La Mouette, Greater Than Expectation

4 10 2010

It has to be said that there’s a bit of a buzz going around Cape Town at the moment. A buzz about the tale of two fearless foodies who packed in their London lives and headed for the culinary mecca that is the Mother City, and subsequently found themselves elbow-deep in the midst of a herculean undertaking. The result of which is the fresh-faced and fabulous new restaurant, La Mouette.

I don’t know if it’s the quaint courtyard with the requisite tinkling fountain and koi pond, or the exquisitely eclectic decor, or the fact that you feel genuinely welcome before you even get to the front door – or perhaps it’s just a combination of all of these things. They lend themselves to a certain je ne sais quois* that you can’t quite put your finger on, and it’s absolutely enchanting.

Henry Vigar (British chef extraordinaire) and Mari Vermaak (proudly South African and long-time aficionado of the restaurant industry) arrived back on our shores in February this year, with little more than a hope and a prayer. They rented a place in Bantry Bay and got to work foraging for fresh opportunities. And then, as legend has it, they spotted what was once the mayor of Cape Town’s residence in the form of a beautifully noble double story building on a street corner in Sea Point, with a sign that beckoned ‘TO LET’.

To cut a long story short the owner of ‘The Mayor’s Lady’, as it is fondly known, gave them the first three months rent-free and said ‘get to work and let’s fill this place with people who love life and good food’. And they opened their doors in May this year.

And forever grateful we shall be.

Two weeks ago we found ourselves at La Mouette for the first time. A merry group of 18, all set to celebrate Rob’s birthday in style. We had our own private room upstairs, with no less than two roaring fire places and two legendary waiters, Hazel and Peter.

We tackled the 5 course spring tasting menu. At R175 per person it’s impeccably good value. Their menu is described as ‘French-inspired with Mediterranean flair’ and it certainly does full justice to its cosmopolitan foundations.

The ham, cheese and truffle croquettes were melt-in-your-mouth. Coconut broth was just as it should be. In fact, I believe Rob’s exact words were ‘on another level’, and the goats cheese pannacotta with grilled asparagus is inspired. Very handsome beef sirloin cooked to perfection came next. And they say the dessert is the exclamation mark to any meal. Henry’s ‘cappuccino’ with coffee ice cream and chocolate macaroons was a pretty spectacular way to sign off.

One of the most memorable moments of the evening had to be when our friend Jenks (as previously featured of seared tuna fame) declared with all sincerity to all and sundry

‘I want to marry these macaroons’.

And speaking of weddings, Henry and Mari are set to tie the knot in November this year. Just one more chapter in this delightful fairytale.

La Mouette, a sung-from-the-rooftops THANK YOU for hosting our merry band of birthday diners in such fine form.

The Menu
Ham, cheese and truffle croquettes
Smoked mozzarella and sundried tomato arancinni
Artichoke and potato veloute
truffle foam and béarnaise relish
Coconut broth
vegetable dim sum and sesame seeds
Goats cheese pannacotta, grilled asparagus
balsamic, quince jam and bread crisps
Salt and pepper prawn
pea puree, shaved vegetables and crispy pancetta
Roasted line fish
tomato cassoulet, baby spinach and calamari
Beef Sirloin
pommes pont neuf, watercress puree and hollandaise
Strawberry sorbet
black pepper and mint
coffee ice cream, milk foam and chocolate macaroon
Kimberley chedder with peppercorns
quince jelly and lavoche

La Mouette Restaurant
Email :
Tel : 021 433 0856
78 Regent Road

Trading Hours
Tuesday to Sunday 12.00 – 3:00
Tuesday to Saturday 7:00 – 10.30
Closed Mondays

* Je ne sais quoi – I don’t know what



2 responses

19 08 2011
laura melanie

Ive been three times this year for their winterspecial @R120 , each month a different menu and man oh man I cannot stop thinking about those croquettes.
If you and Rob are ever keen to go again please do say so its a hop skip and a jump away from us.

Lau and Charles

19 08 2011

Hi Lau! So glad you’re a fan too, we must definitely go before we leave CT. I’ll set something up in the next couple of weeks. Have a happy weekend and thanks again for having us last weekend and making it such a fab time x

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