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Bistro Vine

Bistro Vine
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Cost
R110 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Bistro fare, French
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Thulisa Martins

Food
Whether choosing from the specials on the black board or from the menu, the food is not exclusively French. Starters include duck liver pate with cranberry and baguette or the pork belly with apple, potato, pancetta and onion. If it’s available on the special board, then go for the salmon and sweetcorn fritters – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, topped with smoked salmon, spring onions for a fresh note and creamy avocado on a bed of crispy lettuce.

The waiter mentions that the roast pork loin chops, roasted with apple, mustard, soy sauce and thyme are popular for dinner. Otherwise the good old duck confit can do. Even though this duck confit is not oozing with bold flavours, it's simplicity at its best. The chef is true to the ingredients; all the components of the dish have clean flavours and the ingredients speak for themselves. The portion is generous: two confit duck legs are served with a pumpkin and potato bake (crunchy on top and creamy on the inside), and a salsa verde that completes the dish.

There is also a salad offering for those looking for a lighter meal. Amongst the selection is goat's cheese salad, which is chevin blanc goats cheese rolled in lemon zest and crushed green peppercorns served warm on crostini with a salad of chopped tomato, pear, rocket, celery and walnut. Or try their steaks, as they are larger and beautifully presented with onion rings.

The dessert offer is basic. The Amarula brûlée is one of the locals' favourites. Otherwise, a lighter option that completes a good meal is the lemon grass panna cotta topped with crunchy candied almond flakes and tart blackberry coulis that complements the creamy light and delicately-flavoured pannacotta.

Drinks
The drinks menu is all written on the wall in chalk, though on the steep side, price wise. There is a good selection of local and some French imported wines, champagne and MCC’s.

Service
From the phone call reservation to the end of the meal, the service is friendly and educated. They make guests feel welcome and recommend wines to pair with the meal.

Ambience
You're first greeted by a chalk board in front of the door with a list of some of the popular offerings in the menu. You then walk into a small intimate space with beautiful inviting French music playing in the background that just sets the ambiance. The wall is dressed in photographs and black boards with the wine list and specials written in white chalk. Some guests just get up and linger while checking out the wine list giving the space a relaxed, homely feel. There is also a fully stocked bar area.

And...
They use free range chicken, duck and pork and only SASSI-approved fish. Reserve a space as there are only about 12 tables.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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  • Marie-Lais Emond

    Food
    With this eatery, Daniel Vine set out to serve a more accessible version of French food. His focus is on French methods rather than imported ingredients. Starter options include brie in pastry, duck liver and oysters, but a simple salad of local robiola cheese, egg, avo and olives on lettuce, with a thyme, mustard and tomato dressing is a very promising beginning. Diners can expect a well-executed filet Bordelaise, for instance or mussels with very fine frites. The duck confit and bouillabaise have won a big following. If you’ve forgotten what chateaubriand tastes like, rekindle your memory here. The one-pot dishes are also a forte, for example a hearty Belgian pub dish of lamb shoulder in a thick, dark beer and vegetable sauce, on mustardy mash. If you’re here during winter, ask about their irresistible rabbit stews. Much of the meat is from Braeside across the road, while the lamb is sourced from the Karoo. Desserts include a poached pear that breaks the mould; this one cooked in dessert wine, tasting of cinnamon and plated with a white choc and almond sauce. The combination of the cinnamon and almond is magic. However, regulars favour the Amarula crème brûlée and the two-choc tart with a berry coulis. You’ll find it all on the blackboard, including a pretty good hamburger if that’s what you crave.

    Drinks
    Daniel’s own careful choice of wines could not be more on point. It’s a good mix of the familiar and the more exciting, local and French, reds and whites precisely equal, aged and newer wines, a suffusion of pinks as well as MCC’s and imported Champagnes.

    Service
    Here the young waiters wear snazzy grey stripy aprons over their blacks, which look particularly good at night, when they’re bustling between candlelit tables. They know their wines particularly well. Service is smooth and enjoyable throughout.

    Ambience
    The French ambience is created with words like ‘Vive la difference!’ on the wall, along with chalkboards and moody pics that pair well with the French soundtracks. There can be no real formality in such a cosy restaurant, where the tables are chattily close to one another.

