Venues

Noop

Noop
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Cost
R130 avg main meal
Ambience
Contemporary cool, Family friendly
Food
Contemporary fare, French, Modern, South African
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Richard Holmes

Food
Expect a wide-ranging menu that combines local flavours, Asian inspirations and classic bistro style where there’s something for every palate. When available, the fresh Saldanha Bay mussels steamed in chardonnay and garlic are a highlight among the starters, else opt for one of the delicious house salads. Mains run from herb-crusted rump of Karoo lamb, to duck roasted to a perfect succulent crispiness and served with potato and butternut dauphinoise.

Locals love the steaks and grills here too. Meat is aged for 32 days, and offered in a range of cuts and – nice to see – portions from 150g upwards. Served with onion rings, sauce and sides, you won’t go wrong with something meaty here. If none of those tempt, turn to the chalkboard of daily specials where you’ll find more seasonal fare ranging from fresh Asian-style tuna to grilled venison. Desserts are, happily, given plenty of attention with bistro staples like apple tarte tatin and a trio of crème brûlées.

Drinks
A superb wine list covering iconic estates and boutique cellars from across the Cape winelands, with a particular focus on Paarl producers. A tempting range of single malt whiskies, brandies and digestifs matches the excellent wine offering. Good coffee is by winelands roaster Terbodore.

Service
Smartly dressed, slick and efficient; as you’d expect from the stylish venue.

Ambience
One of the most charming spots in Paarl, from the high ceilings and wooden floors to the linen tablecloths, the space is elegant without being fussy.

And…
There’s a secret fireplace towards the back of the ground floor, else book a table on the streetside terrace when the weather’s fine.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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  • Greg Landman

    Food 
    This is food that is imaginative without being precious, delicious to eat and with portions that satisfy without making you feel too full.

    The knockout starter is the homemade Norwegian salmon gravlax. Salt and sugar cured, with a hint of Pernod giving it that extra little something, it's served with a cucumber and sour cream salad, red and spring onions, and a dill mayonnaise – a completely irresistible disth. Another delicious option is the thinly sliced slow-roasted pork belly with cashew nuts, curry cream and banana crisps.

    Meaty mains include a popular venison burger with caramelised onion, crisp bacon, camembert and truffle mayonnaise, and a beef version done the same way. The crisp roast half duck with a Cointreau jus, served with potato and butternut dauphinoise, is certainly worth leaving home for, and the various steak cuts with great sauces have devotees from all over Paarl. To end your meal, consider ordering the Frangelico crema Catalana, a silky smooth, rich and delicious treat.

    Drinks 
    There's a very good list with some specials from the owner's cellar, like a Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2003 and a De Toren Fusion 2009. There are four French wines available including Dom Perignon, and brands like Pernod and Remy Martin to begin and end your meal.

    Service 
    The approach is professional and knowledgeable, friendly in the country manner.

    Ambience
    Noop is located in one of those gorgeous old houses on the Main Street, with a delightful front stoep where tables are set and a smaller one in back overlooking a tiny garden. The interior is warm and comfortable with air conditioning in summer and is usually packed with locals who know a good thing when they see one.

    And… 
    There’s a small bar in front, just the place to start or end a special evening.

    (July 2014)

  • Food
    The farfalle pasta with mushrooms, parmesan and beef is the best. No, wait – it must be the sumptuous pork neck with sweet potato, pine nuts, figs, feta and cashew nuts. Or maybe the Saszali chocolates top the bill? Actually, it’s all pretty brilliant

    Wine
    Wines are recommended with each course. The list offers a broad range in price and selection of boutique South African labels, with vintages.

    Service
    Experience shines from veteran waiters who see to customers with professionalism and efficient care.

    Ambience
    The building is a national monument. Inside, the décor is mod and retro, complete with fresh Proteas and striking photographs of the national flower.

