The waterfront went through a long period of time where people would eat there because they happened to be there when they were hungry. Restaurants were either overpriced or terrible and sometimes both. The most popular places were definitely not on my top list, for instance I refuse to queue to eat, in the middle of the shopping centre, mediocre food that’s made to big to eat (let’s not talk about the service).
In the last few years, however, the attitude of business owners in the popular tourist hub needed a change. Winters were very cold and the patronage of the tourist in the hot months was not enough to keep going year round. Places either adapted or closed and those that closed gave way to new opportunities.
The Hilderbrand and Alba Lounge were an institution, my son’s first night out was at the Alba Lounge. In the last few years they were coasting on the sentimentality of others and that landed them in hot water when memories were repeatedly ruined by terrible service, bland food and attitude from bar staff and management that did not suite the establishment’s former reputation.
So, when I got the invitation for marEsol’s launch and saw that they were based in the space the Hilderbrand previously occupied I was not surprised. Having been quiet on the blog front for a while, I was surprised to get the invite, but I guess old connections and a prolific instagram account counts for something 🙂
Dragging The Husband fresh off a Garden Route tour, I felt it was the perfect excuse for a date night, we chose to Uber to the V&A to avoid the traffic and the parking situation and start the night relaxed. We spoiled ourselves with an UberBlack to start off what would be a night full of pampering.
The space looks completely new, being only part of the old space the Hilderbrand and Alba Lounge occupied helps seperate it from what it once was. The views were just as beautiful but what really made it different was the attitude and mood of the staff. Some of them were kept from the old spaces but the smaller space and new menu seems to have revitalised their lives too.
The food too, was spectacular. A few small hiccups due to equipment having not yet arrived but nothing major. We were offered a large selection of the menu by way of tappas style eating but the restaurant is geared towards full portions. The suggestion was made to do a tappas night, as the space and food worked so well, not forgetting the bubbly of course.
My favourite dish for the night was the trinchado and if I go back for anything it will be that. The Rissoles were second and the prawns wrapped in bacon with black fig honey, apple & almond sauce came a close third. Seasoning was lacking on some of the dishes, to my taste but not so far as to make it bland as the use of spices was superb.
I hope to return to marEsol on regular night to do a proper review but the enthusiasm of the owner and chef had to be shared. Give them a try and let us know what you thought 🙂