Neatly walking the line between informal everyday eatery and sophisticated inner-city restaurant, The Mess manages to combine the casual bonhomie of a bistro with a menu jam-packed full of globe-trotting flavours. Working with consultant chef Luke Wonnacott, restaurateur Carlene de Gouveia has placed the focus firmly on sharing plates through a menu that dishes up a cosmopolitan melange of European, Mediterranean and Pan-Asian flavours. Lime-cured tuna ceviche is one of the standouts, alongside the ever-popular BBQ pork belly tacos. Also look out for daily specials: on my visit, the gnocchi with asparagus, artichoke and samphire was simply superb. Not in the mood for sharing? There’s a small list of larger main plates and a tempting choice of grills on offer: you won’t go wrong with the likes of Angus rib eye partnered with charred broccoli and dukkah, thick-cut fries and truffled mayonnaise. And to finish? Of the three desserts, it’s the chocolate lava cake with white chocolate and lime ice cream that you should look out for. With stylish decor and a spacious shaded terrace, The Mess is the perfect spot for an after-work bite; a welcome addition to the buzzing De Waterkant dining scene. The Rockwell All Suite Hotel, 15 Napier Street, Green Point; 021-418-3910.
By Richard Holmes