Monday, November 26, 2012

Amanzi restaurant review

AMANZI RESTAURANT, ARWENACK STREET, FALMOUTH 01326 312678. Ian and Carolyn Turton, who were born in Zambia and Malawi respectively, took over Clarks restaurant in Falmouth in July 2010 and reopened in May 2012 as Amanzi, which means water in Zulu or Xhosa. “We wanted to bring our own feel to the restaurant,” says Ian, “and differentiate from the rest of the competition.” Ian previously owned a restaurant in Johannesberg for five years with his brother. “Although our inspiration is our African roots, our dishes are an infusion of flavours from across the globe,” Ian says. “With a focus on seafood, grill and delicious vegetarian options, we have secured a wide range of Cornish suppliers so that we can literally offer people the opportunity to “eat local, taste global”. All our meat is Cornish and our vegetables come from an allotment near Stithians. Since we’ve changed our name we’ve had a lot of encouragement to have more African dishes: we’re the only restaurant in Cornwall to provide African food.” “We try and look after people and give them the whole experience,” Carolyn adds. The restaurant has a warm atmosphere with music playing quietly, tea lights and a rose on each table and a wonderful selection of wooden African art on the walls. By 8pm all the tables were taken and the place was buzzing with customers of all ages – Amanzi has only had a handful of quiet nights since they opened in May, and soon we could see why. The service is excellent – very warm, friendly and informative yet unobtrusive. Deb and I had a glass of South African Chenin Blanc while we tried to decide what to eat, but eventually I chose a starter of seared scallops with hogs pudding and a crab bisque sauce. The scallops were so tender they melted in the mouth, the delicacy of the scallops was offset by the robust hogs pudding, and the velvety crab sauce made for an unusual combination that worked really well. Deb’s squid was very tender, unlike the chewy morsels I’ve usually eaten, and served with spring onions and a soy, ginger and honey dipping sauce that was light but provided a good balance of flavours. Being messy, we dripped sauce on the table which was cheerfully wiped down between courses – another bonus point. My poached cod with mussels in a creamy white wine sauce served with crusty bread was fabulous – the mussels were steamed and fragrant, just as they should be, the cod tender and subtle, and the sauce was delicate but tasty. The Bobotie, a South African dish of spiced lamb mince, baked with an egg topping was served with yellow raisin rice and apple and fig chutney. We were told to mix these together before tasting them and we could see why – the lamb was quite bland but mixed with the sweetness of the raisin rice and the chutney was absolutely delicious - so good I could eat it every day. We shared a mixed salad and some seasonal vegetables – runner beans, carrots and red cabbage that were beautifully nutty – but the main courses were so delicious and plentiful we didn’t have room for the greenery. The food is unusual, and beautifully cooked by someone who really understands it, particularly fish. We had a wonderful experience, so do go – but book, or you may be disappointed. Dinner £12-18 per main course. Open 7 days a week from 5pm, Saturday and Sunday open daytimes but bookings can be made for lunch. Sunday lunch £9.95 (£12.50 for 2 courses) Traditional and African Christmas menus will be available.