Hearty and homely deliciousness at Steenberg’s Bistro Sixteen82

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IT was just such a peach of a day and I spent the morning wondering (hoping) chef Kerry Kilpin would have included her pickled fish on the Bistro Sixteen82 Hearty & Homely lunch menu special. It offers a choice of two, three or four courses, and runs Mondays to Fridays until 30 September 2024.

As it turned out, she has: pickled fish taco with saffron aioli, apple and lime atchar (pictured above). So that was an easy choice for me as my starter.  The other two options are creamy capsicum and coriander soup with goat’s chevin mousse and onion crisps, and pan-fried chicken livers with sticky miso and orange egg noodles, spring onion and peanut slaw. My partner ordered the latter and I nabbed a delicious taste before he cleaned the plate.

A little something something from the kitchen…

Kerry is famous for being first chef to use Abalobi (you can read all about it here) and I’m always enchanted to be able to scan the QR code and “meet” the fisher people who were responsible for the fish on my plate. The first round on that day was carpenter aka silverfish, which was my taco. It was also available for the main course of “ethically sourced fish”, served with crispy fish potstickers, Asian salad, and hot and sour vinaigrette. We were advised there were only about 14 portions of the carpenter available, after which the kitchen would be serving Cape bream, although if we preferred and it was ready, we could request the bream. It was the perfect opportunity for my partner, who actually hunts this prolific species with a spear but has never eaten one because they are sold, to taste its sweet flesh. Another clean plate success.

I spent a while vacillating between the other two main courses. On the one hand, the braised beef with spinach and ricotta gnocchi, charred cauliflower and truffle and parmesan cream sounded heavenly. It would have required a nice glass of red and an afternoon nap. Allowing the sunny weather to guide me, I instead chose the charred corn and leek risotto. The creamy, generous, dish is topped with tomatoes and tomato pesto and lots of what is called Bacon 1682. Our waiter Jack explained: it’s thick cut bacon which is cooked (and used as a whole slab on the breakfast menu) then diced and grilled into crispy salty cubes of deliciousness sprinkled liberally on the risotto. That might just have been the selling point for me. Bacon makes everything better, fact.

At this point we had to consider dessert but after a short discussion (because we agreed), we decided to stop while we were filled to perfection rather than push on and ruin everything for the sake of a sweet indulgence. The options were tempting, I cannot deny that. Warm crispy almond brioche (just the words in your mouth are enough to initiate salivation) with maple, citrus compôte and caraway ice cream; baked coconut crème caramel with sticky rice, pineapple compôte and lime ice cream; and a menu staple, decadent chocolate marquise with macadamia streusel, berries, popped sorghum and macadamia ice cream.

The setting is so gorgeous too. As I said, it was a beautiful day so we sat outside but indoors is lovely and cosy when the weather is inclement, as winter proper is wont to be. All the better to enjoy that beef gnocchi…

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PHOTO CREDIT: Bianca Coleman ©

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