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Bootlegger to open a café and grill in collaboration with top chef Eric Bulpitt

Bootlegger Coffee Company may be best known for morning brews and brunch, and chef Eric Bulpitt for fine dining, but the two are set to expand into a new realm with a restaurant in Constantia. Called BCG (Bootlegger Café and Grill), the new spot will have more of a sophisticated feel, and a menu created by Eric, who will remain at the helm of FABER in Paarl and who has previously headed up kitchens at Top 10 restaurants at Newton Johnson and The Roundhouse.

Eric Bulpitt of Faber. Photo supplied.

Eric Bulpitt of Faber. Photo supplied.

The new spot, which takes over the old Greens location at High Constantia, will offer a menu of refined café classics: think butter-basted steaks cooked on a charcoal grill; thin, chewy Napoletan-style pizzas with glorious char from a wood-fired oven; and a next-level cheeseburger on a toasted, butter-enriched roll, dubbed The Purist.

The menu is a creative collaboration between co-owner Pieter Bloem, Eric and sommelier Higgo Jacobs, inspired by quality local produce. “We didn’t want to do anything pretentious or stuffy,” says Pieter.

The restaurant, slated to open sometime in September, will also be open for breakfast. The offering will feature the greatest hits from Bootlegger’s other stores, but after breakfast service finishes, the tables will be set for a more formal lunch and dinner menu.

Bootlegger founder Pieter Bloem with chef Eric Bulpitt. Photo supplied.

Bootlegger founder Pieter Bloem with chef Eric Bulpitt. Photo supplied.

“It’s a very exciting project,” says Eric, “and the Bootlegger guys are amazing.” The chef, who heads up the fine-dining kitchen at FABER in Paarl, says he enjoyed consulting on an accessible but refined menu like this. “We’ve really taken the classics to another level,” he says.

The considered menu will offer some interesting tweaks, though, like Eric’s salted sourdough with whipped butters, steak tartare, and East Coast hake, inspired by a dish the chef used to make – and Pieter used to order, religiously – at The Restaurant at Newton Johnson. Puddings include Granny Smith apple fritters with salted caramel sauce, a crème brûlée cheesecake, and a burnt orange and lavender crème caramel. Ingredients will be carefully sourced.

The menu was a collaboration between Pieter Bloem, Eric Bulpitt and Higgo Jacobs. Photo supplied.

The menu was a collaboration between Pieter Bloem, Eric Bulpitt and Higgo Jacobs. Photo supplied.

Well-known sommelier, writer and wine judge Higgo Jacobs is responsible for the wine list. On offer is a selection of ‘quick wines’ by the glass, as well as a carefully curated menu that will focus on Wine of Origin Cape Town. This new wine district covers wineries within 36 km of the CBD, incorporating Constantia and Durbanville, and smaller regions like Hout Bay and the Cape Peninsula. “It’s quite exciting – as far as I‘m aware, we’re the first restaurant to focus on it,” says Higgo.

Sommelier Higgo Jacobs. Photo supplied.

Higgo Jacobs, sommelier at large. Photo supplied.

The interior is designed by Olga Barrow, who also created Bootlegger’s signature 1920s New York style. This time, however, the space is designed to be slightly more refined. Think leather banquettes, bespoke brass lamps, leather-covered winelists with brass trimmings, and waitstaff in crisp white shirts and black ties. There will also be outdoor seating on the patio.

Stay tuned to Eat Out for more details.

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