Geisha wok and noodle bar, Greenpoint

Just back from a lunch at Geisha, of which food24 says:

Michelin-star Irish chef Conrad Gallagher has introduced fusion sushi to ensure Geisha Wok & Noodle Bar remains firmly at the forefront of global food trends.

The first in Cape Town to take it to this level, Geisha’s menu is the culmination of months of work and research with chef colleagues, regular customers, foodies and sushi lovers who tasted, sampled and gave valuable input and suggestions.

Having eaten there a month or two after it opened (at the previous venue), and having been impressed by the attention to detail in terms of both service and food on the plate, it’s sad to report that “global food trends” seem to now include a winelist where only one of the 6 listed chardonnays was available, and where the food was mediocre at best. It’s another link in the chain of evidence which is telling me to simply boycott restaurants that are offering specials, or at least to ignore the specials and order off the main menu.

Cape Town is a strange beast in terms of dining out – most patrons seem to consider a “good meal” equivalent to a good experience, and thus conflate the pleasures of the company or the view with the quality of what was served, and how it was served. This is surely the only explanation for the continued survival of all those horrible eateries on the Camps Bay strip (surely better placed in an airport departure lounge, at least in terms of food quality), and part of the explanation as to why a Michelin-starred chef can associate himself with this sort of mediocrity.

I’ve got no problem with a good view, and certainly enjoy good company. But most of the time, I go to a restaurant hoping for a good meal – and increasingly often, only find that at places that a) don’t serve half-price sushi/cocktails, and b) aren’t positioned in some sort of ready-made Kodak moment.

By Jacques Rousseau

Jacques Rousseau teaches critical thinking and ethics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and is the founder and director of the Free Society Institute, a non-profit organisation promoting secular humanism and scientific reasoning.