Gorgeous bubbly bar by Graham Beck
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Food24 drinks at... Gorgeous
It was only a matter of time. As soon as Graham Beck announced they were opening their own-brand fizz bar at Catharina’s restaurant on Steenberg Wine Estate, it was as if we were fated to be together. Just down the road from me, me being a total champagne slut (ok, an MCC-slut for all you pedants out there) – it was a match made in heaven and no mistake.
I was hoping to be able to review it all myself, but as soon as the other Eds got wind of it, nothing would satisfy them but that we all headed out there for an early weekend sundowners. Yes – our jobs suck indeed.
The actual bar used to be a somewhat under-used meeting room/private dining room off to one side of the main Catharina’s restaurant. I went there about 8 months ago and it was anonymous and empty. But no more! For the new Gorgeous Bubbly Bar hey’ve had chi-chi designers in such as Vivienne Westwood and Tom Dixon and no expense has been spared in terms of a lavish marble bar counter and discreet booths which look perfect for illicit rendez-vous and assignations.
It’s very small – it would be quite possible for it to be full with only 8 people in - but you can spill outside in good weather or cosy up and become buddies with someone else.
Is divine! You can only buy bubbly (apart from mineral water) but who cares – that’s what we’re there for after all. We tasted through a couple of different flights – the Non-Vintage Flight (3 wines, 50mls of each for R60), the Vintage Flight ( 3 wines, 50mls of each for R85) and then were spoilt with a sipple of the Icon Cuvee Clive which isn’t normally for tasting, just by the glass.
But hey – what’s the point of working for Food24 if you can’t get some cheeky extras from time to time? It was salty, savoury, intense and well worth R100 a glass. At this point, we felt we were moving into film star territory, drinking James Bond’s new fave fizz whilst being served by Angelina Jolie (aka Jenna) – and then the food arrived and really confirmed it.
Garth Almazan has concocted 5 delicious canapes to go with the many different fizzes – one of each costs R110, but you can buy your favourites individually. I am a sucker for a good oyster and these were right up there with the best I’ve ever had. At R18 they’re not cheap but if they maintain that quality (brought in daily from Saldanha apparently) – frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Caro loved the Asparagus and Goats Cheese Risotto Croquette (R25) whilst Cath’s favourite was the Poached Tiger Prawn with Avo Salsa (R30). As canapés, they are substantial to say the least, although not quite the size of a sharing tapas plate. But the tasting platter is more than enough for a hearty starter before heading into Catharina’s.
A special treat. I’m not questioning the value of what we had, but I can easily see that you could rack up a huge bill without trying too hard at all. I’d go here for a special occasion and I can’t think of a better venue at which to have one and have a truly memorable time. If you’re dining at Catharina’s, definitely consider it before hand or, if you’re not paying the bill, then go wild, enjoy yourself and if you can invite me too, so much the better!
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