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“Roundhouse Detail”

The Roundhouse Restaurant
Ranked #79 of 1,144 Restaurants in Cape Town Central
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: European, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Child-friendly, View, Local cuisine, Business meetings, Special Occasion Dining
Dining options: Brunch, Dinner, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Description: Steeped in over 300 years of history, the former guard house, tea room, hotel and the hunting lodge of Lord Charles Somerset has been elegantly restored with the charm and sophistication of the Grand Old Cape. The style of cuisine at The Roundhouse is uncomplicated, contemporary French, inspired by seasonal ingredients and paired with one of the finest boutique wine collections in South Africa.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
67 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Roundhouse Detail”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 May 2014

Spoiler alert!!! If you want a personal touch, go to the Roundhouse! You are greeted with the menu bearing your name and welcoming you to the Roundhouse! No other restaurant has ever done this for us before! We had the 9pm seating and were concerned that we would not be hungry, but we needn't fear as the spread was amazing! The food is crafted as art on a plate with the attention to detail spanning from the menu to the kitchen. Each portion was well sized, not too big and not too small. One can also find a touch of the historic narrative on the table with a short pamphlet of the Roundhouse's story, a quaint touch.

The service was phenomenal and we commend all the staff at the Roundhouse! Thank you for an unforgettable dinning experience!

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Johberg_Diner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 May 2014

After much thought I have decided to share my experience I had with The Round House Restaurant as a wedding venue. This is not the first time I have had a horrific experience with a company regarding a service or product, and I am not the type to complain online and leave negative reviews, however I have decided to share my experience on social media platforms as I feel your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and I feel I should warn brides against having their wedding at The Round House. I advise every bride looking at The Round House as a venue to steer clear!!! And if you still decide to go ahead - please know what you are getting into and who you are dealing with.

Like most brides I was really looking forward to my pending nuptials and to celebrate what would have no doubt been the happiest day of my life. The Round House location is spectacular, the food is amazing and the price is not cheap so we were expecting superb service and to deal with a great wedding co-ordinator.

10 days before my wedding we went to visit the third wedding co-ordinator that had been assigned to us since we chose The Round House as a venue. When I got to The Round House I was in absolute shocked at the state of the grass on the second tier lawn. Clearly after many functions, the grass was completely ruined. The lawn did now look like that when we viewed the venue, if it did I would have chosen another location - as why would any bride want to walk in mud on her wedding day, especially with the price tag that comes along with The Round House as a wedding venue. The operations manager tied to hide behind the 'force major clause' in the contract we signed saying they could not control the way the grass looked. However the force major clause relates to acts of gods, war, strikes, riots, flooding or macroeconomic events that occur outside of the control either party. While we understand it has been very hot in Cape Town, it is summer and is always hot at this time of year so it is reasonable to foresee that extra care is needed to be taken to maintain the standard of the lawns. Lawns are for the record defined in clause 1.1 as part of the grounds for which the client has hired and the Round House is required to produce in a manner it was laid out in correspondence, meetings and is acceptable to the client as per clause 3.1.

We don't know how in good faith they could contend that it was not in their control to ensure their grass was maintained given that they have both water and the ability to either hire or contract a gardening services to maintain the lawns of the property. These are easily within their control and as such the force majeure clause could never apply.

In ‘good faith’ they offered to pay for half of the extra flooring cost needed so my guests would not have to walk around in soil and mud, we found this unacceptable, they suggested we go see a lawyer which we planned to do, and then finally before we went to the trouble of doing so, the operations manager offered to pay for the flooring in FULL. I would advise the Round House to insist that all function have floors laid down, the same way our first wedding co-ordinator insisted we have a marquee in case of bad weather. If they had done so, then we could have budgeted for extra flooring and would have saved us the hassle of fighting with The Round House days before our wedding.

The other pre wedding issue we had was that the Round House did not inform us that they don't offer a cash bar service. Meaning that the whole tab would be our responsibility. In their contract it says that they offer a ‘full bar service’. To me that means that they act as a bar - and every bar I have ever been to takes cash in the exchange for alcohol! The Round House is first and foremost a restaurant - so you would think they had the facilities to take payments? However they said taking money from our guests was to compacted? We found this out 3 days before our wedding, so once our budget was hit - then the alcohol would have to stop - our bar tab of R45000 was hit by 10.30. Luckily my husband and I had the means to increase it - however to those brides that have a fairly strict budget - definitely steer clear of The Round House as a wedding venue. They should definitely specify that they don't do a cash bar after a certain budget is hit before someone decides to use them as a function venue.

I thought that these 2 issues were the last of our problems with the venue, however I wish that was the case.

There were three issues that we need to bring to The Round Houses attention after our big day. We emailed them and their response was defensive, filled with denial, brash and they clearly had no intension of changing anything they were doing and how they deal with clients in the future.

1) Slowness of service for both starters and main course: This is the most minor of the issues that we experience. I understand the challenges of service but to be frank for a starter of a salad or beef Carpaccio, which require almost zero cooking and all the prep work should have been done meaning prior to orders being taken which means that the dishes merely needed to be plated to take more than an hour to get onto the table is blatantly terrible, to me unacceptable.

