little house/centre along Melville road in Illovo, blink and you will miss it. Big wrought iron gates lead you into a secret garden-esque set up. Fountains, rose bushes and a big courtyard provides the backdrop for La Vie en Rose. I think this place could be quite beautiful in the day when you can truly appreciate the surroundings but at night it was rather plain and simple.
Vibe: We were one of the first couples to arrive but by 19.30 La Vie en Rose was full (I think this may have had something to do with the voucher). Whilst there were a few guys scattered here and there, the crowd comprised mainly ladies, owing to the roses and light meals I imagine.
Service: Our waitress was friendly and competently saw to our every need. She was a little slow in taking our order and clearing the table, but nothing worth complaining about. There was a gentleman wandering around who I would assume to be the manager but as he never welcomed us nor checked in at all, I can’t be sure.
Note: a 10% service charge was added to our bill. I have no objections to tipping at 10% and in this case, our waitress was fully deserving of such tip. I don’t, however, take too kindly to such service charge being unilaterally added, especially in the instance of a voucher. I have my doubts as to whether there would have been an automatic charge if we had dined without said voucher so this left a slightly bitter taste in our mouths.
Food: the menu is quite small but all preferences are adequately catered for. I thought the prices were a little high in view of the portion sizes and had we not had a voucher, I may have been slightly disappointed.
As has been clear from my previous posts, I am a cheese fanatic. If there is something cheesy on the menu, I will order it, which is why I opted for the “Inner Wheel”. A Camembert wheel dipped in rose syrup, coated in sesame seeds and fried. I didn’t like the rose syrup at all (too sickly sweet) and I didn’t think it worked with the dish, but the cheese itself was delicious. It appears from the picture that it may have been slightly burnt, but it really wasn’t. The sesame seeds were perfectly crispy and the cheese divinely gooey. I was let down by the presentation of this dish and thought it should have had a little greenery to offset the cheese or some toasty bread sticks. (I resorted to asking for some bread on the side)
The boyf also chose a cheesy starter and went for the “Happy Days“. Grilled haloumi cheese served atop a bed of rocket with sweet chili dipping sauce and a pot of olives. I would never have thought to serve olives with haloumi as both are rather salty, but the combination was fantastic and definitely something I will be doing at home. This dish was beautiful to look at and even better to eat.
Being a complete carnivore, the boyfs choice was easy – “Player“. Two rump skewers served with shoe string fries and a side salad. The rump was cooked to order and was juicy and full of flavour. Although the chips were not shoe string fries (just your regular thin French fries) they did the job. The boyf cleaned the plate – but I think this was owing more to the size of the portion than its flavour – and declared the dish average to good.
I found it slightly harder to make a decision and was torn between several items on the menu. I finally decided on the “Flamingo” – seared Norwegian salmon served with asparagus, basmati rice and a tarragon mayo. Whilst this dish was certainly perfectly cooked and very tasty, I was somewhat disappointed. I think it could have used more seasoning and a lot more tarragon mayo. Again, small portion for the price tag.
“Careless Love” was a definite the minute we saw it. Deep fried Phylo pastry filled with melting toblerone served with a berry coulis and a smattering of cream. This was the dish of the night and blew me away. The pastry had a slight spice about it, cinnamon perhaps, toblerone was an ingenious choice of filling and the tart berry coulis was the perfect companion. Fantastic.
Our second dessert choice was a toss-up between the strawberry ice cream (boyfs choice) or the chocolate brownie “Ultimate Pleasure” (my choice). Obviously we ended up with the brownie, but it proved to be the wrong pick. Oops. The brownie packed a great chocolate flavour but was incredibly overcooked and dry. It seems to have been microwaved as it had a crumbly texture that a brownie just shouldn’t have.Beautiful presentation though.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would probably rate La Vie en Rose as a 6. Nothing offended me, but nothing really floored me either, and at those prices, I like to be floored.
I think it is more suited as a day time spot and having had a look at their day menu, I am eager to return for lunch sometime soon.
48 Melville Road
011 268 6144