    And...
    Be sure to try chef patron Abe Conradie’s coffee shop, Kikka, just down the road. (M&CR, October 2011)

User reviews

  • Thank you Noop! Best lamb I had in ages!
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  • I think I have tried just about everything on their menu and never once been disappointed! Every time we visit this little gem in the Paarl Main Road we leaving thinking how great it was. The food is absolutely delicious and not over priced at all, the atmosphere is always so warm and welcoming. Definitely one of our favourite spots!
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  • We went to Noop on a cold rainy night and were lucky to find a cosy table in this busy establishment. The ever increasing popularity of Noop is proof of just how good it is.
    In spite of always going for the steak I could not resist the lamb's neck special and was not disappointed, it was very yummy indeed. The wine list also contains some interesting and not always freely available wines like the Windmeul Reserve Shiraz we enjoyed.
    A week or two later I tried Noop again but it was fully booked! Popular with reason indeed.
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  • Our latest visit to Noop was indeed our best ever. This venue understands that air conditioning needs to be effective on a warm day, so whilst there is outdoor seating, we sat inside and because they close windows and doors it works, and was wonderfully cool which set the tone!, The menu is complemented by interesting daily specials, with efficient service and a good wine list. We enjoyed tender lamb shoulder and also springbok with delicious vegetables whilst a chocolate dessert special was a winner. Attractive decor and owner managed, it is worth seeking out.
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  • We had dinner last night at Noop. Chef and owner Abe Conradie came out to greet us and offered his specials of the day. My aim was to try another risotto there and when he mentioned that, I went for it. For starters we had Tropical Salad with parma ham, julienne sweet potato, grapes, litchi with feta cheese, caramelised peanuts, olives and rocket herb salad. All looking fresh and full marks for presentation,.I had chicken roulade stuffed with pistachio nuts, smoked raisin, spring onions rolled in nori, served with a soft polenta, wilted spinach and asparagus, a smoked paprika and honey sauce served with beetroot risotto. It was sublime! Ron had the other special, Fish with green vegetables, pureed spinach and mash potatoes with nuts. All washed down with Ken Forresters slightly dry Chenin Blanc and all served by Angelo the waiter.
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  • This is the most fabulous restaurant! We ate there 3 times on holiday and had 3 different tasting menus which were superlative. Eating is our hobby and this ranks amongst the best restaurants in the world with a truly inventive chef. Service and ambiance are also excellent, a real gem not to be missed. Across the road from Grand Roche where we have previously stayed, Noop knocks the spots off of the restaurant there.
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  • Recently I was lucky enough to take part in a most sensational sensory-evening hosted by Noop. We had our book club in the comfortable cosy upper-room, where an intimate atmosphere was created with lots of decadent decorations, candles and flowers. The evening started off with a flower-demonstration by co-owner Karike and, in keeping with the sensory theme, we were encouraged to explore every flower in our individual bunches with our eyes closed, and were surprised to find how intense you can experience the different textures, shapes, smells from each flower, not to mention the beautiful colour treat when we opened our eyes! This was definitely an eye-opener (pun intended) for me as I have never before saw flowers in this way.

    During the course of our book-discussion, we were treated to a number of bursting bite-size courses on individual spoons. The tastes and combinations were indescribable! I can unfortunately not remember the detail, but I do remember exotic ingredients such as olive biscotti, kudu carpaccio, basil jelly, seared salmon, extra special balsamic reduction (and much more…) topped with micro herbs – the names of which I will not even try to remember. The flavour experience was really out of this world, and intensified by the neon-lights. Strange, I also thought, but they were employed extremely effective in this sensory context! I understand that it’s actually called black lights - it turns whites into very bright almost purple and is traditionally found at dance clubs. The lights also literally lighted up the decorations on the spoon-“plates”, which completed to the taste-experience.

    The chef, Abe Conradie, himself also graced us with his presence, and explained some of the intricacies of combining food and creating this very special balsamic reduction, which we immediately named “Black Platinum” (after the more commercial well-known product – Black Gold – which is also from the AB Products stable).

    The main course was a selection of the very famous “Nooshi” (Noop Sushi) and, in keeping with their faultless attention to detail, catered for the pregnant ladies with (cooked) duck sushi.

    Desert was again a mouth-watering-taste-explosion, dark chocolate, nuts, raspberry caviar and more, topped with… wait for it, red chilli. It was beautiful!

