It was my birthday recently and as per tradition, K took me out to dinner. He chose Flames, the swanky new casual dining restaurant at the recently opened Four Seasons Hotel Westcliff. This hotel, formerly the Westcliff, is built on a hill, offering sweeping views of the surrounding area. Cobbled lanes, quaint balconies, elite charm and a stunning setting – this was my first impression of the hotel as we drove in.
After parking the car, we had to wait at the reception for a golf cart to ferry us to our destination – in this case, the Flames restaurant. A huge ‘mine-shafty’ glass elevator took us right upto the restaurant, which is quite popular for sundowners, given the views. We had booked a table for dinner as well as for drinks.Upon arrival, we were quickly escorted to out high table, which was at a level below the main dining area. Here I felt that the service was a bit slow. There seemed to be only one waiter servicing the entire area of about 6-8 tables. As a result, we had to literally wave him down for the drinks’ orders. He also forgot to give us coasters, which I felt should not have happened at a Four Seasons restaurant.
Having said that, the cocktails were good, albeit pricey. But the beautiful view and the serenity of the place made it worthwhile.
An hour or so later, we moved to our dinner table. It was a small table set for two, on the upstairs level. The restaurant offers an indoor as well as outdoors seating and it’s worth telling them your preference at the time of booking.
Our waiter was a bright and cheerful guy, very attentive and seemed to know it was my birthday! Menus and a bread basket came almost immediately and he took us through his recommendations. Since this is a casual dining restaurant, the food choices range from grills/braai, salads, pastas, pizzas, burgers and some comfort food. We only ordered mains and I went with the roasted sea bass with asparagus and rice, while K opted for the rib-eye steak. We paired our food with a merlot and a cabernet sauvignon. Both of which were delicious.
The food came fairly quickly and I loved my sea bass. Crispy on the outside while the inside just melted in my mouth. The accompanying rice was quite flavoursome too. K’s steak was done to perfection with the signature basting and a peppercorn sauce on the side. For dessert, I received a complimentary birthday macaroon! It looked lovely but was a tad too sweet for my taste. We also shared a fresh and yummy dessert consisting of peaches and white chocolate, the name of which eludes me now!
Soon after paying, we headed down from the restaurant and a magically a golf cart appeared before us to take us back to our car. A very neat touch I must say.
Overall, I had a fantastic evening and would definitely recommend the Flames for sundowners. While the food was good, it didn’t blow me away. The service was efficient but could be better, especially in the lower-level drinks area. As for the atmosphere, it was sublime.
Address: Four Seasons Westcliff
67 Jan Smuts Avenue, Johannesburg
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri – 7am to 11pm, but bar open served until late
Weekend – Please check with the hotel