Do not visit Bouchon Bistro with a friend who doesn’t like sharing. The menu at this sophisticated urban hangout located in the cellar of La Dorrance City Winery, is delicious to read, so expect to over-order and spend the evening making like George Calombaris on Australian Masterchef – carefully splitting each dish to make sure both or all of you get to taste all the elements on the plate.
It’s so hard to choose – from among Pea and artichoke risotto with grated Pecorino, Kudu carpaccio with beetroot and date salad, Grilled Tiger prawns with saffron and garlic, and whatever else is fresh in the kitchen in the week you visit.
The food when it is served, however, feels a bit like chef’s night off. The baked Camembert needs more time in the oven, and the bruschetta needs less. The lamb ribs are succulent and tender, but the mustard BBQ sauce is over-sweet. The pan-fried squid is good and the chorizo imparts a lovely smoky flavour, but the spices in the Masala kingklip are raw and pungent.
Only open on weeknights, this wine bar and tapas eatery aims straight at the hearts of urban food lovers. The concept is inspired. The food, however, needs more love.
A city winery is a sexy, contemporary idea – no trekking out to the Winelands, however fun that is. As you’d expect from a cellar, the La Dorrance wines offer good value, along with some heavy hitters including some international options you won’t find elsewhere,
Service is friendly and competent, if a bit generic for such a unique venue.
Behind a discreet entrance, this is one handsome wine bar, hitting just the right note between authentic cellar and modern elegance. Entering feels like discovering a secret; it seems the ideal backdrop for a foolish romance or a very late afternoon tryst.
A stylish weeknight out.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
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.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.