    And…
    This is the sort of place where vegetarians find but a couple of items and might make up a meal from the side dishes, though the kitchen is happy to oblige if you phone/warn them in advance.

    (August 2015)

  • Bazil Stander

    Food
    Honest French bistro cooking and serious kitchen skills deliver solid flavors on the plate. Expect dishes like steak and frites with béarnaise, a life-changing bouillabaisse, juicy Namibian oysters, duck confit with braised red cabbage, beef carpaccio, salmon tartare and more. With a blackboard of daily specials, you are really spoilt for choice here. Other standout dishes include the moules-frites, seafood linguine, barbecue pork belly and that classic French stew, beef daube. Desserts are really good, too. Try the Belgium chocolate tart with raspberry or the poached pear with sweet wine, cinnamon and honey sauce with white Lindt chocolate – it’s completely delectable.

    Drinks
    They offer a well-edited, upscale wine list, including some outstanding French wines, some of them by the glass.

    Service
    Can be inattentive when busy, but generally it's reliable, friendly and informed.

    Ambience
    This is a classic French bistro, full of charm, personality and warmth. It's a lovely little gem that could easily be positioned in the Mare district in Paris. On lazy Sunday afternoons, you wouldn’t want to leave the buzzing sidewalk.

    And…
    Be sure to book well in advance, as this small bistro has limited seating and has a very loyal customer base.

    (August 2014)

  • A local favourite, with chef-patron Daniel Vine always in attendance. The blackboard menu features dishes of the day, like plump oysters; pan-seared salmon with leek cream, lemon confit and spiced lentils. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    On offer is a good selection of French classics such as moules-frites, duck confit, bouillabaisse and beef with bordelaise sauce. The accompanying chips (served crispy and hot) are worth a visit all on their own. There’s also a good selection of light meals and salads. The burger with emmenthal cheese and caramelised onion is excellent. Keep space for delicious desserts such as the bitter lemon tart with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with rooibos syrup.

    Wine
    A compact list with both South African and French offerings. There could be more wines available by the glass.

    Service
    Efficient and friendly.

    Ambience
    The interior is bistro-cosy with terracotta floors and black and white photographs. There is plenty of seating on the bustling pavement.

    And...
    The verrine – bite-sized dessert tastes in a glass – is a real treat. (JW, October 2011)
  • Gwynne Conlyn

    My favourite neighbourhood place. Chef-patron Daniel Vine is always in attendance and there’s a blackboard menu for dishes of the day. Order the fresh, glistening, plump oysters or the mozzarella sheets served with oven-dried tomatoes, avocado, toasted sesame seeds, olive reduction and basil pesto. Another highlight is the pan-seared salmon served with leek cream, lemon confit, coriander pesto, spiced lentils and courgette ribbons. An excellent wine list and good martinis, too! (July 2013)

