I’ll admit it; when you think The Cullinan Hotel, you think fancy schmancy. In fact, the words; “too rich for my blood” come to mind. But, truth be told, the beautiful Cape Town hotel isn’t as elitist as you might think and it certainly isn’t out of budget for ordinary Capetonians who like to splurge a little on food and drinks. How do I know this? Because I was recently invited to check out the new and oh-so-fabulous #StellaSessions at Southern Sun The Cullinan Stella Café & Bar and was blown away by how festive and welcoming the joint is. It’s the perfect choice for after-work drinks on Fridays or a delicious tapas dinner any night of the week and is now officially on my list of go-to spots for this summer.
First off, we need to talk about Stella’s regular Friday #StellaSessions. Trust me, there is no other place to be on a Friday evening in Cape Town than at Stella. This summer locals and hotel guests can pop into the poolside café and bar after work every Friday from 17:00 – 19:00 to enjoy bottomless bubbly, funky tunes, and a great vibe around the pool for just R140 per person! And, I’m not talking just any bubbly here, I’m talking the good stuff, MCC to be exact. The team at Stella will be teaming up with very best local Methode Cap Classique producers in South Africa over the summer and I personally can’t wait to try all their wares. The night I paid a visit we were treated to the delicious Simonsig MCC and I can assure we got our money’s worth! The waiters aren’t shy with the champers and are always on-hand for refills. The offer will be valid from now until 16 December 2016 and will pick up again from 13 January – 26 May 2017. If you’re keen to pop in for the bubbly special then make sure you book your table as this is sure to become a super popular choice – click here for more information.
Once the bubbly train was over at 19:00 we decided to stay on for dinner and try the new Stella tapas menu. The new menu is inspired by local flavours and offers something a little bit different from the other tapas spots in Cape Town. Cape Malay flavours are a huge part of the menu with delights like Bo Kaap Bobotie Spring Roll (served with Lime Pickle sauce – small R40 | large R70), Malay Braised Sausage with roti & sambals (small R45 | Large R80), and Dahl Curry with Atchar sweet potato (small R50 | large R95) featuring prominently on the menu. The Bo Kaap Bobotie Spring Rolls were one of my favourites from the Cape flavours portion of the menu. The bobotie centre was packed full of flavour and each bite brought back childhood memories of growing up in Cape Town (if you didn’t grow up in Cape Town, then these spring rolls will give you a good idea of what you missed out on).
We also got the chance to try the Salt & Pepper Squid (with Squid Ink Rice – small R45 | large R80), Cured Barbeque Salmon (with Lemon Pepper Crème Fraîche – small R60 | large R120), and the Chicken & Corn Chowder served with tortilla toast and corn Salsa (small R50 | large R90). My favourite of this lot was definitely the Salt & Pepper Squid and the Chicken & Corn Chowder. Both dishes were beautifully flavoured and were a great option to share with a group of people. In fact, the whole tapas menu is brilliantly executed and I love that the tapas options come in both small and large portions so you can cater for larger groups or hungrier tummies. We ordered small portions of everything on the menu (except the spring rolls) and were pleasantly surprised at the portion sizes. Many tapas spots take the ‘small plates’ idea too literally and give you nothing more than a bite at most but I found Stella to be quite generous with serving sizes.
In addition to the delicious grub, Stella also offers a fabulous cocktail menu. There are loads of great cocktails to try including the Elderflower G&T to share (Inverocche Verdant, elderflower, lime, tonic and soda – R110), the Negroni (Beefeater Gin, Martini Rosso and Campari – R55), and the authentic Caipirinha (Ypioca Cachaca and lime – R60). The G&T was arguably the big winner of the night and proved to be delightfully refreshing and just the right amount of sweet. The drink is served in a bottle along with two glasses so you can decided to enjoy it all by yourself or share it with a mate.
Our party of four had the most wonderful time chatting the night away at Stella and we only ended up leaving the spot at 23:00 that night. We could chalk it up to great company but credit must also go to The Cullinan for creating such an incredibly welcoming spot with friendly staff, great food, and a vibey atmosphere. If you’re planning on visiting soon then make sure you get comfortable because chances are you won’t want to leave in a hurry!
To book your table at Stella at Southern Sun The Cullinan, contact 021 415 4000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website for more information.
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.