When a restaurant presents itself as “Fun for the Whole Family!” the kind of space I imagine is not one where I can calmly sip a glass of wine while admiring the view, much less lean over the bar to watch a game on TV with a beer or two. Yet upon walking into the Clubhouse at Constantia Cricket Club, that was exactly the scene: in an elegant corner overlooking the cricket field and across to Table Mountain, a group of older ladies sat gabbing over lunch, while in another several thirty-somethings gathered by the bar to watch a game of cricket on TV.
When they said “fun for the whole family”, what they really meant was something for each individual member of the family. It seems that in the short time that it has been open, the Clubhouse has managed to identify and incorporate a few, effective key elements that appeal to each demographic. Children are welcomed with age-appropriate activities, including toys and board games, as well as a supervised play area for the smaller ones. The kid’s menu offers the usual favourites such as spaghetti and meatballs, fish and chips, and pizza, and on sunny days they have – uniquely – acres of space in which to run and play, the whole cricket field becoming their stomping ground while parents keep an eye on them from the patio.
At the other end of the room is a well-stocked bar area complete with a large-screen TV and stools, where sports fans can watch a game without the whole place being dominated by their cheers and groans. Transitioning from the bar to the dining area is a cosy lounge partitioned by a fireplace, couches, and cushioned seats. The other half of the room is a pretty white space surrounded by floor-length windows that look out toward Table Mountain, warm and inviting with its simple table settings.
And this is where my husband and I opted to sit for our lunch date. The menu, though not extensive, covers a range of tastes and moods, from the Clubhouse burger to the lamb shank. The chicken liver (R 45), recommended by our server, came in a rich stew to be mopped up with toasted bread. The sweet peri-peri sauce had a mild kick to it, just enough to get the appetite going. We also ordered the calamari starter portion (R 45) which I was happy to see came in whole pieces (not chopped up like most other places) with crisp, peppery breading. There was not a hint of sogginess, and the paprika cream sauce on the side offered just enough flavour to make the calamari pop.
Main course portions were generous beyond all reason. My Sirloin Steak Sandwich (R 60) was a weighty meal complete with a side salad and shoestring fries. Thick slabs of steak sat on a bed of arugula, tomato, and red onion with wholegrain mustard mayo and barbeque sauce, the bread just barely holding it all together. I might have preferred a chewier, crustier bread to match the bulk, but all preferences aside it was a delicious and satisfying sandwich. The side salad needed no dressing, as it was a garden-fresh toss of rocket, feta, and tomato, all of which worked to even out the sheer heft of the dish. As for the Coq au Vin (R 75), it offered a whiff of upscale classic French cuisine with a taste of rustic comfort: the braised chicken was tender, the pearl onions properly roasted, and the mushrooms lent a richness to the red wine-based sauce that topped the mashed potatoes.
What with the great view and the generous portions to work through, the idea is to linger and to lounge at the Clubhouse, which also serves as a venue for private functions such as birthday parties and bridal showers. It doesn’t claim to be overly fancy, pricing is not at all exorbitant, and that’s probably why it’s already becoming something of a local favourite among friends and families.
by Esther Lim
The Club House
Location: Constantia Sports Complex, Constantia Main Road
Hours: Tues to Sat 12 noon – 11pm, Sun 12 noon – 6pm
Tel: 021 794 6314