User reviews

  • Amongst the boozy buzz of Parkhurst’s 4th avenue, one can find this quirky quaint haven for food with a French flair... Ambience: Bistro Vine’s charm and appeal lie in its unpretentious embellishment and simplicity. In true bistro style, its simply decorated. A petite space, dimly lit and filled with chairs and tables fit for intimate dining shared between loved ones- friends, family or lovers. Its exterior is nothing extravagant but its cosy interior is inviting. A chalk board sits outside, enticing passing patrons by displaying a few dishes off the menu; giving a hint at what can be explored but leaving so much more to be enjoyed. Moreover, the warm colours of brown and orange contribute to the comforting ambience. The display of wines, encourage pairing a glass or two with one’s meal as is typically true of the French bistro culture. One can expect to be welcomed by hospitable hostesses and expect to enjoy one’s meal amidst the comforting echoes of couple chatter and cheerful clinking of wine glasses. There are no frivolous furnishings to distract diners from the tantalising tastes and textures to be devoured! It’s all about the food here. Food: French inspired food that is typically simple but that is tastefully touched with a fusion flair. To start; my taste buds were teased with moules frittes and escargots. Both were delicious but the most memorable were the moules. Plump, juicy mussels lay in a velvety sauce of complimentary spices, wine and mussel stock enriched with a dash of cream that is typical of rich French cuisine. The frittes’s, accompanying garlic mayo was uninspiring but they fared well with the mussels’ sauce. Thereafter, the escargots excited with their uniquely curried gorgonzola sauce. However, it which was a bit rich for my palate. In Furthermore, the bread that accompanied was disappointingly hard and bland. To follow; duck confit. The duck was delicately cooked and paired beautifully with the sweetness of braised red cabbage, apple and baked sweet potatoes. All this contrasted texturally with a few fried sweet potato shards. It was deliciously tender, enough for the meat to fall effortlessly off the bone and into my mouth until it was bare. Yet again, the dish was typically but lusciously rich. Other hearty traditional treasures (amongst others) like bouillabaisse and cassoulet can be found on the menu. I would certainly return for another meal, but will keep space for desert next time. Drinks: there is a large selection of wines to be paired with one’s meal. Additionally, the waiter suggested a good wine! Service: There are welcoming waitresses and waiters. My waiter was attentive and quite knowledgeable. Fortunately, one does not feel bombarded by a crowd waiters rushing around. However, I was disappointed in the absence of a manger, the owner or the chef. I think to put a friendly face to the bistro would be that personal touch that enhances the honest and homey charm. Pricing: It is more expensive than your usual café. Its bistro grub with an air of elegance and quality that adds to the cost. However, it is not overpriced. My experience cost us, just over 200 rand per person for two starters and two mains. And… I enjoyed a hearty but rich meal (as is typical of French cuisine) but for a Saturday night dinner in winter it is definitely the ideal treat. One can expect to leave with that comforting feeling one receives after a satisfying meal. It was good quality food and for a Parisian lover, it took me back to exciting Paris. This place is the perfect getaway from the craze of Parkhurst’s nightlife. Once inside, one is forced to focus on the healing, soothing, nature of food enjoyed with a loved one. This is a hidden gem that focuses on delivering quality and seeks to surprise with its simplicity!
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  • Thank you for a wonderful evening and to Savanna, our wonderful waitress, for looking after us. Food was fantastic. Great ambience.
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  • Mediocre at best. If u can't serve duck properly then don't tote yourself as a French restaurant. The salad was boring. No dressing just a sprinkle of pesto over the cheese. My duck confit came without a sauce. The accompanying vegetables were ok. I initially ordered braised lamb, but after 15 minutes was told they did not have it on the menu... I chose a red wine to go with it and had to settle for the duck. Not a go back to. Definitely will not recommend it. The creme brûlée was again non- committal. The descriptions in the menu are French but on the whole it's just glorified pub grub.
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  • Had the most amazing evening at Bistro Vine last night. Had guests up from CT and the team at Bistro Vine made the evening so very special. From the minute we arrived the hostess and our divine waitress made sure we were treated like rockstars. As always food was outstanding. Thank you for a really stunning evening!
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  • Indeed a lovely and charming French style bistro in Parkhurst. The service was good: our waitress was a lovely and friendly lady. She assisted in choosing the perfect wine, but poured the first glass and left the rest up to us. Also, she only came back to the table to clear our plates and did not confirm whether we were happy with our meal until we had already finished eating.

    We were not happy at all. My previous experiences were sublime, but this one left us very disappointed. After much deliberation on what to choose, we both went for the "Fillet medallions with goose liver pâté and crostini served on spinach and mushrooms covered with a Port jus". It sounded different and irresistible. The taste didn't nearly meet our expectations: it was bland with no hint of port.

    R600 for a bottle of wine, two glasses of tap water and two main dishes is rather expensive, but if the meal was as tasty as it should have been we would not have minded.

    I doubt am I will go back, which is a pity as it is such a nice setting.
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  • Consistent favourite that has yet to disappoint. Nice wine list, and interesting specials.
    Great for both lunch and dinner.
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  • I have been to this restaurant a number of times and it just never disappoints. What a great place!

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  • What a disappointment! The service was slow, the waitress uninformed. Only after we had ordered wine, did we see that there were cocktails on the menu. When asked what the restaurant's'signature dish was, she did not know and had to ask. I then ordered the moules-frites as this is the signature dish. The sauce was acidic and the chips thin and a bit soft. We had to look for the waitress every time something was needed. Not enjoyable and I would not go back.

