With my trip to New York on the horizon, I’m thinking more and more of the foodie escapades I’ll get up to in the Big Apple.
Bistro’s are one the city’s staples, but Cape Town is not bereft of bistro’s and their broody and comfy vibes.
Today’s foodie escapade took us to: Societi Bistro.
When it comes to a bistro, I very much have the exact expectation of something between a neighborhood institution bar & lounge, and an intimate family-run restaurant.
Doing my job for me, Societi Bistro articulates what exactly bistro’s are, and where they thrive in its philosophy:
“A bistro is, in its original Parisian incarnation, a small restaurant serving simple meals in a modest setting. Bistros were defined mostly by the foods they served: French home-style cooking, and slow-cooked foods. As time has progressed, the definition of bistros has evolved to encapsulate the fact that they are establishments that serve rural food in an urban setting, welcoming more cuisines than just French. We echo this very homely environment by serving un-garnished humble fare in our warm moody-lit space. Our guests, like us, are festive, casual and, like the Parisian children of the revolution, occasionally exuberant! We love fine dining, but that is simply not what we are about.”
I got the opportunity to take a culinary Tour Through France, as the bistro hosted their ninth season of this experience, which would see diners this week, indulge in the region of Pays de la Louire in three-courses. The decor of the bistro may seem somewhere between France and Italy, but this menu left me with no illusions about where my taste buds were headed.
We began with something that kind of threw me: Warm Oysters à la Poitou-Charentes, with vegetables and light velouté.
It was a phenomenal start to the taste adventure.
By the time the night came to a close, I was convinced I could have gorged myself on the oysters, as if they were mains. The sauce and vegetables lent originality and fulfilling flavor to the otherwise overrated seafood.
The main of the day, was Pork with Prunes, pommes Anna and green beans.
I think the Oysters were such a big start with perfectly melded flavors and textures, that I was left lethargic for the main dish – which turned out a bit lackluster. Speaking with my fellow diner of the night, we commiserated about how – in keeping with the French motif of the set menu – the brandy sauce, should have maybe been Cognac.
The pork was beautifully aged, as is evident in its texture; having just the right amount of tenderness to make for ideal morsels, while the pommes Anna were on the right side of warm, comfort food – leaving me wanting a bowl more.
Considering the alcohol in the mains sauce, perhaps an exploration into the main dish being made with brandy and apricots, might be in order(Brandy + Apricots = Mouth Magic). The prunes were a bit much for me, but were the key to adding taste to the pork.
Not to leave its diners less than satisfied, Societi Bistro offered up a 150g Fillet au Poivre with wilted spinach, hand cut chips, Madagascan green peppercorns, brandy, and cream sauce.
This was a satisfying dish.
It was straight-forward and wholesome; its peppercorn packing a punch which complemented the Constantia Royale Sauvignon Blanc I was sipping.
Apple Ice Cream with vanilla and Cointreau and a Chocolate Nemesis Cake.
The ice cream is worthy of mass production, while I’m making a note of the chocolate cake’s maker for my wedding one day. I have NEVER encountered such a moist and perfectly sweet chocolate cake. The chocolate clung to my mouth, sweet-tooth, heart and soul, and I need more!
Probably the funniest thing of the night, was the waiter saying “Most people work for the money. I work here for the cake”.
A solid dining option for filling your belly. With Cape Town’s pricey dining options, Societi Bistro is an affordable choice for you and your whole family.
It get’s an 7/10.
What about the health nuts & vegetarians?
The menu at Societi Bisto, is healthy in its ingredient choices.
Their dishes are made “with the finest, locally-sourced, organic ingredients. One of the few exceptions is our prawns which are procured from the north Indian Ocean, and are therefore frozen. For fresh meats, fish and seafood, however, we maintain the cold chain right up to the point of preparation to ensure the freshness of your meal, which if ordered medium-rare or less, will be cold in the centre. Our beef is aged for approximately 21 days, allowing the meat to drain, thus improving the tenderness and enriching the flavour of your steak.”
If you have some off-menu dietary disclaimer/requirement like being a vegetarian, or are seeking something gluten-free, Societi Bistro need only get communication from you atleast 48 hours in advance, and they’ll do their best to accommodate your needs.
What of the drinks & booze?
If you’re a wine-lover, then head to Societi Bistro. However brief their wine menu may be, the options available include some of the smoothest white wines I’ve ever sampled (…and I sample quite a bit!)
Don’t hope for much, if you are a cocktail lover. There are soft drinks, juice and water for the non-boozers.
Societi Bistro get’s an all-round 7/10.
50 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa, 8005
(Lunch & Dinner)
Tel: (+27)021 424 2100