Chef Matt Manning cut his teeth under the likes of Marcus Wareing in London and locally at Top 10 restaurant La Colombe, before going on to make a name for himself as a private chef. In December, Matt set his sights on opening Grub & Vine on Bree Street, which serves refined bistro-style fare. Eat Out editor Linda Scarborough went to have a taste.
Despite being billed as ‘grub’, this is accomplished and refined cooking made with skill and sense. The menu is blissfully short, allowing you a few options per section in starter or main portions. It’s easy to spot the dishes that make your imagination sing. Expert technique and plating result in dishes with spot-on flavours and textures. The food isn’t trying to be anything too trendy or flashy – it’s just thoroughly delicious, if quite pricey.
You might be treated to a tasty amuse-bouche of arancini, before starting off with a dish of creamy burrata, heritage tomatoes and figs, which makes the most of the season’s bounty. The alternatives – root veg with vinaigrette, and charred broccoli with pear and Forest Phantom cheese – are no doubt also satisfying.
West Coast hake with peas, lentils and tender mussels, plated with some on-theme foam, is perfectly cooked and tender, and the poached and roasted baby chicken with endives and parsnip chips shows off the chef’s skills, with umami-rich flavours and textures that will have you scraping your plate. Other options include braised ham hock and lamb rump but, coming in at over R200 for a portion, the latter is not mid-week lunch fare.
The single dessert option of the day is lovely: blackberry almond cake with custard and honeycomb. Alternatively, order a platter of local cheese.
The wine list of boutique options shows a sense of humour, with sections such as ‘French plonk’, ‘juicy & crunchy’ and ‘tannins are your friend’. By-the-glass options are plentiful. You’ll want to come back to try more of the list.
Sharp, generous and on the ball. Matt might pop by to introduce one of his dishes.
Not at all like your average Bree Street café – it’s elegant, calm and smart inside, with beautiful glassware, servingware and bare tables. The open kitchen is always exciting. Grab a table by the windows for a view of this busy part of town.
Business lunches or luxurious dates.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
I’ve eaten at Grub & Vine probably 6 times since it opened, it always manages to transfer me back to the days of perfectly executed Michelin Star quality cooking, which is a given really, as Matt has cut his cloth with the likes of formidable Masterchef the Professionals Judge and 2 Michelin Star Chef Marcus Wareing.
If you can make time to eat out on a Sunday, he also serves the best Sunday roast in town.
5 stars from me.
My wife and I recently moved to the western Cape from Lambertsbaai and we decided to sign up to eat out and learn a little about the local restaurant scene as we’ve only eaten at the Top restaurants when visiting, those including The Test Kitchen, Wolfgat, La Colombe and the Chefs Warehouse collection.
So... myself, the wife and two friends recently ate at Chef Manning’s restaurant Grub & Vine last Saturday.
Simple flavors, elegantly presented, in an extremely relaxing and comfortable environment. Wine list is okay, service was well above average and we had a wonderful evening.
If that’s the normal standard there, we’ll become regulars!
Visiting another Bree Street recommendation tonight! Very exciting.
Had an amazing time enjoying the vibe of town combined with some of the most incredible food in the cbd and a great wine selection. Fantastic idea for intimate couple dates.
Had an amazing time enjoying the vibe of town combined with some of the most incredible food in the cbd and a great wine selection. Fantastic idea for intimate couple dates
To say our evening was an abysmal disaster is being kind. We had one of the most disappointing dining experience that I've had in ages. And here is a summary of everything that went wrong:
- service was incredibly slow
- the main course arrived ice cold
- 4 of the 5 patrons received their varied dishes. The waiter brought the 5th meal - 'pork belly' which we never ordered. The waiter was insistant that this is what was ordered. The 5th person is a vegetarian so there is no plausible way she would have ordered this. The maitre d then came to the table and told us that we had ordered the pork. Again we told him that we had not. It is the poorest level of service to insist the client made the mistake!
- 3 of the guests had already finished eating, the 5th meal arrived
- all 4 meals that had been served thus far were served with raw potatoes. 2 meals were eaten without the potatoes (because by this time we were starving) ; 2 meals were sent back. One meal replaced the potatoes with veg but the other meal never came back. After having to ask 3 times where the meal was and much arguing, a meal was eventually brought to the table. By this time, everyone was long finished eating
- all meals were average at best. Nothing amazing or pretty. Just plain, average tasting food
- the first glass of sparkling wine had no bubbles. The 2nd glass came from a new bottle and had bubbles
- the restaurant has no airflow and was incredibly hot. The manager reluctantly agreed to putting the aircon on. It however became hotter and hotter until we realised it was on 27 degrees, heat mode
- we raised the matters with the manager as they occurred and he said he would ask the owner, who was upstairs to come and speak to us. He never came.
We had opted for the 2 course menu and so did not plan on having dessert. The manager gave us 2 desserts as 'compensation' for what when wrong. Although we appreciate the gesture, this certainly does not fix the disaster we experienced. If we consider the cost per head, the volume of errors (absolute basics that they could get right) and the lack of taking ownership for the problems we leave feeling as if we have been ripped off blindly from our hard earned money.
I really hope they get their act together because this place won't last long if they don't step up.
we have been there and experienced some difficulties as we described in our review from march 23rd.
It didn't take hours until Matt Manning personally called me on the mobile and tried to explain the background for this, actually himself trying to prepare for leaving the country to marry his future wife. A venue which is for most people a once in a life experience. We explained to him that there is no need to hide an that all guest would more than welcome any difficulties due to this event as long as they would know about it...
In an impressive attitude, open for any input or critics, he appreciated the remarks and we are sure the team will reflect these to further grow in their dialogue with guests. As the food is already outstanding, the venue at a central point, a more interactive involvement of guest will surely make any experience even more positive.
we are looking forward to see Matt and his team develop to further successes....good luck A&T
Grub & Vine .... old location... new style and new chef... all ingredients to create success... but
There is a great sommelier who performs very well
The chef and owner spends most of his time sitting at his table and chatting with friends ....
The food is great if you get some ... but after two hours we just had our starters and with eight people in the kitchen and the chef chatting with his friends we are starving.... so either the chef gets his butts up and works or the place will end like the restaurant which was there before