Protea Fire and Ice Hotel – Melrose Arch

Food is an important part of a balanced diet.

~Fran Lebowitz

Another birthday has come-a-calling. The boyfs’, this time.

Like me, the boyf isn’t really into the whole “big birthday celebration” thing so we opted for a quite dinner at the Melrose Arch Protea Fire and Ice Hotel.

Team: Just the two of us. Like I said, we don’t really do the big birthday thing.

Décor: The Fire and Ice Hotel is nothing like any other hotel in the Protea Group. From the black and silver velvet floral wallpaper to the regal leather wing-back chairs, this place just screams extravagance. The dining room is spread out over the second floor and includes an open plan kitchen with surrounding tables, a boudoir-esque lounge (complete with white leather beds) and a massive contemporary bar leading to beautifully lit outdoor dining area. Whilst the outside space is decidedly more down to earth than the inside, it is still in keeping with the hotel’s lavish look. It is really all quite beautiful.

Vibe: We arrived fairly early to a rather empty dining room but it soon filled up with a smorgasbord of patrons. From wine glass wielding women to power-suit parents, the hotel plays host to pretty much everyone.  Although we didn’t stay very long, I am quite confident (taking into consideration its location and style) that this hotel becomes somewhat of a playground for the yuppie sect of Joburg.  That being said, if Joe Soap is after a quick bite to eat in a lush location, he would feel perfectly comfortable here.

Service: Competent but careless. Our waitress didn’t seem too bothered by our existence and our order whilst correct, was taken brusquely and with a slight air of irritation. There was nothing particularly wrong with the service but considering the back drop for the evening, I expected something more.

me

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Drinks: I don’t usually include drinks in my reviews but considering Fire and Ice plays home to Joburgs finest (and only) milkshake bar, it bears mentioning.

The milkshake menu is divided into alcoholic and non-alcoholic options and all milkshakes come in pint (or, as I call it Goblet) or half pint sizes. The choice is really staggering but as we had tried the milkshakes here before, this wasn’t our first rodeo and we weren’t overwhelmed by choice. We both opted for non-alcoholic, chocolatey half pints (Crumble and Crunchie) which were deliciously thick and creamy. No complaints.

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Note: the Hotel never seems to have the chili-chocolate milkshake which is very frustrating. Sort it out, Fire and Ice.

Food:

Starters – There isn’t a massive selection of starters but enough variety to satisfy most people. Having downed milkshakes and knowing what was to come, we opted to share the Big Fat Greek – Greek salad with a twist. In addition to your bog standard lettuce, tomato, cucumber and olives, the Big Fat Greek is adorned with deep friend golden brown balls of deliciousness (i.e. feta fritters) which truly made this salad. At R65.00 I did think it was a bit small.

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Mains – Range from R75.00 to a whopping R285.00 (seafood platter) and include everything from meat to fish. There is also an African menu that sounds quite intriguing.  We came for burgers though so that’s what we had. We ordered from the Chef’s Creations list of burgers but there is a huge selection for those keen to build their own.

Cheesy Cheese Cheese: I’ve never made shy of the fact that I live for cheese, so ordering this burger was a given. 200g deluxe beef patty stuffed with blue cheese, mixed with Swiss and coated with Camembert. Sounds incredible right? Well, in reality I could only taste the camembert and whilst the deluxe patty was well cooked, it was very bland. I ordered the “bush berry” sauce to cut through the cheese and as such was looking forward to a BERRY sauce. What I got was lamb-ey gravy with some berries floating in it. Delicious? Definitely, but not what I wanted.

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Jaws: a spicy beef patty packing a paprika punch served with a slice of melted cheddar and a tomato relish.  This was the boyfs choice and he said that it was “good”. I tasted some of the patty and was pleasantly surprised by the spicy seasoning. Whilst this burger was certainly tasty, it didn’t warrant the R105.00 price tag.

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Dessert:  The dessert choices at Fire and Ice sound incredible but we were pretty full after our burgers and shakes so we skipped this course. Awwwwwww!

If I was basing my review solely on the food, I would have left Fire and Ice rather disappointed but Restauranteering is about more than just the food. It’s about the overall experience and the memories left lingering in your mind after a night out.

Would I go back to Fire and Ice for a burger? Probably not, but I would take friends there to experience something out of the ordinary. That, and a Goblet the size of my head filled with one of the best milkshakes I’ve ever had.

PROTEA FIRE AND ICE HOTEL  – 011 218 4000
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