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Pepénero

11 Feb

Having recently started a new job, I find myself missing my old colleagues and friends.A catch-up was in order and, all being Atlantic Seaboard locals, Pepénero was the perfect place to meet.

The evening did not start well as our booking was “lost”. A mystery to the manager, but he quickly found us a table outside after waiting only five minutes. We settled down and were quickly made comfortable by a wonderful waiter. He was quiet, unassuming and catered to our needs without becoming visibly irritated with our indecisiveness (something I wouldn’t have been able to do).

Our original plan was to eat sushi, having heard of the brilliant quality and Pepénero’s special. We were somewhat disappointed as the special isn’t that great – only maki, nigiri and California rolls are half-price and the rest of the a la carte sushi is pretty expensive to eat your fill. Most of us explored the rest of the menu and discovered some excellent dishes. All mains come with a choice of chips, rice, vegetables or salad, so anyone can find something to suit them no matter how health conscious.

I went with the Chicken Limone and was presented with three large pieces of chicken, grilled with lemon and parsley butter and pepper – superb. The steak special was also delicious – a juicy sirloin done simply but to perfection. One of our party chose the glazed butternut pasta – she wasn’t enamoured, but it was tasty enough (I helped myself to a few forkfuls!). The cinnamon glaze of the butternut was an interesting flavour in pasta, but nothing else in the cream sauce could compete with it.

At dessert time we were all hard-pressed to make a decision. I eventually shared the White Lindt Vanilla Cheesecake with a friend, while taking scoops of Crème Brûlée from my unsuspecting neighbour. Both were heaven! The cheesecake was covered with white chocolate shavings and its consistency was smooth and creamy. The crème brûlée was not too sweet and I wish I had been the one to crack its crunchy top.

Pepénero is a great place to go for a meal  in a gorgeous seafront setting but don’t expect too much privacy as it is often full and the tables are very close together. When we caught up on all the gossip we had to remember to keep our voices down – you never know whose mother is at the next-door table!

Pepénero,  Mouille Point –1 Two Oceans Beach, Bay Road, 021 439 9027 or 021 439 9037, info@pepenero.co.za, Starters R45+, Mains R70+ (sirloin special R79), Sushi R45+ (not including special), Desserts R45+Service: excellent

Voila

29 Aug

Up early for the second saturday in a row! I could barely believe it myself, but this was also for a special occasion – a catch up with a friend. We both love food and a little bit of decadence, so we decided on Viola in the new section of the Cape Quarter in Green Point. What a great choice!

If you love tea, Voila is the place to head. The owner is a tea fanatic and stocks interesting teas from all over the world. The breakfast menu is complete with tea suggestions (just like wine pairings a some schmancy restaurants) and each tea comes in a particular pot – delightful. I myself am not a tea fan – excuse the anti-climax – so I opted for a smooth and creamy cappucino.

Breakfast is a very important meal to me. In fact, it is also probably my favourite meal and Voila did not disappoint. Wendy had a stunning omelette with mushrooms, bacon and the works. For the cholesterol, or just plain health conscious the option of an egg whites only omelette is available. In trendy Green Point, choices like this are uber important. My breakfast went right to the other end of the spectrum. Named Wild Strawberries, I was presented with three fat flapjacks surrounded by grilled strawberries and bananas, drowned in syrup and topped off with Greek yoghurt. Oh. My. Gosh. The bananas and strawberries were gooey and sweet – perfect with the slightly sour taste of Greek yoghurt (for even more decadence you can have mascapone cheese instead of yoghurt).

Voila also makes their own fresh juices which you can mix and match. I had pineapple and apple to accompany my breakfast. The sweetness of the raw juice, with all the goodness of the foam that comes with it made me feel like I’d had the ultimate power breakfast to get me ready for my day ahead. Unfortunately I must say that the price of the juice is a bit steep. R28 for a glass of juice, even if freshly squeezed, is pretty ludicrous. The other prices were reasonable, making the juice price even more surprising and annoying.

