(Image: Ian du Toit)
Earlier this month, a new addition was added to buzzing Long Street as the brand new Sentir Tapas and Spirit space enjoyed a soft launch and then officially opened on the 17th November.
Brought to you by the same power duo behind Cape Town’s much-loved artisan micro-bakery, this new tapas spot is quite hidden and will be missed if you’re not looking for it (that is on social media and Long Street!). With no signs outside, a quick glance around the inside of Loaves on Long will lead you to a staircase that is the only thing suggesting that something is cooking upstairs.
When we arrived upstairs we were greeted by friendly, attentive faces and the realisation that we were the only diners there.
A deep blue, white and brown wood theme is evident throughout the tiny space which feels much bigger than it really is. This is probably owing to the fact that there are just a few tables – with a mix of velvety booth-type seats and trendy ghost chairs – that leaves the wooden floor, leading to the bar, open.
A welcome addition to the space is the attaching balcony that serves as a nice spot to sit and enjoy your cocktails while waiting for your food and to watch the hustle and bustle of the street below.
While settling in, appetisers quickly arrived with the thinly sliced roasted bread hinting at co-owner and baker, Ciska Roussouw’s inventive bread-making skills.
As the restaurant has only just opened, menus are a single page, but what I loved was the way dishes were categorised into the five basic sense of tastes – salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami – plus spicy. We opted for dishes from four of the categories.
Before we decided to try out this new eatery, I saw a picture of their crystal rolls while scrolling through their Facebook page. Now, I love rice papers rolls so obviously this had to be one of the dishes I ordered and in fact, started off with. Filled with marinated prawns, cucumber, carrot, bell peppers and served with an aioli and spicy dressing, it met my every expectation.
Next up was a mean beef tartare that cannot be faulted, served with salted crispy rice noodles which gave it some crunchy texture, a quail egg yolk and pear puree.
Then we went on to smoked hake steamed dumplings with crispy Brussels sprouts, bonito flakes served with a pot of brothy miso “tea”.
We ended with a lemongrass sago pudding with coconut mango and lime, steamed ginger cake and vanilla frozen yoghurt which was delightfully moreish and ended off the experience on a high.
Like the food menu, the drinks menu is cleverly catergorised into light, bright, starry, dark and spririts with a medley of white and red wines, bubbly and spirits.
The location, lack of a sign outside and minimal advertising all come together by playing out according to the owners’ mission for the restaurant – that of which for it to be something you stumble upon accidentally, go inside and enjoy and then tell your friends about.
(Body images by Chanté Felix)