Mint

Mint Restaurant at the Taj is more than Fresh

Open daily | 07:00 - 22:30
 
+27 (0)21 819 2000
Wale Street | Cape Town
www.tajcapetown.co.za/blog
[email protected]
tajcapetown
Taj Cape Town

Mint Restaurant at the Taj is more than Fresh

Contemporary Indian Restaurant at Cape Town’s Taj Hotel is casual, classy and spicy

Mint. Green, fresh, light and healthy. The informal all-day dining restaurant Mint opened in January 2010 as a part of the Taj Hotel in Cape Town, with the grand opening in late August. And yes, it uses fresh and light greens as the main colour scheme for the interior and decoration. Yet 'Mint' has a different interpretation to what is expected. Mint restaurant is situated inside the old Reserve Bank building at the entrance of St. Geroges Mall in Cape Town’s Wale Street. It sits exactly in the room where they used to mint coins. Hence the name Mint. A place with history, but still fresh.

The first thing Lize and I notice is the excellent service. Our waitress Mary Anne and manager Kerry are authentic, friendly and polite and make us feel comfortable. They know the menu very well and we follow their recommendations.

Let’s talk food, let’s talk Eastern

Since the Taj is a hotel with an authentic Indian influence, the cuisine also reflects this. Let’s describe the Mint menu as contemporary Indian cuisine with Middle Eastern and European touches. Word on the street is that Taj Cape Town’s Mint restaurant can be summed up in one word, "choice". I agree.

The choices are grand. It starts with breakfast (traditional Indian breakfasts, a broad choice of á la carte breakfasts and a buffet). The lunch and dinner menu also opts for a classic selection featuring seafood, meat and poultry grills. Also nice to know is that all meals are halaal.

They use interesting and specialised ingredients at Mint, such as, well, mint. Just kidding, but don’t be surprised if you find things on the menu you never heard of next to truffle oil and enoki-essence (don’t worry, the waiters can answer all your questions well).

My colleague Lize and I are at Mint for lunch. For starters we have the Epice Chicken (R65) – what a lovely spicy start. Chicken pieces with Asian spices, lemon and a chive cream dip, nicely presented and a good starter portion to share. Finger food with a kick.

For mains I decide on the Aged 'Karan' Fillet (R160), which is the signature dish of Mint. The Fillet is beautifully presented with Alba Truffle, Enoki (mushroom) essence, tiny Chanterelles and Hon-Shimeji (Japanese mushrooms) – a gift for the eye. A tip from the chef: have the fillet with a glass of Saxenburg Shiraz SSS. Lize opts for the Murg Makhani Curry (R110), chicken in a creamy spiced tomato sauce with Naan bread. Definitely the option for curry lovers – very very spicy and indulgent. The real deal.

They also keeps kids in mind, so you will also find a typical kids menu with macaroni and cheese, tomato cream soup, grilled cheese sandwich, fish fingers and french fries from R50-R65. Don’t forget to have a look at the kiddies dessert menu. The Banana Split is a lovely reminder of the good old days. We decide on a couple of desserts from the main menu and are overwhelmed by the home made caramel ice-cream served with the finest chocolate fondant.

Mint-fresh interior feel

Since I’m very curious, I like the open plan show kitchen at the back. A huge glass-window allows a glimpse of the chefs artistically plating food. Another nice feature is the modern floor to ceiling metallic wine-wall and the artistic copper lights that add to the contemporary and somehow European feel. Imagine fresh green and blue walls, large prints of vineyards, marble floors, light wooden chairs with zesty green leaf embossed seat covers and a leather menu in olive green.

Mint is open – the colors, the feel, the staff and the doors. When Cape Town’s wind behaves, the doors are open and the tables outside on the terrace give an European style street café feel in the cosmopolitan St. Georges Mall. People can peek inside and come in, then watch people and the city buzz passing by - or have a private dining experience on the mezzanine level instead.

We are sitting here at a five star hotel restaurant, but you can still 'be yourself' and dress casual. Mint is modern, relaxing and approachable.

Tea Wonderland

Lize and I, big tea-lovers, are surprised about the great selection of teas. Mary Anne presents us with all sorts of different teas from Japan and Sri Lanka. We are tea-impressed. Me being a Chai-drinker, I go for my favourite. Mary Anne warns me that the Masala Chai Fierg Ceylon Spice tea takes 15 minutes, but I am ready to wait – it’s the spicyest and freshest Chai I ever had in my life. Lize decides on the dried cranberry fruit tea and we love the stunning red and black stone tea pot that came all the way from Japan – stylish and grand. It’s about time to bring fine tea-culture to Cape Town – and the Taj hotel is taking the first steps.

Mint-drinks

The wine menu is one of the largest I have seen in Cape Town. You can choose from a broad selection of red and white South African wines, house specials are the Haute Espoir Sauvignon Blanc 2008 from Franschhoek and the Dunstone Merlot Vintage 2007 from Wellington. Not inexpensive, but you can also get by with a cheaper bottle from the menu. There’s also a variety of Nederburg Auction wines, dessert wines, port wines, South African sparkling wines and Method Cap Classique.

The cocktail menu includes classics plus the Taj Summer Cup and a good choice of non-alcoholic cocktails. You also get the well known soft drinks as well as iced tea offerings, hot drinks and champagne.

