Chef Matt Manning cut his teeth under the likes of Marcus Wareing in London and locally at Top 10 restaurant La Colombe, before going on to make a name for himself as a private chef. In December, Matt set his sights on opening Grub & Vine on Bree Street, which serves refined bistro-style fare. Eat Out editor Linda Scarborough went to have a taste.
Despite being billed as ‘grub’, this is accomplished and refined cooking made with skill and sense. The menu is blissfully short, allowing you a few options per section in starter or main portions. It’s easy to spot the dishes that make your imagination sing. Expert technique and plating result in dishes with spot-on flavours and textures. The food isn’t trying to be anything too trendy or flashy – it’s just thoroughly delicious, if quite pricey.
You might be treated to a tasty amuse-bouche of arancini, before starting off with a dish of creamy burrata, heritage tomatoes and figs, which makes the most of the season’s bounty. The alternatives – root veg with vinaigrette, and charred broccoli with pear and Forest Phantom cheese – are no doubt also satisfying.
West Coast hake with peas, lentils and tender mussels, plated with some on-theme foam, is perfectly cooked and tender, and the poached and roasted baby chicken with endives and parsnip chips shows off the chef’s skills, with umami-rich flavours and textures that will have you scraping your plate. Other options include braised ham hock and lamb rump but, coming in at over R200 for a portion, the latter is not mid-week lunch fare.
The single dessert option of the day is lovely: blackberry almond cake with custard and honeycomb. Alternatively, order a platter of local cheese.
The wine list of boutique options shows a sense of humour, with sections such as ‘French plonk’, ‘juicy & crunchy’ and ‘tannins are your friend’. By-the-glass options are plentiful. You’ll want to come back to try more of the list.
Sharp, generous and on the ball. Matt might pop by to introduce one of his dishes.
Not at all like your average Bree Street café – it’s elegant, calm and smart inside, with beautiful glassware, servingware and bare tables. The open kitchen is always exciting. Grab a table by the windows for a view of this busy part of town.
Business lunches or luxurious dates.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.