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  • We had a truly stunning experience at Bistro Vine on Saturday evening. Fantastic food, great wine and amazing service. Worth a visit!

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  • Delicious food, excellent wine list and friendly service. Wonderful evening.

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  • The perfect spot for a cosy dinner with old 'gal pals'. Staff were extremely welcoming. Bouillabaisse bursting with flavour and very generous! And JW was right - those verrine desserts were devilishly decadent! Will definitely be back!

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  • Went out hunting for comfort food on this crisp autumn day - we found it! Best meal we've had this year - interesting menu! Good wine selection (per glass as well, which is nice). We had the mushroom starter, as well as the chicken livers - delicious. The mains were beathtaking - the braised lamb attracted inquisitive looks from the other patrons! I had the Marseilles seafood dish - it was intensely flavourful. Worth every cent! Go now!

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  • Spent a delightful and delicious evening in November 2011 here. Lovely restaurant, lovely food, lovely atmosphere. Do have to agree that food is just a little over-priced, wine more than a little over-priced. But this was the only negative for a wonderful evening.

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  • 4th Avenue Parkhurst is peppered with venues. Bistro Vine, having read reviews, proved to be a clean, neat, attractively decorated venue with good service even for my rather demanding friends. It delivers French-style cuisine - the only flaw perhaps a rather runny non set creme brulee, and the curious touch of an after dinner mint wrapped in Italian colours with a map of Italy!

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  • Wonderful cozy and personal ambiance makes this restaurant so appealing, however the food was very mediocre and quite pricey. Unfortunately, because of this I don't think we will go back - such a pity because the atmosphere of the restaurant is perfect.

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  • Had a fantastic evening in a gem of a restaurant.

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  • Just after a friend and i waited by the entrance we were finally seated. The waiter then told us that the kitchen was closing in 15minutes. We asked if we could still order lunch and he then said yes. Shortly after receiving the menu, we said we will read through quickly. 30seconds later, a waitress appeared and said that the kitchen was packing up. After asking, if we could have 2minutes to read through the menu she pulled a face and said we had to order right now. we hadnt even had time to read through, so after asking again if we could read through the menu a second time, how else are we supposed to know what we can order, she rolled her eyes and walked away. We were appalled at her behavior, and decided to leave. For the price of the food, you would think they would include some service or just manners. After leaving we went to Georges on 4th, were we had a fantastic lunch.
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  • Great for unwinding on a Friday night with a special someone or a few good friends. The food is wholesome and simmering in French sauces and the street offers lots to look at, without the frenetic vibe of neighbouring venues.
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  • This restaurant was recommended by a friend and I was excited to try it out. After much deliberation I chose the mussels. I have to say, I have had better, bigger mussels before. Many shells were empty and they were tiny. Very disappointing. Service and wine were excellent and my partners meal, the steak, was good.
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  • Great little bistro dining spot, restaurant was packed and had a great vibe, service was fast, friendly and efficient, and food was good. Nothing spectacular but tasty. When the restaurant is busy, as it was last night, it might be difficult to have a quiet, romantic dinner for two, but with a group of friends the buzz was super.
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  • I agree with the previous reviewer, the food was exceptional at Bistro Vine especially the salmon with lemon confit & coriander pesto. We also ate there for Sunday lunch and loved the bustling little bistros décor and ambience. Will definitely go back to try some more yummy food.
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  • We ate at Bistro Vine for Sunday lunch, I had roasted tomato soap followed by duck confit and my partner had butternut and mozzarella spring rolls followed by moules frites. The soup was excellent, however no bread was served with it. The waiting staff explained bread has to be requested it duly was, unfortunately it only arrived with a few spoonfuls of soup remaining - shame. The butternut and mozzarella spring rolls were intriguing, I thought an odd combination of flavour, Asian plus South African plus Italian - confusing. Main courses were good, obviously using fresh herbs and ingredients and well cooked. Only real gripe was quality of the service which was slow and a little apathetic. Would go back for the food.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Dress code
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • Wheelchair

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