    This was the perfect book club, but should definitely not be confined to this purpose; I predict that these sensory evenings are going to become a regular and very popular feature at Noop. I will definitely have to experience it again!
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  • Chef Abe and his team are doing outstanding work with their new tasting menu at Noop. The dishes are highly original and a real treat to the senses. Highlights include the salmon sashimi with smoked salt, cucumber jelly, caper foam and soy caviar, and the oysters wrapped in a leek tempura with soft poached quail egg, pea and wasabi puree and squid ink. All the dishes are superbly presented and well executed, and not often does top quality come at such good value for money. We had a fantastic evening and can’t wait for more.
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  • Oh my word, the salmon sashimi with smoked cucumber jelly was to die for!
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  • Dear Ilse, I am really sorry to hear about your disappointing visit to Noop. We try our best, but sometimes everything doesn’t quite work out the way we want it too. Your criticism inspires me to try harder, and I really hope that we’ll have another opportunity to entertain you. Kind regards Abe “Noop” Conradie
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  • On more than one occasion Ive read the cute story of how Noops name came about. When Abe Conradie was at another establishment in Paarl quite a few years ago, his food and presentation were magic and in a class of its own. Maybe its because he has become an absentee restauranteur so to speak, or maybe its easier to make a quick buck this way, but at Noop he seriously fails to deliver. In winter 2009 I ventured there again and had a sublime gnocchi in comfort food style. Hence a subsequent visit on which I took 2 foodie friends. Out of 5 dishes every single one was disappointing if not shocking. To make a long story short, Ill stick to our main courses and the inedilbe dessert. The catch of the day was cajun fish which was dry and the spice mix was completely overpowering. The seafood melange was pushed aside by my Dutch friend and she even toyed with the idea of it being slightly off. My pork neck was unstomachable - dried out and what sounded like a promising combination of figs, chevin and nuts was clearly old coupled with the pork neck tasting as if it had been re-heated in the microwave. We attempted a creme brulee selection that arrived nicely presented in porcelain spoons but it turned out to be more like instant puddings, one of which had the distinct taste of flavoured milk favoured by kiddes. We asked the waitress how it was made given the fact that the menu described it as creme brulee but her less than succinct reply was that the kitchen would like to keep it a secret. Hmmm, maybe better that it stays a secret then.What a pity that someone with Abes talent has resorted to this kind of food though it should be mentioned that he walked past us as he left the establishment early. All the sadder when I recall that his food back in the day when he was still at Pontac, inspired me to write a food review for a now defunct magazine that won me a case of Veuve Cliquot.
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  • We stumbled across Noop by default - friends of ours convinced us to eat there rather than a Franschhoek restaurant and we were not disappointed. The menu surprised me with its versatility, the food is excellent, great choice of wines, some a bit steeply priced though. And our waiter was really very good. What have I left out? Ambience - also top notch. We have subsequently gone to Paarl twice more to eat here and each time they are consistently good. My only complaint is that it is so far from Cape Town, but in its own way, that is part of its magic.
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  • A pleasant and cozy spot with plain, good fare. The perfect place for those who prefer a solid, rich style of cooking. Vegetarians beware!
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  • We had originally planned to go to another restaurant but Noop looked so inviting, we decided to go there instead. What a good decision! The food was excellent and the wine list varied. We really enjoyed our carpaccio, pizza and chicken-and-prawn skewer. And judging from how quickly it filled up, it looks like Im not the only one who thinks its a great choice!
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  • Noop has moved to a new, larger space in Paarls main road. The previous space was a small and cozy delight; the move has set the restaurant in a new league. The menu offers diverse options from pizzas to more serious fare with a selection of local wine estates. Food well prepared and presented. Apart from service being a tad on the slow side, the whole evening could not be faulted. Well done chef Abe and team, well be back soon! This chef and restaurant are two of the Capes hidden gems.
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  • I took my girlfriend to Noop for the first time a little while back for what was a very special occasion - we got engaged there. I had been planning it for weeks, and had looked at top restaurants in Cape Town and surrounds, and eventually settled on Noop, primarily because I could plan a surprise with the help of Carika and Abie. The evening far surpassed all of my expectations, the waiters (JJ) ware brilliantly efficient and friendly, the food was out of this world, and to top it off, my finace said yes! The restaurant has a lovely ambience, the menu is enticing which is unusual for me as I am very fussy, and we cant wait to go back again and again. We eat out alot, 2 - 3 times a week all over the Cape Peninsula. But Noop (and Kikka for breakfast/lunch) is definitely one of our favourites. The last thing that struck me is that alot of new trendy or top restaurants are owned or run by people with attitudes and huge egos, you will not find this at Noop, just warm friendly people who are genuinely pleased to have you there. 5/5 all round.
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Facilities

  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian

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