Ingestion: Turbine Hall’s Underground Dinner

Feb 2, 2012 by

January 2012 Ingestion

The first Upper Palatte ingestion for 2012 took place on Friday 28 January at Turbine Hall in Johannesburg.

Turbine Hall is one of three locations available to The Forum Company in Johannesburg. The Forum Company is a South African based food and events management company which strives to consistently host  “upmarket, stylish and sophisticated events”. Naturally when the Upper Crust caught wind of an elusive ‘Underground Dinner’ taking place at Turbine Hall, we immediately knew that this would be the perfect event for the first Upper Palatte ingestion of 2012.

Turbine Hall is located in New Town Johannesburg, close to the South African Breweries, and offers secure undercover parking. The evening comprised of a four course meal and light entertainment, all for R285 per person.

Atmosphere

Turbine Hall is a smartly renovated 1920’s power plant that emotionally evokes the architectural style of South Africa’s ‘city of gold’. Guests are initially greeted by a modern art deco inspired reception space before being led downward to an air-condition absent bar area for pre-dinner drinks and mingling. After a lengthy period of time, weary and tipsy guests eventually make their way to a very large and open area decorated with barren concrete walls that are accentuated by warm lighting, the odd eccentric art piece and, of course, contemporary restaurant tableware. The potentially stark atmosphere is, however, perfectly complemented and warmed by the sultry and exquisite voice of a musician known only as ‘Morgan Silver’.

The Underground Dinner at Turbine Hall is, quite simply, intensely beautiful in its industrial simplicity.

Gastronomy

The Upper Palatte is all about enjoying good food with great company. For the most part, members of the Upper Crust value flavourgasms, splendid company and immaculate service over location and facilities. With this in mind, the Underground Dinner at Turbine Hall resulted in a pleasant overall experience.

The four course meal offered at the Underground Dinner consisted of the following:

Aperitif
Amouse Bouche – goats milk skyer roulade with roasted pepper and angelino plums.

The aperitif was, arguably, the most decadent mouthful of the evening. The pepper-dews complemented the slight tang associated with the goats cheese while the angelino plums offered a perfect amount of sweetness to round out the taste sensation. Each Upper Cruster hoped for a second helping.

“The overall taste was amazing! In one bite you experienced a creamy cheese intertwined with the sweetness of the plums and then having a burst of pepper” – Jessica (Dessert Teaspoon).

Starter

Teriyaki crispy beef or vegetarian doughnuts with sticky jasmine, spring onion and preserved ginger.

Each choice of dish was prepared in exactly the same way, deep fried and delicious. The ginger was carefully fried with the teriyaki ‘doughnuts’ and helped open the palate to fully experience the zest of the spring onion and sticky jasmine infused rice. The accompanying sweet-chilli sauce further aided in enhancing the teriyaki flavouring of the ‘doughnuts’.

“The starter was so yummy that although I’m not a fan of anything spicy, I could’ve had at least double the portion size! Seconds anyone?!” – Jessica (Dessert Teaspoon).

Main Course: 

Slow roasted lamb shank with sherry and thyme served with fondant potatoes and roasted root vegetables,

or

Risotto with baby leeks, forest mushrooms, grilled artichokes and parmesan pepper wafers.

The lamb shank provided a hearty meal of a standard fare. I personally believe that the Underground Event planners should have requested meal orders a few days before the event. Doing so would have allowed the lamb shanks to be prepared in the traditional greek way through being baked for several hours. Instead, guests were treated to the pre-cooked variety. Although good, the dish lacked the ‘fresh’ feel and quality of the dishes preceding the main course.

The risotto, however, was great. Perfectly creamy and ideally partnered with parmesan shavings. Although the meal was good it is unfortunate that the venue could not accomodate the Dessert Teaspoon‘s dietary requirements; “I had asked the waiter if I could possibly order my dish without the mushrooms, and after being prompted twice, he came back to advise that the dish had been pre-prepared and they would not be able to make me one without them. Even though I have digestion issues with mushrooms, I chose to keep my main course choice and pick the little buggers out rather than submit myself to the beast that was the lamb shank”.

Dessert:
Berries and chocolate with cherries and champagne.

The dessert was sublime and easily the pinnacle of the evening’s gastronomic fare. Our Dessert Teaspoon sums up the experience of this dish perfectly:

 “We waited a little while before ordering dessert so that I could ensure I enjoyed it to its fullest. And I was not disappointed! Atop a little white tower lay a strawberry soaked in chocolate. At the tower’s base was a sliver of berry mousse decorated with pink spun caramelised sugar. It was almost too good to eat. The berry mousse was divine – light, fluffy, refreshing, a touch of sweet. I would easily have asked for seconds…or thirds”!

The cherry and champagne portion of the dish was surreptitiously confined within the ‘tower’ and comprised of cherries encased within a champagne infused jelly.

Conclusion

Despite a fantastic and drool worthy four course meal, delightful entertainment and phenomenal company within the beautifully omnipresent industrial design of Turbine Hall, the evening ended bitterly.

Unfortunately when the time came to settle our bill, myself and other guests within the Upper Palatte party were treated with an absolute lack of respect and courtesy. Without going into too much scandalous detail, I was appalled at the way the hostess and her ‘minions’ were treating paying customers. In my opinion, it is never acceptable to, within a social and business setting, A) rudely approach clients without an introduction; B) interrupt clients when they are speaking; C) make accusatory and threatening remarks about or to employees infront of clients; and D) storm off in a fury without bidding clients farewell. The aforementioned points highlight the taudry end that bitterly tainted a wonderful evening of good food and great company.

Unprofessional motifs aside, Turbine Hall is a unique and beautiful venue that is perfect for birthdays, business functions and weddings. Overall the Underground Dinner was great, with indulgent food and spectacular entertainment. The Upper Crust unanimously agree that everyone should experience one of these Underground Dinners as they are worth the entrance fee.

TUP gives the Underground Dinner at Turbine Hall 7 palettes out of 10.

About the author

Hans Haupt is the founder and chief editor of the Upper Palatte. Amongst the Upper Crust, he is colloquially referred to as ‘The Fork’. Although Hans adores food, he is by no means a “foodie”. Rather, he is the kind of person who enjoys the act of devouring a tasty meal and sharing that experience with great company. It is the social accompaniment, which food inevitably brings to the table, that he thrives on. Hans hopes that the Upper Palatte will grow to become the primary resource that good friends visit in order to determine which culinary adventures will offer the most memorable experiences.

0 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest