Bootlegger Cafe & Grill (BCG) in Constantia is not your usual Bootlegger coffee shop; it features great, café-style dishes created by founder Pieter Bloem in collaboration with Eric Bulpitt of 2017 Top 10 nominee FABER in Paarl, where he will still head up the kitchen. This more casual menu comes after Eric’s run of stints at top fine-dining contenders The Restaurant at Newton Johnson in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and The Roundhouse in Camps Bay.
Best for: Sociable drinks at the NY-style brass bar or an upmarket feast on the leaf-shaded terrace
Serves: Accessible and delicious bistro winners like steaks, charcoal-fired sides, fresh salads and pizzas
Parking: Ample parking in the lot outside
Star rating: Food and drinks 4, ambience 4, service 5
In addition to offering the greatest hits from Bootlegger’s other stores, the ante has been upped at BCG with magnificent steaks, the freshest salads and pizzas from the showpiece oven, which dominates the kitchen with its tiled dome. The salmon trout salad is a generous and delicious offering and a great way to start, or go with the excellent chicken liver parfait with crunchy sourdough toast. The onion tarte tatin would not be out of place in any Parisian bistro, with rich and crunchy pastry holding a delicious sweet baked onion just managing to stay together.
Try inventive sides from the charcoal oven, like super-fresh wood-fired baby marrows, corn on the cob and baked sweet potato with crème fraiche – all irresistible. Various steak cuts and Elgin free-range chicken with peri peri or chimichurri are prepared in the Spanish-made Pira charcoal oven, which gives them that extra oomph so desirable for carnivores.
To round off the meal, the Granny Smith apple fritters with a heavenly rich salted caramel sauce and the doughnuts with cinnamon sugar and vanilla custard are the best comfort puds you may have tasted in many years. Way beyond anything grandma ever made – with respect!
The wine list has been put together by owner Pieter Bloem and well-known sommelier Higgo Jacobs, and certainly has some treasures from the area and further afield. It wouldn’t be Constantia without some fancy cocktails to take up the slack, and one or two craft beers to help things along. Should you wish to BYO, there’s no corkage fee for the first bottle and thereafter it’s R60 per bottle.
Friendly and knowledgeable service from a good-looking young crew. None of that “I’ll find out” when questioned: they have the answers at their fingertips.
BCG is delightful outside on the terrace, where you can watch the ebb and flow of the upmarket crowd, plus a cosy New-York-style interior and a great bar at which to unwind before and after your feast. It’s just the place to meet for a congenial glass of something after a busy day making money.
Booking is necessary, especially if you’d like a seat on the terrace.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
Have you visited Bootlegger Café & Grill in Constantia? Let us know what you thought with a quick review. For each review you spot, we pledge a meal to a hungry child through Rise Against Hunger SA. Write a review now.