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. Eat Out critic Rupesh Kassen visit La Tête for a first taste.
Serves: Nose-to-tail bistro cuisine
Cost: Average main course is R165; R55 for starters
Parking: It’s at the bottom of Bree Street, so you might nab a paid-for bay if you’re lucky (R16 per hour)
Star rating: Food 4, service 3, ambience 3
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.
La Tête‘s 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 minimalist 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.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.