Diane de Beer
This restaurant is about a generous heart and a passionate love for food. Chef-patron Shane Sauvage has matured over the years and has refined his passion for unusual flavour combinations. Their menu embraces all of that, with all tastes considered, from the determined carnivore, the pickier pescatarian or those who love their fruit and veg. For starters there's the Huckleberry Haloumi as a starter with thickly-cut grilled Cypriot goat's cheese, served with sugar-macerated strawberries with lemon and fresh mint. For mains, there's a choice of fish – Sauvage salmon or Hermanus sole – or their delicious KWV fillet, if meat is your preference. Dessert includes an apple sponge or their iconic decadent chocolate terrine.
With the chef-patron based in the winelands, his cellar is something special. It's best to determine on the day what would be your best choice; local or international, it’s an exciting pick. New on the list are the De Wetshof Nature in Concert or their Walker Bay selection.
There’s always a giggle in their service because the staff has a quirky style in both attire and approach, yet are always extremely professional.
You’re either going to love it or you won’t but there’s an individuality that’s both charming and inviting. It’s where you want to relax and enjoy good food and wine, with everyone there determined to keep you happy. As the night runs out, people often spill out onto the pavement (weather-permitting) for a late-night coffee.
La Pentola has also opened in Hermanus.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
Diane de Beer
La Pentola’s menu is extensive and exciting, leaving you spoilt for choice. Opt for the Huckleberry Haloumi (one of their vegetarian specialities) with the thickly cut, grilled cheese served with fresh strawberries macerated in sugar, with lemon and fresh mint. Also a fine idea is their house speciality of thinly sliced smoked salmon, lightly dressed with fresh gooseberries, lemon and honey and dusted with almonds. To top it off, it’s served with lemon cream and seaweed caviar. It’s a fusion of flavours and delicious as a light lunch. For mains, try one of their pasta dishes, like the Spaghetti Frutti di Mare, a combination of seafood, mussels, calamari, pawns and line fish, pan-fried in butter, garlic and black pepper and doused with wine and olive oil, the whole tasty affair flavoured with herbs and lemon. Or you could take a walk on the wild side with the Crocodile Pastry, consisting of tender cubes of crocodile tail in a spicy curry sauce, wrapped in crispy phyllo pastry. Meals are prepared from scratch and as the menu indicates, dishes might take time, but it is well worth the wait. Fusion has long been chef Shane Sauvage’s passion and he pushes flavours and textures to great effect with a promise of quality, good value and no short cuts.
They have a quality wine selection and with the chef primarily based in the winelands, his cellar attests to some very clever purchases. From Ataraxia (Hemel en Aarde) to Iona (Elgin) and Lomond (Agulhas), their wine list also travels internationally to Portugal, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.
Their service is smart and staff members are smartly dressed in quirky style, which always adds charm.
Eclecticism will always be part of the La Pentola charm, but the restaurant has been brought in line with its Hermanus counterpart. The colours are lighter and the artwork more accessible, resulting in a space where diners are invited to relax with good food and wine.
La Pentola has also opened a branch in Hermanus, so regulars can visit home from home when on holiday at the coast and enjoy a meal while watching the whales in the bay.
In 1997 chef patron Shane Sauvage won the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Chef of the Year – and he hasn’t had his pans cold since then.
You’ll find French, Italian and rich Mediterannean flavours, and a touch of Africa, too. This is serious food with a magically cheerful touch and good value for money.
I’ve never been one for food photographs on the menu (unless you’re is lost in Laos and pointing to a picture is necessary and helpful). These menus feature photographs (by Sarie Pretorus) from Shane’s two very successful cookbooks, and in this case the gorgeous visuals tingle the taste buds.
You get the sense that Shane’s dishes are part of this talented man’s adventurous journey through life. For instance, a starter of kidneys with Port, done to perfection and redolent with fresh cream and real butter, makes a statement.
The dish of outback crocodile is an inspired exploration of what we have available on the continent. The cuts are grilled and then laced with sweet granadilla and honey-balsamic sauce, and dressed with kiwi fruit. Other game dishes (again, cleverly executed) include ostrich, and a main of honey mustard warthog.
The KWV rump, the house speciality, is served in brandy, with Dijon mustard, braised onion, bay leaf and an excellent cream sauce flavoured with Madagascan peppercorn. The beef steaks are done to a turn. There's also a kiddies’ menu available.
They’ve done their homework to create an award-winning wine list. An 'aroma wheel' helps you choose the correct wine. Staff are also good at spot-on wine pairing suggestions. There are a few unusual varietals, including the Allesverloren Touriga Nacional from the Swartland. For the quality of the wines, the prices aren’t exorbitant, and there’s a good choice of wine by the glass.
The waiters and the front-of-house folk are there to see that every part of your experience is perfect.
It’s a friendly, welcoming place that has grown organically over the years and still maintains its standards.
Everything is prepared from scratch, so sit back and be prepared to wait a bit. It’s worth it.
Diane de BeerIt's has a style of its own but it's easy to slide into this welcoming warmth and to go on a Sauvage food adventure. It's a restaurant with its own heartbeat that feels like home but on a special night out. The interiors are eclectic, the rooms are always buzzing and the customers are pampered and cared for. Chef Shane Sauvage has his own style and is constantly adding and changing his menus. It's about combinations of flavours which has honed through the years but you have to find your own favourites. The latest top ones include an Intergalactic Chicken and a stylishly old-fasioned Kingklip Maitre d'Hotel. (July 2013)
We visited this restaurant on the 21st of March 2012. As it was our first time dining at this Pretoria institution, we asked the waiter for a recommendation. By the way, his service was exceptional and that can be said of the Maitre'D as well. We both had the angel snails as a starter and I must say, this unique way of serving escargot really got our attention. Absolutely devine. Next up followed the paella for two and we were amazed by all the flavours of saffron, seafood and chicken blended with rice. We had paella in Spain on a previous trip and this dish will hold its own for sure. The only thing that I am regretting is that we did not discover this gem a lot sooner. For dessert my husband had the chocolate terrine and I had the avo ice-cream. Presentation was really cute and although they take a bit longer to prepare the food, the quality makes it worth the wait. I would sincerely recommend a visit to this restaurant, where the sole focus is on the food and wine, the cuisine as such. Thanks La Pentola! Merci Chef Shane!
Thanks again for the excellent service and awesome food, the management and staff at La Pentola need a Bells!
Comments, We had a very disappointing anniversary dinner as first time patrons of La Pentola! The venue is clearly trading on the name of an absent Chef (it would seem Shane is in Stellenbosch) and his interesting menu cooked poorly by a souse chef or cooks. I confirmed this by going into the kitchen. The paella (R450) was served one and a half hours after ordering, was oily, and the seafood overcooked. The mushiness of the prawns and texture of the other seafood would indicate they were frozen and not fresh ingredients, and all mixed into the rice rather than placed on top, so very poor if not zero presentation .
As patrons of top restaurants including Johannesburg, Cape Town and Franschoek restaurants it is clear this one needs a revamp, decor included.
Of most concern was that when this was politely pointed out by us to a manager, she agreed the food was not cooked to standard, offered to remove the unfinished food, and was then over ridden by another manager / owner who appeared at the table and insisted the food was cooked perfectly and that we, his customers, were wrong. We paid and left.