Fresh bread was brought to our table as soon as we were ready to order. The bread was accompanied by a bowl of olives and a bowl of chutney. That pretty much sums up our lunch – slightly adventurous, though well-made, with a nod to the best of South African fare, and another to Casa Labia’s Italian heritage.
To start, I enjoyed the pork rollatini, which was served with grilled fruit, vejus cucumber, chimichurri, radish, tomato water and a walnut crostini. The starter was a good introduction to the festive menu at Casa Labia. My lunch partner enjoyed the fish of the day, which was kingklip, served with Malay seafood crust, snoek, pork spek and apricot. I ordered the braised, deboned beef rib, which was perfectly cooked and pulled apart beautifully on the plate. The beef rib was served with bone marrow jus, broccoli, two slices of cherry-smoked ox tongue, cubed pear and gorgonzola pommes puree.
For dessert, you might be tempted to order a deconstructed tiramisu or a granadilla champagne mousse, with pineapple, dulce de leche, chilli white-chocolate soil, macadamia and mint.
The drinks list includes a selection of sparkling wine, white wine, red wine and rosé – some by the glass and some served per bottle. We enjoyed a glass of De Grendel rosé while watching the waves crash beyond the train tracks. Cocktails, beer, cider, spirits, soft drinks and hot beverages are served with pleasure.
Service was attentive, friendly and courteous. We were generously looked after, and I made our reservation days before, so we were spoiled with a table in the window overlooking the ocean.
Casa Labia was once the home of an Italian count. The house is grand and elegant, with romantic draping and detailed ceilings, with flecks of gold. The chairs are plush and the floors are wooden. A live piano plays, while painted portraits gaze over the dining rooms. Classic and classy, with a hint of gentility.
Parking is ample, on main road, but two disabled bays are available on the property – when booked in advance. The house also doubles as a function venue and is the ultimate cove for a wedding photoshoot. We were fortunate enough to watch page boys and flower girls frolic in the garden for a set of wedding photographs at the tail-end of our lunch.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
A combination of reliable classics and innovative dishes make this a worthwhile visit. For starters, the beef carpaccio with balsamic jelly, crispy fried capers, almond purée and parmesan is a stand-out, a symphony of flavours and textures. Other options include a Caprese salad with a twist in the form of a basil panna cotta; beetroot arancini with a dukkah crumb, goat’s cheese and coriander, or seared tuna with rocket, nero yoghurt and crispy rice paper.
There’s also a generous antipasti platter that’s also available as a main course. Mains include a perfectly cooked smoked duck breast with pillowy gnocchi, roast fennel and a pleasingly piquant sundried tomato beurre noisette – an excellent foil to the rich meat. Or opt for braised deboned shortrib with a café au lait sauce, mushrooms, cauliflower purée, cacao and carrots, or cider-braised pork belly with Serrano ham, pea purée, parsnip, mangetout and a walnut-and-nutmeg sauce. There’s also a fish of the day and a beef burger on brioche with emmenthaler and skinny fries. Vegetarians will enjoy home-made linguine with smoky tomato and basil.
Desserts include a decadently dark deconstructed tiramisu, a pannettone bread-and-butter pudding with rooibos crème Anglaise, and the clever antipasta: a “cannelloni” tuille filled with granadilla curd and topped with brûléed Italian meringue.
A well-populated list with good-value options available by the glass. Cocktails and beers, some craft, are also available.
Friendly and efficient, with good recommendations.
The location is part of the appeal here: the restaurant is located in the former residence of Italian Count and Countess Natale Labia and is decorated to resemble a 19th-century Venetian villa.
Take a stroll around the premises and admire the amazing art collection. The restaurant is popular for functions.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.