Sister restaurant to La Boheme in Sea Point, this city bowl tapas spot offers hearty flavours in smaller portions. Think rounds of melting camembert encased in golden phyllo pastry, bacon-wrapped pork fillet, or chorizo and chickpeas.
An artichoke and pea risotto is silken and perfectly al dente. The pulled oxtail with gnocchi is a highlight – the meat wonderfully rich and unctuous. The duck with fondant potato, braised red cabbage and miso jus is slightly less successful – good, but not smacking with flavour in the manner of the other dishes.
Dessert is a puzzle. A dish billed as rose-scented cream with meringue comes layered in parfait form, and should be light and sumptuous, but is unfortunately spoiled by dollops of very sweet jam. The hazelnut chocolate truffles are like soft balls of Nutella, solidified and rolled in cocoa and sugar.
The food is not perfect, but it’s tasty and hearty – good kos that will satisfy large groups who come to catch up.
The restaurant is set in the Dorrance wine cellar, so it’s no surprise to see the winery’s bottles on offer. There is, however, a very generous menu of other options, too – including some international options only available at Bouchon.
The cavernous wine cellar is warm and cosy – especially on busy nights when there’s a lovely buzz in the space. (First Thursdays is a good night to come if you’re after a vibe.) Modern steel and brickwork offsets some old antique pieces, and the rustic paraphernalia of winemaking to create a stylish, handsome space.
Staff are attentive and food comes out at a good pace.
The restaurant is something of a hidden gem – just off Bree Street, down the quiet, one-way Hout Street.
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The ever-changing seasonal tapas has the same Mediterranean-inspired flavours as 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.
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.
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.
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.
Friendly and knowledgeable. 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.
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.
Looking for a venue for a birthday celebration? Reserve the exclusive cellar table – between the wine tanks and barrels - for a truly special occasion.
Could be in a wine cellar anywhere. Food is easy-eating and tasty. Wine options are very good. Service excellent with hands-on owners. Will be back!