My brother brought this up with our wedding co-ordinator and they said that the reason for the delay was that they had to take orders first, he thought ok, he will let it slide and he said to her in that case there should be no issue for main course. He was wrong there was yet another hour delay in the service of the main course with numerous people receiving their food at different times to the rest of the table. This to me is deplorable. The fact that their staff could not co-ordinate that all meals for one table were served at the same time is something The Round House need to address in a hurry as I am sure this will not be the last wedding they cater for. The Round House responded to this issue blaming us for the fact that we were running behind schedule. Of course I can’t understand how the fact that we were 15 minutes behind schedule could have caused such disruption in their kitchens?

I will say this that were a number of The Round House staff were good and always had smiles on their faces.

2) Payment of Bar Tab: This unfortunately I was not there for but I truly wish I had been there to witness first-hand what Mathew, the husband, and his mother had to go through with the management team. From what I am told you would not allow the final bar tab, which was approximately R40k more than what was original stipulated Tab, to be paid with multiple payments? This to me is most peculiar as I know I have been to their restaurant before and had lunch in a groups where multiple people paid for their lunch on different credit cards which is exactly what Mathew and his mother were asking for just to be told by management staff this cannot be done. I cannot believe something as simple as running two credit cards for the total bill was not possible. The fact that they asked for the total bill amount which the Round House could not produce for whatever reason and would not allow 2 separate payments to be made is just beyond me and requires explanation. A couple weeks later I received the final bill for the alcohol and I worked it out that of the 104 of the 118 guests that were consuming alcohol - I worked it out that for each guest - they consumed about R750 worth of drinks which does not sound right to me at all. Ask yourself have you ever gone on a night out and spend that kind of money on alcohol? (keeping in mind we did not chose expensive wines). I felt completely ripped off....

3) The third issue is a sensitive one – Selective service. This is something that a number of my family and friends witnessed first-hand. For some reason three of my guests were denied service.
On three separate occasions the table my guests were sitting at which ordered drinks and all the drinks were delivered except for one of our guest and her two daughters. When we asked the waiter staff what was going on and why their drinks had not come we were told they have been told not to serve them. This carried on throughout the evening even after 4 people instructed the Round House teams to serve them as they are our guests. It got to the point where other guests were ordering drinks for them. To this day we have not been given any reasonable reason for why this would have happened.
The three guests happen to be black South Africans. We have unfortunately have drawn our own conclusions about this. The lack of service was witnessed by a number of our guests. When we brought this up with them and asked them for a possible reason for this and asked them to provide possible explanation they gave us a definition of racism which still does not explain why their staff denied service to our guests….
We were not satisfied with the Round House response to any of the issues we had which is why we are taking our feedback to other mediums so maybe in the future our issues (as well as other brides issues) will be addressed. We asked for compensation, a disciplinary hearing of the staff that serviced (well didn't actually serve) our guests and a letter of apology to our guests who were unfairly treated.
I would never believe the Round House senior management would condoned any of this but it may have happened without their knowledge hence us bringing it to their attention. That is the purpose of feedback. The manager invited us to bring our 3 guests to the Round House to discuss what happened which we have taken them up on their offer and will be doing so in the next few weeks to get to the bottom of how and why this happened.
Another reason that forced my hand in sharing my experience is that I have been in touch with 2 other brides that did not have good experiences with the Round House either. So unfortunately I am not alone and won’t continue to be alone until the Round House changes their policies and their customer service stance.
I truly hope this feedback is useful to you when making your choice on where to have your special day. While it was a day I will never forget it is unfortunately not all happy memories…

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
3 Thank Victoriansa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Terrible Experience”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 May 2014

We went to The Roundhouse with cousins for lunch, the weather and setting were beautiful. Unfortunately, the service, experience and food were terrible. There were hardly any waiters and the few that were around, didn't know or understand their own menu. One of our meals arrived after the rest of the table had finished eating and half our drinks didn't arrive. There was no courtesy taken in apologising or taking the meal that came late off our bill. Over and above the poor service, the salad I ordered was served on a wooden slated plate which would have been ok if the bench/table wasnt also wooden slated. The result after putting balsamic vinegar on my salad, was all the balsamic vinegar pouring through my plate and the bench, landing all over my pants, bag and shoes! I decided to phone The Roundhouse to give them an opportunity to formally apologise to us for our terrible experience before I resorted to Tripadvisor but unfortunately I have received no email apologising for our awful experience.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank TF0608
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“worth a visit.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 April 2014

We first dined here with friends in the evening, the food was superb and the service was good, the waiter did bombard us with lots of information, maybe a bit too much. We also had lunch outside in the garden, service not as good as the first time we went, some mistakes on our order and some of the menu wasn't available. My 6 year old loved exploring the gardens outside. It is a bit pricey, however the views are lovely and overall a great place to go.

Visited March 2014
Thank No1Jo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
46 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“The lawns”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 April 2014 via mobile

We had Saturday lunch and it was terrific on the lawns. The portions are exceptionally big so be aware. Wine selection is good good is very contemporary. Do not expect steak, but enjoy beef on a burger. Food is of the beat quality.

Visited April 2014
Thank NidiaWindhoek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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