The Cape Town food scene is about to get a lot more flavourful.
While the past two years were hard on many restaurants with frequent closures and switches to carry-out dining, these places are ready to serve up some delicious fare during this much better year.
Last week, chef Nic Charalambous opened the doors of his first restaurant, Ouzeri, within the trendy foodie hub of Cape Town’s city centre. Inspired by the taverns in Cyprus and Greece from which it derives its name, Ouzeri serves up a contemporary celebration of the two countries’ flavourful, regional dishes and culinary traditions.
Charalambous says what he loves about the ouzeris he has experienced in Cyprus and Greece is that they are very much local hangouts. He says it’s the place where you would go after work for a drink and a bite, and to meet friends and family.
“Everyone shares meze, and drinks wine and ouzo. In fact, they’re so much a part of the community that they’re often named after the towns they’re based within. My dishes are versions of the food I grew up eating. The menu is in many ways my interpretation of the food and culture of my Cypriot heritage,” says Charalambous, who is the owner and executive chef.
The restaurant menu, which weaves between the ‘similar-yet-different’ dishes of both countries and their regions, features a selection of meze and main meals – though both are suited (and suggested) to ordering and sharing amongst the table.
Each dish highlights a regional speciality or favourite- taking diners on a flavour-filled journey through Cyprus and the Greek Islands.
Located: 58 Wale Street
It’s no secret that French cuisine is considered among the best in the world – and the good news is that South Africans can now experience the traditional flavours of France, paired with top local and French wines, within an hour’s drive of Cape Town.
Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West has just launched a new restaurant, Café Fleur. This destination pop-up is inspired by the floral beauty of the 322-year-old estate, as well as the classic cuisine, elegant ambience, excellent service, and wine-making styles of France.
The petite menu has been refined to five starters, five main courses, and four desserts that showcase a diversity of ingredients and flavour profiles. The classic, hearty dishes suitable for winter include starters such as French onion soup, cheese soufflé, and snails with Pernod and garlic butter.
Main courses include roasted rack of lamb, duck a l’orange, and cheese and leek tart. Desserts include apple tart, crème caramel, and choux pastry with coffee cream.
Vergelegen sommelier Christo Deyzel says Café Fleur has been established to offer a stylish, relaxed, and fun experience where our guests have the opportunity to learn about and enjoy French cuisine and to experiment with both their wines.
Located: Lourensford Road, Somerset West
Farro at Gabriëlskloof
Farro, the critically acclaimed restaurant which has since October last year been a sought-after pop-up in Cape Town’s Bree Street, has now found a new permanent home. Farro reopened its doors at Gabriëlskloof Wine Estate in Botrivier. The focus of the food at Farro stays true to the restaurant’s ethos and showcases a seasonally led, constantly evolving à la carte menu.
At the farm, expect to see chef Alex Windebank’s elevated take on wholesome, classic, and comforting dishes. It is about embracing simplicity, respecting the ingredient, and celebrating all the region has to offer.
Being based at Gabriëlskloof, where sustainability is at the heart of the farm’s activities, Windebank is clearly excited to have a veritable selection of producers and farmers on its doorstep.
On the menu, you can expect favourites like the velvety duck liver parfait, black cherry and buttery brioche toast, seasonal veloutés, and a melt-in-the-mouth pork belly with mustard sauce and local greens. These are joined by a selection of dishes inspired by the new farm locale and country way of life.
Think marbled ribeye and chips, home-smoked Elgin trout, and country-style terrines with pickles and preserves from the abundant harvest of the Gabriëlskloof kitchen garden.
Located: Swartrivier Road, N2, Bot River