Guests leave empty plates

Chef Lyle Abrahams (28) says "Our food is quite continental, but we mainly serve Indian dishes. Well, it’s an Indian hotel". He worked in New York at The John Dory, at Gordon Ramsay in London and at the Waterfront at Balthazar.

"Everything is cooked to perfection" is a feedback the staff often gets. Another moment Lyle will always remember is when a guest came to the glass window at the Mint show kitchen to show off his empty plate. Yes, it’s that good.

by Antonia Heil

For your monthly update on what’s hot and happening in the Cape Town area, be sure to subscribe to our Editor's Picks Newsletter.

Cape Town Events Calendar
April 2018
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30

Glowing Rooms 3Get a Great Saving on 3D Mini-Golf with ...

Pay a special rate for entrance into SA’s first 3D space-themed glow-in-the-dark mini-golf adventure

Strolla Restaurant and Bar in Sea PointSkip The Traffic: Hit Free Motown ...

Let’s everybody hit the deck – Goodhope FM DJ Ashton Abels brings the Motown tunes and you sprawl out enjoying the view from the Corona Sunset Deck or the cosy indoor couches as the sun dips over Sea Point

Groote Schuur Ratanga Junction FundraiserThis is Your Last Chance to Ride the ...

The home of the Cobra offers thrill seekers one last ride. Ratanga Junction will be permanently closing on 1 May 2018

Just Like Papa 2Just Like Papa: The Ultimate Place to ...

Finally, there’s a place in Cape Town where you can get exceptional home, camping, tactical and survival gifts for men and women – and it’s open till 7pm. Head for Just Like Papa on Harrington Street

SuidoosterfeesSuidoosterfees 2018: A celebration of ...

The much-loved festival is back in Cape Town and you’re invited to celebrate Kaapse culture and heritage through a series of colourful concerts, comedy shows and more

freedom day beerhouse 3Freedom Day Gig at Beerhouse

Head down to Beerhouse on Long Street to celebrate one of South Africa’s favourite public holidays – Freedom Day

suidoosterfees 1Suidoosterfees 2018: A celebration of ...

The much-loved festival is back in Cape Town and you’re invited to celebrate Kaapse culture and heritage through a series of colourful concerts, comedy shows and more

Freedom DayFreedom Day (Public Holiday)

Celebrate South Africa’s unique constitution and democratic freedom

Road to Mecca Fugard 3A Story of Freedom: The Road to Mecca ...

A riveting tale of artistry, truth, identity and moral consciousness

AfrikaBurn3Afrikaburn Festival near Tankwa Karoo ...

The dusty Karoo desert comes alive to host one of the most radical festivals on the festival lover’s calendar

Cartel House 10Grab Yourself Free Flapjacks Every ...

Members only: Luxury co-working office space Cartel House serves up hot and fresh flapjacks for free to their members every Friday – here’s how to get in on the action

Cape Town Helicopters Generic 2Fly Fridays: Get on Board With The Most ...

Want that extra-special experience to round off the week? These are the city’s most affordable helicopter flights – plus, get an exclusive 10% off your booking right here

Kiff Kombi - Durbanville - 1Experience Cape Town's Most Spirited ...

All aboard, gin lovers! Here’s what to expect on a tour of Cape Town’s quaintest, most unique and secret gin distilleries and drink spots with Kiff Kombi Tours

Roast and Co 22-for-1 Drink Specials at Roast & Co

Every day “on your way” at Roast & Co. – enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials and discover the coolest mugs

Cape Culinary Tours Valentine's Day InclusionTake a Bite into History with Cape Town ...

Learn about Cape Town’s past while savouring local cuisine with these informative walking tours

African Soul Surfer BackpackersYoga and Surf Specials with African ...

Ride the wave of surf and yoga camps with African Soul Surfer!

Sgt pepper live musicRam Jam Rock Parties at Sgt Pepper

The head-banging, guitar twanging rockin’ good times are back

Galileo - BlaauwklippenA Weekend Spent with The Galileo Open ...

Start your weekend with a little inner-city or wineland movie screening

Aces 'n' SpadesFriday Night Live at Aces ‘n’ Spades

They will rock you

Food Truck Friday - 1Food Truck Friday at Jack Black’s ...

Relax this Friday with a Jack Black beer and some scrumptious food

Pierneef food and wine pairing 3Food and Wine Pairing at La Motte

Discover a match made in the divine tasting room of this Franschhoek estate

best winter dishes ricks cafe americainRick’s Café Américain’s Weekly ...

Pop over to the charming Casablanca-themed restaurant for a hearty meal that won’t break the bank

African Soul Surfer BackpackersSurf Lessons with African Soul Surfer

Learn to surf with the kiffest surf school in Cape Town!

HQ-web-ready-259.jpgFriday Night DJ and Dancing at HQ ...

#AfterDark with DJ Rene: start the weekend with a steak dinner, stylish cocktails and suave tunes by The Frenchman

Cloud 9 Hotel 3Spa and Sparkling Wine Special at ...

Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay Cape TownFriday Night at The Bay Harbour Market

Ring in the weekend with live music, craft beer, hearty fare and happy shopping in Hout Bay

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.