Sharing is encouraged here – the menu is divided into titbits, bit parts and big bits – so go with an appetite and enjoy a smorgasbord of flavours. There’s a reason the deep-fried calamata olives stuffed with ricotta are a go-to nibble. These crunchy pillows of salty, creamy heaven are extremely moreish, dipped lavishly in chilli-herb mayo.
Chef Patron Marcelle Roberts serves up a seasonal menu that pays special attention to showcasing both local and imported ingredients. Share a few titbits to start. The char-grilled calamari tentacles and chorizo with parsley, chilli and caper sauce has a wonderful bite, as do the ginger and lime prawn tails with wasabi mayo, sesame and sweet soy.
Move on to the bit parts and big bits, or enjoy a café pasta or fresh salad – the roasted pear and Gorgonzola combination served with walnuts and a Malay-style dressing is simple but magical. Specials should include linefish served with sweet chilli roasted potato wedges, topped with an avo, coriander and red onion salad. Big bits include char-grilled sirloin or whole roasted spring chicken, and vegetarian options include roasted cauliflower served over hummus and a spinach, butternut and chickpea curry. A roasted brown mushroom risotto is just one of the reasons to return.
The delicate vanilla and rooibos crème brûlée is a wonderful end to a delicious meal.
They offer a carefully considered selection of South African wine and bubbles that match the hues and aromas of the menu.
Décor includes rich wood panelling and delicious monster leaf pendant lights, making it cosy enough for a romantic twosome, but there’s plenty of room for groups at long, sociable tables and evenings can get very festive.
This team is slick and extremely knowledgeable, proving an asset when looking to pair wine and food. Discrete when necessary and affable when you’re up for conversation, the staff make you feel as if you’ve popped into their beautiful home for dinner and are gracious hosts.
Look out for regular wine pairing evenings where large tables are assembled and everyone socialises together.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
Chef Marcelle Roberts and her team have perfected the contemporary Mediterranean cuisine concept designed for sharing in this stalwart, award-winning restaurant. The seasonally-inspired menu only uses the finest local and imported ingredients for innovative, creative dishes. Café 1999 pioneered the titbits sharing concept where an array of smaller dishes take centre stage on the table. The so called “bitparts” become the main event and are available in half and full portions depending on the amount of titbits already consumed.
The signature calamata olives stuffed with ricotta, crumbed and deep-fried before being served with chilli herb mayonnaise is the opening gambit for any titbit choice, but closely following are the Double D samoosas, the tasty Durban quintessential snack filled with duck, dates and feta.
Chickpea and feta balls, a variety of dips and pita breads, Turkish figs stuffed with gorgonzola and wrapped in Parma ham and Moroccan lemon and pine nut lamb meatballs with cucumber and coriander should round out this portion of the dining experience.
The bitparts capture every patron’s desires – from char-grilled beef fillet to chermoula grilled lamb cutlets, fresh linefish with crispy potato wedges and leek beurre blanc or lemon and olive oil roasted cauliflower over an almond emulsion, sautéed baby spinach and spiced butternut and chickpeas.
The pasta dishes embody freshness to offer prawn, mussel, calamari and linefish risotto; homemade gnocchi simmered in a gorgonzola and butternut sauce; penne pasta with seared fillet strips, charred aubergine, tomato and calamata olives and the tagliatelle pasta tossed with char-grilled artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes in a light cream sauce.
The wines hold equal importance to the food in Café 1999’s eyes. The award-winning list encompasses South Africa’s iconic wines while relying on the synchronicity of the wines offered to the food menu and the staff invests hours seeking out gems for their patrons.
Wines are presented with a full description on maturation as well as the nose and palate characteristics, to both embrace the wine-drinking experience and ensure the choice matches the food selected.
Professional and knowledgeable staff ensure a seamless dining experience
Warm and inviting, with the feature brick counter a central hearth to the room. The experience is chic without being ostentatious.
Café 1999 also offers a broad variety of set menus that speak to corporate entertaining. Also, the restaurant is part of the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (Sassi).
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.