If Mulberry & Prince co-owners and culinary ingenues Cynthia Rivera and Cornel Mostert are anything to go by, the new menu is anything but ordinary. Enter a selection of dishes inspired by the East while retaining the restaurant’s signature fusion of complex flavours executed with simplicity and skill.
Going beyond current food trends, both chefs have seasoned each dish with personal experience, another detail that makes dining at Mulberry & Prince an exemplary experience. Cynthia adds global appeal by making use of flavours inspired by her native New York while Cornel brings his appreciation for the nostalgic sapidity of his childhood to the forefront through the use of ingredients like mulberries. If the latter was intended as a nod to the restaurant’s name, its addition to the dessert we sampled was a much-appreciated witticism.
When it comes to flavour, every addition is carefully considered – the creation of the menu is as intricately planned as a fashion collection. While each dish is able to hold its own, standout menu choices included the Saldanha Bay oysters with housemade kohlrabi kraut, doused in addictively fiery togarishi oil (a Japanese chilli spice) and toasted sesame seeds, the Stracciatella (a creamy soft cheese) with a sweet garlic puree, fried bread and a pepper crumb, and the salmon tartare with cucumber, fermented turnips and a yuzu-kosho aioli.
The latter is a dish multi-layered in flavour as the aioli that accompanies the salmon contains Mulberry & Prince’s own house-made kosho – a Japanese condiment of fermented citrus zest and chilli. The mixture has been fermenting for over a year, with Cornel and Cynthia adding yuzu juice to elevate the flavour to a zingy richness that works in harmony alongside the richness of the salmon.
It is easy to find yourself hankering after every dish on the menu and fortunately, Mulberry & Prince is one restaurant where trying each item on offer is an attainable reality. Specially devised to encourage sharing, breaking bread (or Cornel’s moreish beignets) between friends has never been more desirable. Thus, we were able to sample the stylish take on beef tartare – a deconstructed caesar salad featuring finely diced sirloin from Mulberry’s butcher Ryan Boon, an addictively umami anchovy aïoli, buttered crouton crumbs and caper berries. Swiftly after that came the shiitake and king oyster dumplings in an aromatic broth, redolent of cloves, garam masala and house-made preserved lemon.
For dessert, the aforementioned mulberries took centre stage as they were poached in champagne and served under a cloud of crystallised ginger cream and shards of Valrhona white chocolate laced with caraway, feuilletine and bee pollen.
In a city often dominated by a handful of renowned restaurants that jealously guard their titles, it is refreshing to see the unquenchable drive of newcomers like Mulberry & Prince to keep their standards at a constant high. If their work ethic, friendliness at the front-of-house and kitchen know-how is anything to go by, both Cynthia and Cornel are set to become as celebrated as the city they call home – if they aren’t so already.
Book your table now for dinner or comforting New American-style Sunday brunch at mulberryandprince.co.za.