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First taste: Mouthwatering tapas at Cape Town’s urban winery and bistro, Bouchon

Christophe Durand of Dorrance Wine and restaurateur Faisal Khakoo (the man behind Sea Point’s popular La Boheme Bistro & Wine Bar and Engruna Eatery) have teamed up to bring Cape Town’s city bowl a little taste of the winelands. Bouchon opened in December 2015, so after giving them time to find their feet, Nikita Buxton heads to this charming gem on Hout Street for some tapas and a glass (or few) of vino.

Fast facts

Price: R60 average for a tapas plate.
Serves: Seasonal Mediterranean tapas made to pair with local and imported wines.
Best for: An early dinner, or a wine-fuelled feast with close friends.
Parking: Find a spot at Heritage Square, or take a taxi.
Star ratings: food 5, service 5, ambience 4.

Food

The ever-changing seasonal tapas has the same Mediterranean-inspired flavours as at sister restaurant La Boheme, only at Bouchon the dishes are more elegantly plated and are served in smaller, refined portions. The dishes range from meatier options like beef cubes with béarnaise or rabbit-and-prawn paella to light bites like grilled Cajun sardines or roasted aubergine stuffed with cous cous and feta.

paella-bouchon

Paella with a crisp white wine at Bouchon Bistro. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

We opt for a few plates to pair with the Dorrance Kama Chenin Blanc. The Caprese salad is a fresh start, and the generous amount of fior di latte is a happy sight. The cloud-like potato gnocchi with porcini mushrooms is buttery-rich and satisfying, working well with the wine. Another vegetarian-friendly dish is the fried polenta wedges with a gorgeous tomato ragout, which tasted even better with a mouthful of the salad.

The beef tataki is a melt-in-your-mouth option for carnivores; the umami-rich meat with delicate mango purée was heavenly. A popular starter dish from La Boheme also makes its way on to the menu: sticky, sweet duck spring rolls with a hoison-and-ginger dip.

duck-springrolls-bouchon

The duck spring rolls at Bouchon. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Desserts are kept simple, with only a few to choose from. If like us you’re there very early (5.30pm), the tempting apple crumble may not be out of the oven, so go for the crêpe Suzette. Served in the traditional way, the French treat is dressed with a glossy, tangy orange syrup – the perfect way to end a meal.

Drinks

A lovely local and international wine list, complemented by a special selection, allow the guests to discover a range of exceptional wines by the glass each week. Wine lovers are also treated to views of the Dorrance wine cellar from their table.

The Dorrance Winery at Bouchon Bistro. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The Dorrance Winery at Bouchon Bistro. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Service

Friendly and knowledgeable. Bouchon owner Faisal Khakoo and co-owner and winemaker Christophe Durand are a hands-on duo, often present and happy to chat about the food and wine offering.

Ambience

The small space capitalises on the earthy, industrial charm of the wine cellar. A glass wall that separates the working cellar from the restaurant space lends the feeling of being in a quaint winery in the heart of the winelands. Warm lighting, simple yet elegant art, the clinking of wine glasses and the hum of Spanish music make this a place you want to linger.

The charming interior at Bouchon. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The charming interior at Bouchon. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

And…

Looking for a venue for a birthday celebration? Reserve the exclusive cellar table – between the wine tanks and barrels – for a truly special occasion.

Have you visited Bouchon yet? Share your experience in a review

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read the editorial policy here

The setting for a special occasion at Bouchon. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The setting for a special occasion in the Dorrance cellar at Bouchon. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

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