The ever-changing bistro menu by Giles Edwards is short and sweet, with dishes sometimes needing explanation from the waiter. (What is in Celeriac, exactly?) Though some, like Brains on Toast, need no elaboration. If you’ve eaten here before, you’ll know to point to something and trust in the magic from the open kitchen. If the nose-to-tail philosophy doesn’t appeal, you have plenty of options – from roasted baby quail with tangy aioli to the famous octopus salad, to mussels with bacon, or the fish sandwich with eggy caper mayonnaise, which will make you weak at the knees. The grilled green beans with Karoo crumble might be your salad of the season, if not year – simple, exquisitely dressed, tangy and textured, it’s just utter perfection. If you want sides, there are chips and the comforting roasted cauliflower cheese. End on madeleines fresh from the oven, salted caramel tart or the floating island.
Begin with a bubbly then choose a craft gin from the shelf behind the bar. Or allow the staff to suggest a glass of wine to match your dish from the carefully chosen selection of boutique local bottles.
Very professional, top-drawer service. These are no amateurs.
It’s probably the starkest restaurant you’ve ever eaten in, with nothing on the walls nor tables nor floor, but it works to facilitate zoning in on what’s on your plate. A palette of dark wood, grey and white make it a blank canvas for the elegantly simple dishes.
Printing La Tête on the plates was a masterstroke, as the dishes always seem to end up on Instagram.
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Trendy Bree Street in Cape Town is a perfect location for artisanal meat specialist Giles Edwards and his new eatery, La Tête (the head). Giles has brought his expertise from 10 years in London, working under Fergus Henderson at St. JOHN, a famed nose-to-tail London eatery, to the Mother City. This is his first venture along with his brother James Edwards.
The meaty menu has French influences and promises delight for adventurous diners. While the nose-to-tail concept could be a challenge for some patrons, the food is cleverly prepared using familiar methods, showcasing flavour and simplicity no matter which parts of the animal are used.
Start with crispy pig tails and aioli. The golden crusted tails are reminiscent of the best crumbed pork chop you’ve ever eaten. Mussels with bacon and Weiss beer are a bold combination, with a satisfying flavor and a delicious broth to mop up with some of the sourdough bread.
While the experimental menu will change regularly, you can expect options like confit duck gizzards, grilled goat’s heart with peas and mint, and sweetbreads with fennel and bacon. The rolled pig’s head with radishes arrives less intimidating than imagined. Two slices of what look like a crispy roulade of pork belly with seared crispy edges deliver bags of richness, perfectly balanced with the fresh radishes and mustard dressing.
Disappointingly, however, the pieces have scant servings of delicious meat between the fatty layers, which become slightly overwhelming after a few bites. Having said this, the chef must be commended for the process and time taken to present a unique piece of the animal in such a palatable way.
Options like the salt hake and potato or lentils and goat’s cheese might appeal to the conservative palate, but are prepared with the same honesty and integrity as the other dishes. Dessert is certainly a highlight of the meal. Enjoy the likes of perfectly executed Madeleines – French patisserie at its best, and certainly worth the 15-minute wait.
The compact and well-curated wine list offers interesting options, covering a good price spectrum and showcasing local small producers. Enjoy wines like the Diemersdal Grüner Veltliner, Crystallum pinot noir and Fable Mountain Night Sky blend. Artisanal gins, craft beers and a range of grappas are also available.
Staff are keen, friendly and welcoming. Some are more informed than others, but this is only to be expected at a restaurant only a few weeks old.
The modern space has concrete floors, white walls, and is dotted with industrial lighting, giving it a minimalistic and clean feel. You are welcomed by beautiful smells as you enter past the open kitchen. Enjoy the urban buzz of Bree Street and sit at one of the pavement table under the trees (wind permitting). The space was formerly occupied by Orinoco.
La Tête will be opening for lunch soon.
I haven't enjoyed a meal so much in a long time! The dishes are deceptively simple - fried fish on ciabatta might sound a bit dull, but it was spectacular! Flaky, fresh hake, a wonderful crisp batter, aioli, some boiled eggs, little pea shoots - it was everything you could ever dream of in a fried fish sandwich. We also tried the rabbit saddle, which was in a clear broth but was so richly flavoured, and infused with rosemary (or perhaps thyme?) that it felt quite decadent. The lamb kidneys on sourdough were wonderful too - I love kidney, but these were like the kidneys of my childhood on steroids. Yum! The decor - like the food - is very pared down, but does exactly what it needs to do. One suggestion: if you're used to more elaborate meals, order several things to share, so you get a good idea of the breadth of the offering.
Choose three of Giles Edwards' delicious dishes for R220 as part of the winter special. On Wednesdays, they’ll even throw in a complimentary glass of wine from the featured winery of the week. The menu changes often but could include crispy pigs' tails with aioli, roast quail and chips, or chicken liver toast.