I am leaving this post up, even though the restaurant has new owners. We have not been there since the change of ownership.
Henri’s Restaurant in Somerset West is situated in an old house on the corner of Main and Lourensford Street and has a lovely history attached to it. The restaurant is owned by Grant and Laura Norton, with Laura handling the chef duties and Grant running front of house. He warmly greets and seats all the guests and will ensure that your entire evening is most enjoyable.
March 15, 2013
I received an invitation from Grant to come in and sample their marbled prime rib. As we needed to make plans to go out with a friend, I replied saying that we would love to do so, and made a booking for the 3 of us. On looking back in my records I see I last reviewed the restaurant in July 2012 for Eat Out so decided that this would be a great opportunity to update the review.
Before I move on to the review, let me share with you more about the marbled prime rib. Laura’s parents own a farm which has their own butchery facility. This is now used to age the marbled prime rib they are sourcing from Jersey Cows. These dairy cows are not exposed to any stress and go out of milk at about 5 to 6 years. They are then slaughtered for meat. There is not much meat on the hindquarters but the forequarters are full of well-marbled meat. Grant and Laura are dry aging the meat for 3 to 4 weeks in a walk in fridge at 1° Celsius. Dry aging the meat for so long results in 60% wastage. However, from the enthusiastic way Grant talks about this meat, you can tell it is going to be worth it. The prime rib was served off the bone and was done medium rare which is the chef’s recommendation. Grant did tell us when he served the dish that it would need some finishing salt, and he was right. The steak was flavourful and Dave said “this is damn good steak”. Mike, our friend visiting from Johannesburg, said that this was steak as he remembered it as a child. It had a nice char and was so tender. I love the fat on meat and this steak’s fat was divine.
The most notable menu changes are a page of seafood dishes in the main course section. This will not feature so heavily during winter as items are removed as they go out of season. Vegetarian dishes are made to order, and are done to each diners request taking their preferences into consideration. Every dish I have ever sampled here has been fantastic and the portions are generous and full of flavour. Side orders and sauces cost R20. They offer a very good dessert menu which includes a cheese platter (R65). Usually I order the crème brûlée as it never fails to impress me, with its sublimely smooth texture and wonderful presentation.
Before our starters arrived we were served mosbolletjies (small dinner rolls). I can never resist but that together with the prime rib meant I was too full for dessert. I started with a red pepper soup which had a deep flavour and was built on a lovely stock. The feta added a great flavour to the soup. My main course was Bouillabaisse (R145) and had a rich tomato taste. The seafood was a generous portion and was spoon tender. The slight sweetness of the broth was well tempered by the addition of the very hot chilli sauce that accompanied the dish.
There is a good selection of well-priced wines including tasting notes on the wine list. The wine list is of a decent size and offers house wines either by the bottle or by the glass, as well as 375ml and 500ml bottles. I chose a 750ml bottle of Guardian Peak Merlot 2011 (R115). The wine has a nice berry undertone and is an easy drinking wine. They also have 2 beers on tap as well as a good selection of craft beers. We usually have a single malt whisky to start and the barman (who has been there since we first went) will gladly help with your selection and allow you to smell the whisky before choosing which one to have.
The staff are friendly and efficient and offer an above average level of service, closely watched over by the manageress who has also been there since we first ate at Henri’s. They pay attention to the small things and this attention to detail makes all the difference.
I love that you can have a formal dining feeling while being relaxed and laid back. The soft background music, lighting and a modern setting in an old house all contribute to making you want to stay and linger. You can choose from the less informal pub like setting in the bar area, to the more formal feeling of the dining area, or you could choose to eat al fresco at the outdoor tables.
Book the private dining room for parties of 10 or less
Telephone Number: 021 852 6442
Open: Dinner Monday to Saturday
Average main course: R120
Food type: Contemporary
First reviewed on this blog June 2010, review on line for Eat Out and in the 2013 edition of the Eat Out Magazine.
Disclosure: I was invited to sample the marbled prime rib. This invitation extended to our meal being on the house. I was not asked to write a review our meal. This post is in line with my blogging policy.