USUALLY, when I write about restaurants, I feature pics of the food. This one is a little bit different in that I am instead sharing photographs of the gorgeous interior of Sonny And Irene, The Kove Collection’s newest restaurant, which offers a nostalgic, yet contemporary dining experience. This is because 1) it’s so flipping beautiful and 2) I’ll share some of our food pics on Instagram instead.
Sonny And Irene has (have? They’re the names of Kove Collection owner Paul Kovensky’s grandparents) been open since September but exploded onto social media so fast, for the stylish interior as well as the food – which let’s face it, must live up to the looks – that it feels like it’s been there much longer.
It’s to the left at the Regent Road fork, opposite the fire station, and as such has no spectacular sea view like Kove Collection’s other restaurants. No matter. You’ll be too obsessed with the inside to notice or care. It’s shell pink with palm trees and ferns and pistachio green and jade tiles and bas relief flamingos and marble and starry lighting. It’s retro and modern all at the same time, and utterly lush.
Breakfast is served until 11am, followed by lunch and dinner. Don’t miss the bakery, which is housed separately across the Station House hotel lobby, and note it closes at 3.30pm. I had a brief moment of panic but was calmed with the information that all the breads and cakes had been moved inside the main restaurant.
We arrived somewhat later than the normal lunch hour, 2pm, but it was still busy. They don’t take bookings, by the way. There was lots to consider on the menu, and my vegetarian friend did not do badly at all. He had pierogi filled with mizithra cheese, potato, crème fraîche, walnut oil and shaved walnut; the Sonny and Irene Grilled Cheese – house cheese, caramelised onion; followed by truffle risotto, and crispy artichokes with gremolata, a table vegetable, as in to share. Let me tell you right now, that truffle risotto is spectacular. I’m so weary of being promised truffle in sauces and what-not where there is none. Perhaps it’s because it’s all in this dish. The artichokes were fabulous too.
When I’m with my favourite vegetarian, I often become vegetarian for a meal too (and would have been happy with any of the above), and sometimes even alone at home too. On this day though, I started with Brisket Burnt Ends with mustards, pickles, sauerkraut, and Karoo bossie, on crispy flatbread, which I loved very much. For my main course I had Seafood Pithivier – basically a fish pie: a dome of puff pastry filled with salmon trout, white fish, prawn and asparagus, served in a pool of lemon cream.
I say I “started” with the brisket, but I mean the food. I’d properly started with a wonderfully bright and refreshing cucumber and basil martini (vodka-based). I’ve include a pic of that here. To finish, I had no choice really but to have the Everyday Ice Cream Sundae, a glass filled with strawberry ice cream, strawberry white chocolate ganache, and fresh and freeze-dried strawberries. Delicious, but I think it should be in a more old-fashioned sundae glass. The vessel did not detract at all from my enjoyment.
Before we headed off, we made sure to visit the pastry trolley for cheesecake and challah. I’ll address the elephant: prices will look a bit high at first glance, but ultimately it’s worth it for the generous food and to be allowed to bask in such an elegant environment while you are cared for by attentive staff. If I don’t go back for that risotto soon I will stick my head in the oven. It’s okay, it’s electric, but it’s a dramatic point that needs to be made.