Having exhausted almost all of the specialist steak houses in the Peninsula, the Tough Crowd™ ventured to Mano's in Green Point.
Mano's describes itself as "the kind of place that's as popular with young families as it is with the chicest girls and guys about town" with "unpretentious" food, "very good" service, "excellent" value and a "laid-back and trendy" ambiance.
The host for this month's Steak & Wine Club function is a regular there and knows Mano personally. Mano organised 4 off-menu cuts of beef specifically for us: a prime rib, a rump, a T-bone and the steak du jour, a fillet-on-the-bone.
The limited-edition fillet-on-the-bone was quickly snapped up and got some good reviews. Tasty, tender and well-cooked. The T-bone was immense in size and disappointing in most other aspects - "one mouthful of fillet and the sirloin on the other side was just totally tasteless and fill of sinew". The prime rib was panned as being dry and requiring sauce. The rump was described by one punter as the "2nd best steak I have had on Steak Night. Nice and thick rump, cooked to perfection, timing and texture perfect."
The big bowls of thin cut fries and onion rings were appreciated and enjoyed. The starter calamari and salads were very nice.
The ambiance was busy and bustling and yes, quite trendy. The service was OK, with the waitron keeping abreast of the situation. She could have been a bit more engaging but despite that, she has two very impressive things going for her.
In terms of value, R340 for a steak, sides, starter calamari and salads, couple of beers and bottles of red is pretty good. No corkage is fantastic - and something we didn't take sufficient advantage of.
So, does Mano's meet its own description? It's probably a bit overstated. From our experience, it is the kind of place that is full of chic girls and cool blokes, serves pretty damn good unpretentious food, has reasonable service (almost top rack) that delivers fairly good value in a bustling and trendy place.
All in all, another top night for Cape Town's most discerning carnivores.
Overall: 7.4 (average of scores)