Cape Town is known for its almost endless list of fabulous restaurants – with everything from fine dining destinations to hot and trendy hangouts, travelers and locals are spoiled for choice in the Mother City. But, amongst all the marvelous eateries you will also find a rather generous dash of pretension. New restaurants pop up in Cape Town ever day, but very few of these ‘must-visit’ hot spots live up to the hype, leaving diners begging for somewhere to escape from all the nonsense. Which brings me to Reverie Social Table – a truly unique Cape Town dining experience. If you’re tired of the pretentious restaurant scene in Cape Town then you’re going to love this laid-back spot. It’s a breath of fresh air in a stuffy Cape Town restaurant scene and is just what Capetonians need to break the cliques and get talking.
The brainchild of Chef Julia Hattingh (previously of Holden Manz), Reverie Social Table in Observatory is a proudly South African eatery with a difference. Unlike most restaurants in the Mother City, Reverie is all about engaging with the people you didn’t show up with. The restaurant has just one 18-seater table and welcomes everyone from the lone traveler to groups of friends to take a seat, put away their cell-phones and get to know each other over a delicious meal. It’s quite genius really, what better way is there to make new friends and socialise with strangers than over food? Food brings people together and I love that Julia Hattingh is setting out to break those cliques that Capetonians are often criticized for.
And, the great news is that there’s loads to talk about when it comes to Chef Hattingh’s food. Each evening, Chef Hattingh will welcome guests to enjoy a five-course meal exclusively created for them, and accompanied by carefully selected wines. Dinner is served from Monday to Saturday between 19:00 and 23:00 and while you’re in her space, Chef Hattingh serves you as if you were her friends and family. I got the chance to sample some of the food over a relaxed dinner with 17 other strangers and absolutely loved every minute of it. We dined on delights like Franschhoek Trout (with black Sesame paste, orange blossom and strawberry vinaigrette), Warm Spicy Lentil and Bulgur Wheat Salad, and Braised Beef Flat Rib (with plums marinated in bone marrow fat and rice wine vinegar) while sipping on a selection of unique wines from Black Elephants Wine in Franschhoek. Each and every dish we were served on the night was so unique and refreshing and free from the over-the-top, pretentious foodie vibes we are used to here in Cape Town.
It’s hard to pick a favourite dish of the night because every bite was like a party in my mouth, but special mention must go to the Franschhoek Trout starter, Confit Pork Cheek (served with lemon achar and curry vinaigrette on the side) and the White Chocolate Pannacotta (with toffee apple puree, walnut oil and sunflower seeds). I was amazed at how the pork cheek simply melted in my mouth after every bite and pairing it with the vinaigrette created a unique taste sensation. As for the Pannacotta, I really hope you get to try this dessert when you go because it was the best Pannacotta I have ever had the pleasure of unashamedly shoveling into my pie hole. Chef Hattingh paired it with a side of artisan blue cheese (yes, that’s right cheese!), which was pure genius! This dessert left me wanting more but alas, stealing other people’s desserts when they aren’t looking is frowned upon.
But wait there’s more! Reverie Social Table is also open during the day! Every morning, Monday to Saturday from 11:00 – 15:00, the eatery welcomes you to relax, make use of the free WiFi and tuck into whatever has inspired Chef Hattingh that morning. Morning coffee will be served from 11:00 and lunch from 12:00. For dinner, booking is essential and both reservations and payment can be made online – which means there’s no need to fumble over the bill after your meal. Each person will pay R700 for a five-course meal, including paired wines (excluding gratuity). Credit card facilities are also available at the venue should you choose to add any extras to your meal on the night.
You can find Reverie Social Table at 226A Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town. For more information on the restaurant visit the Reverie Social Table website or say hi to Reverie Social Table on Facebook.
Lead image credit: Claire Gunn
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.