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Riverine Rabbit

Riverine Rabbit
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Cost
Three-course set menu R395; Reduced tasting menu R650; Tasting menu R895
Ambience
Groups, Special occasions
Food
Modern
Payment
Mastercard, Snapscan, Visa
Corkage
R85

Critic's review

Richard Holmes

Chef Ash Heeger has pulled off an impressive reinvention of both the space and the menu at her stylish Church Street restaurant.

Food
With a new name and new look for her restaurant, it’s only fitting that chef Ash Heeger has introduced a brand-new menu to this slick new space in the centre of Cape Town.

Diners are spoilt for choice, with a trio of menus from which to choose. At its simplest – and most affordable – you’ll find a three-course menu, with a handful of options per course. That ramps up to the full tasting menu of nine courses, with wine pairings per plate if you choose. If you have the time and funds, it’s a fine evening out.

On the starters the delicate, well-balanced Burnt Leek in brown butter, here served with tarragon béarnaise and hazelnuts, should be top of your list. Prefer something meaty? The honey-cured beef is outstanding, a piquant Hollandaise on the side perfectly balancing the richness of the meat. It’s a perfect foil for the award-winning Lismore Chardonnay from the Overberg.

Ash puts plenty of emphasis on sustainability, so main courses look to the likes of sea bream with mussels, kombu and fresh greens; or lamb with legumes and wild herbs. Vegetarians will be more than happy with the mushroom pithivier.

If you’re lucky at lunchtime, the superb Fired Mussels with moreish cider butter sauce will be on the good-value prix fixe menu. Topped with crunchy wild greens and crusty bread to mop up the sauce, it’s a simple plate that shows off the depth of talent in the kitchen.

Desserts are no less inventive, and chocolate fans will love the Koffie dessert, with its moist beer cake topped with an Amarula crème fraîche, cocoa nibs and luscious chocolate ice cream.

Drinks
A small, but carefully chosen wine list is focused largely on respected, boundary-breaking boutique producers. Prices are fair and there’s a good choice by the glass, alongside a handful of bespoke cocktails and craft spirits.

Service
After some opening-night hiccups, the team seems to have quickly settled into a rhythm. Service is warm and engaging, with staff well versed in the menu. Riverine Rabbit is also now a sister-act, with Ash’s sister Mandy keeping a steady hand on the front-of-house.

Ambience
Forget the dark and moody tones of the erstwhile ASH restaurant. The revamped space is lighter and brighter than its previous incarnation, with art on the walls and greenery to soften the edges. The handful of tables on the pavement terrace will be idyllic on warm summer nights.

(October 2018)

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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User reviews

  • If there were 6 stars available, I'd tick every one of them. The Riverine Rabit absolutely knocked the ball out of the park, and managed to surpass every expectation I once had. The waiters were attentive and great at making you feel right at home. They know the intricacies of all the dishes as well as their preparation processes. Definitely my new FAVORITE restaurant in Cape Town. Thanks again to the incredible team that made my friends birthday unforgettable.
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  • My wife and I selected the reduced tasting menu and wine pairing last night. it was an amazing experience that surpassed our expectations. Each course is carefully considered and paired perfectly with a glass of wine. Between the two of us we covered every item on the reduced menu. We loved it and would strongly recommend it as a “MUST DO” for all of our friends. Great service, great environment, world class cuisine!
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  • I'm from the US and have eaten at a lot of nice places during my travels. I was very impressed with the creativity, execution, and skill of the chef and kitchen staff. The servers made me feel very welcome and were very knowledgeable about the meal. Given the place has not been open that long, it was very impressive how smoothly the evening went. I had the nine course with wine; such an enjoyable meal. It was the highlight of my very short visit to Cape Town.
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  • Definitely one of my top five favorite tasting menus paired with wine. Being from New York, this menu gives you the best bang for your buck. It’s unique and different. Full of amazing flavors! The service is also phenomenal! Held in a very cute simple atmosphere. I’d highly recommend!
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  • We had the most delicious three-course meal at Ash’s new restaurant today. Every single bit of the food on our plates was outstanding. This restaurant really deserves to be supported. It can be compared with the very best in the country. Our dishes included asparagus, curried octopus and beetroot salad for starters. Duck and fish for mains and summer pudding for deserts. Wine was the outstanding Klein Constantia Sauvignon blanc Metis. As a bonus the new decor creates a real modern city atmosphere.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Dinner
  • Dog-friendly
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking

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