The atmosphere at Voila is very relaxed. The decor is quirky, but really appealing and the setting of the new Cape Quarter is stunning. The waitresses were friendly, and left us to catch up on conversation, rather than interupting every five minutes to check on us (I hate over-attentive waiters!). The restaurant also opens up on to the European-style square of the Cape Quarter, which makes it the perfect breakfast spot for the coming summer.

Voila is not only a breakfast spot – they are open for lunch and early evenings too. Their description for their menu us French contemporary which sounds right up my street. I have not yet had the pleasure of trying the rest of their menu, but the atmosphere and breakfast make me sure I will be having a beautiful summer lunch there soon (without fresh juice!).

Voila: Shop 42,Cape Quarter, 27 Somerset Rd, Green Point, 021 421 1237. Breakfast: R40+ Coffee: R15+ Service: Friendly and satisfactory. Open Monday to Saturday 8am-6.30pm and Sunday 8am -3.30pm

River Café, Constantia Uitsig

23 Aug

9 am on Saturday. Not the time at which you’d normally find me out of bed and ready for breakfast, but friends’ birthdays are special and require extra effort. So it was off to the River Café. It was worth getting up early for the healthy breakfast and champagne (sorry, sparkling wine!).

Krone Borealis Brut was flowing with the fresh orange juice (I think myself quite the orange juice connoisseur, so it was definitely super fresh and delicious). The waiters were really attentive and kept our glasses topped up. Their smiles were constant, but unfortunately the lights were flickering. Sure enough, the electricity cut out, but luckily the River Café has a generator and the manager himself came to apologise to the table for the slight delay with our food.

The food was fabulous! My healthy breakfast was a massive plate of strawberries, grapefruit, kiwi, winter melon, pineapple, banana, apple, yoghurt panna cotta and muesli. I felt like I’d had my five servings of fruit for the day – stunning! The yoghurt panna cotta was smooth and delicious, contrasted to the crunchy muesli.

I must admit that while I was trying to be healthy, I was drooling over the fried up breakfasts around me – potato rösti, eggs and hollandaise sauce or eggs, sausages, mushrooms and all the fried-up goodness of traditional breakfasts. I missed the toast slathered in butter the most, so just had to sneak a piece!

The River Café has a beautiful setting, yummy food and friendly staff. The only thing I would improve is the coffee. It was a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday. Happy birthday, George!

If you get to the River Café before the 29th August, you can also enjoy their Winter Special of a three course meal and a carafe of wine for only R195. If it’s as good as the breakfast, I’m sure it’ll be well worth it.

The River Café: Constantia Uitsig, Spaanschemat Road, Constantia, 021 794 3010  Breakfasts: R40+ Service: Excellent and friendly. Open 7 days a week, but for dinner only Saturday to Wednesday.

Vida e Caffé, Camps Bay

12 Aug

 No, loyal followers, I have not run out of reviewing ideas already! I simply feel I have to let everyone know about the greatness that is the Vida in Camps Bay.

It may be that I work in Camps Bay and that any establishment providing me with caffeine would do. Not so! There is in fact another Vida on my way to work and many other coffee spots along the way. No, Camps Bay is special.

I first knew this when arrived with a cohort of fellow female teachers. Once the baristas were aware we were teachers, the nicknames began. “Mistress” stuck until all of our names had learnt.

 It brightens my day whenever I walk into Vida and am greeted with shouts of, “Sarah! Sarah!” and my double skinny wet cappuccino is already being whipped up. I almost don’t need the caffeine anymore (yeah, right!)

So really this post is not a review, it is just a big thank you to the amazing guys at Vida e Caffe, Camps Bay: Bothwell, Joe, Aubrey (I miss you, come back!), Peter, Peguy and any of the others whose names I haven’t learnt yet. Thanks for making my mornings special.