New Restaurants in (and around) Cape Town

The Pot Luck Club, Old Biscuit Mill

Luke Dale Roberts of the Test Kitchen (above) has just opened his latest venture, The Pot Luck Club, situated in a contemporary art gallery (this month you can see works by Peter Eastman). The menu consists of a variety of ‘small plates’, tapas-style, showcasing the best new creations by Luke and his talented team. Think mini spiced fish tacos, duck spring rolls and ‘foie gras served tableside’. Open for dinner 6pm to 10.30pm. 021 447 2337

Societi Brasserie, Tokai
I happened to be one of the very first patrons banging down the door when Societi opened the Brasserie in Tokai. In keeping with Societi Bistro in Gardens, the menu is a feast of local, seasonal produce. My girlfriends and I had the West Coast  Mussels Mariniere with frites (skinny French fries) and garlic aioli, the freshest seared tuna salad, Pea and Mint risotto and possibly the best crême brulée I’ve ever tasted. It’s a happy, comfortable space with wood beams, exposed brick walls and hints of steel. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday. 021 712 1363

Clarkes Bar & Dining Room, Bree Street

Clarkes strangely closed after just 2 weeks of opening in December 2011 ‘what with our suppliers closing for many of the days, all the public holidays and all the chaos that has surrounded us since we opened’… not good enough if you want my honest opinion… but I’m still keen to give this spot a try when they re-open on 9th Januray. They’ve been pretty honest with all the opening hiccups and look set to take 2012 by the horns. So I’m willing to give it a try – and it’s right near the office. 133 Bree Street, 021 424 7648

The Bungalow Restaurant & Lounge, Clifton
Caprice moves to Clifton… The Bungalow is where you’ll find bronzed bodies and designer swimwear at the dinner table. Not really my bag I have to say, but the setting is spectacular. Run by the Paranga Group (The Kove, Pepenero, Zenzero), it’s the perfect spot for a cocktail followed champagne and oysters. The menu is as glamorous as the patrons: sautéed Norwegian salmon, Coconut tempura prawns with dipping sauce, Crayfish tails and Pan-fried foie gras. It may just be worth donning my heels… 021 438 5600

The Spice Route Restaurant, Paarl
One of my all-time favourite wines is the Spice Route Viognier, so I’m just about ready to drive all the way out to the new Spice Route restaurant for a taste of it. Both the wine and the restaurant are the brainchild of Charles Back (of Fairview). Situated on the Suid-Agter-Paarl road at De Leuwenjagt farm, it’s open Sunday to Thursday 11:00am-6:00pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00am-8:30pm.On the menu you’ll find spice-inspired dishes such as five-spice pork belly served on Madagascar chocolate lentil salad and coffee-butter chicken – a take on the traditional Indian butter chicken served with rice pilaf, fresh roti and espresso foam. I haven’t been here yet, but it will be a happy stop on my next wine route (would love to hear if you’ve tried it…).

The Mussel Bar, Camps Bay
With input from chef Bertus Basson of Overture, the Mussel Bar is already off to a roaring start. They do two things very well: fresh mussels (from Saldhana Bay) and beer (artisinal). The mussels come in 500g or 1kg portions and are served with thick hand-cut chips, herb aioli and crusty bread. It’s all you need after a day on the beach, really. 021 438 4612

The Kitchen at Maison Estate, Franschhoek

Situated in a converted farm-style cottage you’ll find The Kitchen and The Tasting Room at Maison Wine Estate (owned by Chris Weylandt of Weylandts). On the menu you’ll find the likes of Franshhoek trout (the best kind) with watercress, asparagus and chilli-lime dressing; gnocchi with ricotta, almonds and fennel; and lamb loin with chickpeas, lemon atchar and cumin. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. 021 876 2116.

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