These last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy. I think with all the long weekends and holidays most people have been scrambling to get some work done before those out-of-office replies started to pop up and productivity slowed to a Sunday-cruise speed. I was fitting in multiple launches per week, sometimes several in one day, and while this is a lot of fun, it can be a tough pace to keep up and after a few days of rushing around between events I usually need a bit of a break.
This review came at exactly the right time and it was something I was seriously looking forward to. The new Bliss Boutique Hotel opened only recently in Sunset Beach, Milnerton, and it already received plenty of positive buzz around the internet.
Bliss Boutique Hotel is only a skip away from the city but the location provides the perfect haven. The eight-room hotel lies at the edge of a quiet, affluent suburb with only a small stretch of fynbos between you and the ocean. Currently the adjoining property is also still an open lot so you really feel as though you are somewhere in a tiny West Coast town – with only the glorious view of Table Mountain revealing your proximity to the hustle and bustle of the Mother City.
On arrival we were instantly impressed by the modern, minimalist decor, with plenty of natural light streaming in through tall windows and bright artworks carefully placed for pops of colour.
We stayed in a corner suite with a small balcony overlooking stretches of fynbos and with the ocean roaring on the other side of the dune just a stone throw from our window.
We planned to go for walks, for lunch in town, or maybe have a read by the pool, but all our ambitions went out the door when we heard the crash of the waves. In that moment the only thing we felt like doing was take a long afternoon nap, with the mild winter sun spilling onto the bed and a cool ocean breeze breathing into the curtains.
Later that afternoon, after a quick cup of Nespresso as a kickstarter, we went down to the beach for a walk, and it really is only a few steps before the ocean is lapping at your toes.
It was one of those crisp afternoons without a a cloud in sight and only the paragliders breaking the perfectly blue expanse. We joined a handful of people who were soaking up the last bit of the weather, walking their dogs or simply taking in the view and the feeling of sand under their feet.
It was one of those crisp afternoons without a a cloud in sight and only the paragliders breaking the perfectly blue expanse
As the sun was beginning to dip we made our way back to the hotel where the barman shook up their Bliss Signature Cocktail, with pineapple and lemon juice, sage and a nice hit of vodka.
We settled into their hammock chairs on the deck overlooking Table Mountain and sipped away at the tropical drink while we waited for the last rays to disappear into the sea.
Once the sun dipped so did the temperature and we moved inside for dinner at their in-house restaurant, Beach & BItes. The kitchen is run by Chef Dean Correia who graduated from the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch before spending time in the Caribbean. He has been gaining experience for seven years and aims to cook food that conjures up a sense of nostalgia.
While there is an à la carte menu available, we were happy to eat whatever Chef Dean wanted to cook up. They are playing around with the idea of a tapas or taster menu so that guests have the opportunity of trying a couple of dishes in one sitting, and so we were worked through four smaller portions throughout the evening.
Since the hotel is brand new Chef Dean used the opportunity to get feedback on a couple of dishes and he stopped by between each course to hear our thoughts. His presence and interaction with his guests is also part of the restaurant’s charm, and makes the whole experience more personal.
We started with a deep-fried goat’s cheese and beetroot salad, a classic combination that always wins with those deep earthy flavours from the beetroot complemented by the creamy, herb notes in the cheese.
Our second course was Vichyssoise or potato and leek soup, another French icon that ticked all the boxes on that chilly evening, with a silky texture and rich flavour.
Next up we had some chicken breast stuffed with blue cheese, with an orange beurre blanc and potato frites as garnish. We were slightly torn about this one. In my opinion there were a lot of creamy and sweet flavours, and not enough salt and acidity to balance it out. We also missed a proper crunchy element on the plate. That is nit picking though, we still ate it all.
The final savoury course was a win. We had flash fried garlic and chilli calamari with a spicy Sriracha mayo, which was light and crispy with just the right balance of salt and heat, and a punch of fresh acidity from the lime wedge.
Dessert was a trio of Crème brûlée where the chef wanted us to help pick a favourite. We had a choice of rooibos, Amarula and Van Der Hum orange liqueur flavours. In terms of technique they were all spot on, with smooth, creamy custard and a fine, crisp sugar coating. Taste-wise we were back and forth between the Amarula and rooibos. Personally I hope he keeps the rooibos – I just like the idea of something that healthy in something that guilty. The nice must balance out the naughty, right?
I am certainly excited to see how this restaurant develops, and I would say they are certainly worth a visit. The restaurant is open for dinner seven days a week, just make sure to book in advance.
Despite our afternoon nap we struggled to stay awake what with the combination of red wine, fresh ocean air and that soothing lull of the waves. So by 10pm we were both tucked into the fluffy white bed and out for the night.
The next morning we ordered some Häzz coffee from room service and enjoyed a perfectly lazy Sunday morning in bed, reading a little and just enjoying the quiet that we sorely miss living in the CBD. Finally our rumbling tummies nudged us out of bed though and we made our way to the dining room for breakfast.
We were offered a cold buffet breakfast with some hot options to follow. On the buffet table they had some standard cereals but also a gorgeous bowl of fresh fruits and home-made grenola, with seriously yummy yoghurt. As for my hot breakfast I ordered a spicy Spanish egg dish with tomato and chilli, and the husband went for the classic full English, both of which were spot on.
It was finally time to load our bags in the car and head home, and I was honestly very sad to leave. Even though we were only there for a day I felt ready to take on another week of mad scrambles. It really was a blissful little breakaway.