Pier’s seaside location may be a departure from the pastoral setting of its sister restaurants in the La Colombe group, but it shares all the other hallmarks of these beloved dining experiences: excellent service, innovative dishes and a guaranteed masterpiece of a meal. Chef John Norris-Rogers, a long-standing member of the group and Eat Out’s Chef of the Year for 2022, is at the helm of this V&A Waterfront darling. With complexity, skill and innovation on this level, it makes sense that there is no à la carte at Pier. Rather, diners are treated to either a seasonal lunchtime special menu or the full Chef’s Experience (both are also available as vegetarian). Seafood is, naturally, the star of this show, but we’re certainly not talking about fried fish and chips here. Instead, think West Coast oysters poached tableside in MCC; caviar on a bed of silky-smooth cauliflower purée, with marigold petals; and langoustine-filled tortellini with succulent pork jowl, spiced kimchi and a saffron-and-coconut velouté. Even the bread course – beer-crusted sourdough served with curried hake, smoked mussel pâté and an umami bomb of whipped butter topped with toasted yeast and sesame – is something to write home about. At R1995 for the dinnertime Chef’s Experience (before wine pairing), Pier is on the more expensive side of the Western Cape dining scene, but it has the goods to back up the price. The lunchtime Chef’s Experience comes in at a slightly more affordable R1595 per person, and the nine-course seasonal lunch special at R1195.
“Extensive” almost doesn’t cut it as a descriptor for Pier’s wine list. It includes plenty of choice in the usual categories, including MCC and Champagne. Then there’s a section for “interesting” reds and whites, followed by another list of fine and rare gems (these are, unfortunately but understandably, available only by the bottle). There’s a good selection of whisky, bourbon, brandy and Cognac, or you could opt for a Pier speciality cocktail – try the toasted sesame sour, which is creamy, slightly sweet and utterly delicious.
It almost goes without saying that the service at Pier is attentive, friendly and highly knowledgeable. If you’ve come to enjoy some of La Colombe’s signature tableside theatrics – classic cheese trolley, anyone? – you’ll be pleased to know these are in evidence at Pier too.
It doesn’t get more classic V&A then a whitewashed building with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the twinkling Victoria Basin. Pared-back decor allows the view to take centre-stage, though you’ll be hard-pressed to tear your eyes away from the table as each imaginatively presented plate arrives. The serving vessels alone could be an art exhibition.
Please note: Pier has a strict no-under-10s policy.