Last Wednesday evening, yes after a major day of foraging and memorable food, I attended another event, this time the opening of Reverie: the social table, in Observatory. The concept behind Reverie was developed by bright young chef Julia Hattingh, whose culinary background is an impressive one. Hattingh graduated from Meerendal Hospitality Academy in Durbanville in 2006, before travelling Europe and working in two Michelin Star restaurants. She has also headed the kitchen at Holden Manz, and is now fully equipped to take on her own table d’hôte style eatery that encompasses one large table encouraging guests to interact with one another.
Towards the end of the main road, one block was lit up, and Reverie’s warm light invited me in, setting the tone for a comfortable, yet sophisticated night ahead. The Black Elephant Brut welcomed me through the door, an MCC I have only had once previously. The small brand is only about two years old, but the taste of these premium wines indicates an undeniable craft that has been perfected by Jacques, the farm’s winemaker. Each wine also has a unique and intricate label, making each bottle look vastly different from the rest.
After chatting to the owners of Black Elephant, the entire group was ushered to take their seats at the long table, where homemade bread was served. This was followed by the starter Franschhoek trout with strawberry and samphire, black sesame paste with roe and radish micros and strawberry and orange blossom purée. This dish embodied a subtlety in all its flavours so no one over-powered the other. It was light, fresh and the black sesame added a richness to the dish.
Up next of our four course meal was a sharing salad with spinach, spring onion, nasturtiums, sprouts and coriander micros. This was accompanied by curried lemon dressing and the softest confit of pork cheek. The pork really stood out here. Confit requires much patience and Julia appears to have mastered this art, no doubt from her French background in training.
The confit was paired with my favourite wine of the night; a white blend called Timothy White, made up of Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier and matured for four months in French Oak Barrels.
Our main course, was most certainly the highlight of the savoury dishes. Dry aged beef flat-rib braised in rice wine vinegar with a Sauce of plums cooked in bone marrow, and served with baby beetroot and braised spring onion. It was the flakiest beef, that fell apart with every prod of my fork. This dish again emphasised the expertise of Julia’s cooking. She has her traditional methods of French cooking down to a T and combines this with a South African flavouring to her dishes. Paired with this dish was a wine especially produced for the evening, The Back Roads, Grenache Noir 2014.
Reverie offers an entirely new concept to the Cape Town area, a social dining experience that encourages our cliquey selves to get out of the bubble. I myself was surrounded by amusing people who I might not have met had I not sat down at the social table. On top of the collective dining experience, Julia’s food is a unique blend of her worldly cooking skills and travelled experiences. Each dish is nurtured and prudently cared for as is evident in her inventive flavouring and quality of cooking.
To book a spot at the social table go to the Reverie website. A booking is charged at R700 per person and includes a 5 course meal with wine pairing.
Reverie is also open for lunch for a plate du jour and coffee during the day.
Follow Reverie on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Ceili McGeever