Every once in a while you inexplicably bump into a situation that is just totally perfect. That is what happened to me last Saturday when I popped in to Graze by the River in Van der Riet Street for a quick bite before heading off to other commitments.
Being a bit chilly I decided to sit inside with a newspaper but my attention was soon drawn to some activity in the courtyard at Graze, where much to my surprise well-known musician Anthony Caplan was setting up his musical equipment.
He informed me that he was performing at the venue for the first time and that he will be playing from 12 noon to three. Now I had a real reason to stay much longer than anticipated.
And I could not have started my weekend off better; chilled vibes, some golden oldie tunes from Caplan and some mouth-watering dishes from the kitchen made by owner-chef, Nick Howard, a heavenly match in Van der Riet Street.
While Caplan with his laidback style and soothing voice stirred memory after memory with songs like Frank Sinatra’s Fly me to the Moon, George Gerswhin’s classic, Summertime, and others by many popular artists and from different genres including reggae, Calypso and jazz, to name but a few, Howard was busy making his signature dishes.
I joined some friends outside, where diners, from as far afield as Australia, tucked into newly created dishes or just a snack.
The Ozzies were highly complimentary of the service and food at Graze. “This is a beautiful place and a delightful surprise. And the home-grown herbs; it’s as if they were made to be part of the meal,” they said.
This fits in well with the high standards Howard have set as Graze’s cuisine is inspired by Nature and created with Love while only organic self-grown vegetables or by their local partners are used. Other ingredients are selected for their quality.
We shared a fresh pot of mussels as a main with crusty homemade bread and it was more than ample for two. The mussels were cooked the French way, Moules a la Crème, in white wine, with fresh cream and a hint of garlic.
Caplan in the meanwhile with his soothing voice and great musical ability provided the classic unobtrusive but perfect background which made every minute spent at Graze memorable.
Then a Spicy Chicken Pate with freshly baked ciabatta served with a green salad followed. Slowly, my palate adjusted from the garlicky mussels to the more peppery flavours of the pate and then suddenly my whole was engulfed with a taste sensation which is slightly hot but ooh so nice; enjoyable enough to ask for more.
The Ozzies left but other couples stayed long after finishing their meals taking in Kaplan’s music; this could well become a trend as the news of what’s happening at Graze spreads.
Besides an extensive menu of mouthwatering dishes, Graze also offers regular daily specials including fresh line fish caught on the day; this being one of their Famous House Specialities.
Said Howard, “All dishes are freshly prepared for your enjoyment so please be patient as they may take up to 20 mins to serve but you won’t be disappointed!”
Graze are pleased to announce that Ant Caplan will be playing in the garden every Saturday from 12 noon to 3 until January 6, so call Nick on 046 624 8095 to book your table in the garden at GRAZE……