A number of lucky locals were given the opportunity to sample the new menu at My Pond Hotel on Sunday afternoon of May 16.
Two Talk of the Town staff members joined other guests for the three-course meal, including wines suggested for pairing with the food. There was also a feedback form to mark your choices and give comments, helping My Pond in their aim to improve the menu.
The choice of starters were a vegan taco, Thai fish cake with prawns, classic Caesar salad, Thai beef noodle salad or a seafood bisque.
I opted for the Thai beef noodle salad and Bryan Smith had a vegan taco. The Thai beef salad was large for a starter. The beef and sauce was tasty, but the portion of carrots and onions could be made smaller.
I chose the Creation rose to accompany it, a lovely dry and pale rose which complemented the food.
Smith enjoyed the vegan taco which he said was fresh and light. He opted not to have a paired wine.
There was a surprise sampler before the main course of slivers of steak from Wagyu and Angus crossbreed cattle raised at Zuney Wagyu near Alexandria.
Farmer Denys Wells was also a guest at the meal and explained the origin of Wagyu crossbreeding in the area.
Rather than massaging the cattle and feeding them beer as the urban legends say, the animal is kept on the farm for three years before it goes to market, requiring feeding and tending over a longer period than most other breeds.
“Wagyu only starts marbling at a later timeline, providing that inter-muscle fat,” he said. “It’s all about the quality of the fat.”
It also means it’s more expensive. My Pond guests will be pleased to learn that the hotel has decided to buy Wagyu beef in future.
For the mains I had the Kavith Tandoori chicken, which was a nice sized portion but very spicy – perhaps too spicy. Smith enjoyed the lamb rack, which he said was tender and juicy although the portion could be bigger.
Other choices were pork chops, chicken polo pasta, vegetable risotto with prosciutto, or cauliflower vegan steak.
Smith was delighted with the key lime pie for dessert, while I had the Amarula baked cheesecake, which was also delicious and well presented.
Other choices were chocolate torte, passion fruit crème brule or warm hot pudding.
New general manager Pearl Motaung-Mlangeni thanked guests for their attendance and feedback, the chefs for their excellent work in the kitchen and Stenden hospitality students for their service at the tasting.
“The new menu will go live in June,” she said.