It is sensible, when feeding many people off a set menu that offers only three main course options (meat, fish or vegetarian), to stick to the safe, middle-of-the-road options. Any menu items that deviate from the broadest base of acceptance run the risk of creating problems due to the limited number of diners that would find them acceptable. There is a reason why airlines serve “chicken or beef?”
Before getting to some background detail on Vaudeville’s July menu, I need to ask: is it sensible to dangle upside-down several metres above the ground, supported only by some fabric wrapped around one’s ankles? Is it sensible to juggle eggs? And who in their right mind does the hula hoop with a flaming hoop while semi-naked?
In the light of what happens on the Vaudeville stage, the risks we have taken with Vaudeville’s July menu are probably not at all risque.
The first of these is the inclusion of lobster in the fish main course – Lobster and linefish with a mild and fragrant curry sauce on basmati rice and greens. We make the curry sauce without any shellfish stock, and we’re happy to serve the dish without the lobster, but guests that order the full monty can look forward to a delicious combination of flavours. The curry is more fragrant than ‘chilli hot’, which complements the lobster and fish extremely well.
The meat main course is Springbok shank (one of my all-time favourites, and a dish that is extremely well-suited to Inkspot, the house red), that we serve with roast garlic mashed potato, roasted butternut and beetroot and blanched greens. Being venison, springbok has a very low fat content, and is raised completely organically. This makes it an extremely healthy red meat choice. Springbok shanks are little smaller than lamb shanks, which are sometimes a dauntingly large mound of meat on the plate. Some types of venison have stronger flavour, but springbok is almost as mild as Karoo lamb.
Springbok meat is not Halaal. Upon request, we have Halaal meat available as an alternative.
Vegetarians can look forward to homemade gnocchi, which we toss with wood-roasted rosa tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, pine nuts, parmesan and rocket.
Probably the only sensible things we’ve done relate to the two desserts. Due to popular request, the decadent chocolate torte makes a return. The pavlova with vanilla mascarpone crème and fresh seasonal fruits or berries is not only a light dessert option, but also suitable for wheat intolerant guests.
Inside Vaudeville’s red-draped walls and ceiling, where performers do outrageous things, and guests are invited to escape their day-to-day experiences for a few hours, you may be asked “springbok or lobster?” The waiter who asks this question may be a fishnetted woman, a glitter-lipsticked man, or perhaps even the top-hatted and corsetted Jennifer-trix. Under the circumstances, “chicken or beef?” would just be wrong. We don’t have anything against bovines or birds (even if they have breasts), but the occasion does call on something a bit more adventurous.
You may even find yourself having a jolly good time while not behaving at all sensibly!