There have been whispers of the death of Cape Town’s infamous tourist attraction Long Street. Strange mutterings of its descent into nightlife obscurity, were whispered in the air…but I’ve discovered something of a treasure within Long Streets oldest building!
Today’s foodie escapades take me to the lower end of the Cape Town central business district, and into a bespoke space held immaculately suspended amid a landscape of dreary brown. Welcome, to Sentir Tapas & Spirit Space.
“Sentir which means ‘to sense, to feel, taste and smell’ captures the multi-sensorial experience we want for our guests. It’s an expression of all the things we love and want to share – contemporary food, international fusion, wine and design. Each item on the menu, each piece of furniture was carefully considered – reflecting our stories, our travels and heritage.” – Rickma Coxon (2017. Eatout.co.za)
With a poignant back story of enduring childhood friendships, passion, money and sacrifice(deserving of its own film adaptation, at least), Sentir Tapas & Spirit Space was opened in November of 2017.
Close friends Rickma Coxon and Ciska Roussouw took a seasoned chefs dream, sprinkled the pragmatic optimism & style of a lawyer, and helped rebirth the 2nd coming of Long Streets foodie relevance.
Ciska is known as the head baker and current co-owner of renowned bakery ‘Loaves on Long’; but she’s also a chef celebrated for her conceptualization and skill in creating small plates of the most tasteful food, garnished with simple flair.
Rickma has a lifetime of foodie education lurking beneath the folds of her lawyer armour. Her passion for food, decor & the eponymous Cape Town lifestyle, manifest most vividly within the transformed and carefully curated space above ‘Loaves on Long’.
Sentir looks like the intimate space you want to relax in when you have to stop being a reclusive homebody and “get some fresh air”, but you still want to maintain a particular level of comfort and easy sophistication worthy of an Instagram brag.
The interior is a combination of bronze lighting fixtures, soft midnight blue velvet seating, treated wooden floors, ‘ghost’ chairs, pops of color in the paintings curated to the towering walls, and so much more to immerse yourself in.
I arrived at the golden hour, and got to soak in Sentir’s Space in a most tranquil time. Despite the hustle and bustle of Long Street, the restaurant is exempt from its rush, and I loved that.
“…but what of the food Ollie?”
I gave the chef carte blanche to amaze me, with no substitutions necessary.
She took it to heart; and Ciska & her team proceeded to create the most delectable fine dining Tapas to titillate & challenge my senses.
First to my table was the restaurants complimentary starter, Melva Toast.
It is a testament to Ciska’s skills that the starter was interesting with its melt-in-your-mouth thickness & texture, rather than being Rusk-like.
Next up was fresh Saldana Bay Oysters with frozen watermelon foam, diced tomatoes, shallots, cucumbers, and capers.
This was the most interesting dish I’ve ever tried. Most people hate Oysters for their texture, but visit Sentir and you wont change your perception on the texture, because you’ll be distracted with flavors. The chef adds something that entirely mutes your brains overthinking self, in order to activate your taste-buds.
Not to be outdone by lofty Oysters, something spicy followed.
Curried Lentils were next to my fine dining experience, with Sentir’s particular offering involving: candied carrots, radish, Sichuan pepper paper, ginger, and cured duck breast proscuitto.
This is the dish you’d want as a soupy starter or winter main. It filled what needed filling – my black hole of a soul…and my tummy! I love it for its spicy attitude.
Ever had Veggie chips with chilli sipping sauce and coriander dressing?
It’s an oven roasted snack with various purees, I wish I could replicate at home. It would make my movie marathon’s WAY more healthy.
I’ve never come across Pork Terinne in my whole food-filled life, but I got a taste of this here Umami…and I’m never going back.
It was a mushroom-dusted hearty dish (with additions like pistachio nuts, garlic puree, crisp kale and baby onions) without the excess fulfillment and subsequent bloating, of a full plate.
The marinated Crystal Prawn Rolls were rolled up with cucumber, carrot, bell peppers, and were served with aioli, and spicy dressing.
I had so much fun swirling the rolls around my plate before devouring them with gusto.
This was, inarguably, the most literally refreshing dish after the oysters. It did a palate cleanse, filled my tummy, and surprised me with a spicy tart but sausy finish.
Last but not least, I was treated to a dramatic Smoked Tomato & Aubergine Tartlet – which was a shock to my senses.
I think I only dig smoky things in meat. Bummer!
The crispy puff pastry was a dream to bite into however; while dimension was added to the dish’s overall complexity, with the spiced tomato sauce and fried basil.
Like I was going to leave without something sweet to dream about.
Sentir has this Dark Chooclate Pot De Creme, laden with goji & cocoa nib crumble, coffee granita, and cream.
I wish I could shake this dessert up with a Frappuccino version, so I have options on ways to enjoy it even more than I did (moans may have been heard).
A solid dining option for the day time & night. Don’t rush the experience.
Enjoy the simplicity of the restaurant, and the complexity of its tapas taste adventure.
I’m really liking this spot guys, and especially because you’ll get way better table service here than at the other few Tapas joints in Cape Town currently under intense scrutiny for racial incidences.
It get’s an 9/10
What about the health nuts & vegetarians?
The menu at Sentir Tapas & Spirit Space is healthy in its ingredient choices, but consult their menu for a true idea of how accommodating they are for vegetarians.
What of the drinks & booze?
There was water, and then there was wine. There was bubbly, and a world of liquid gulpability (yeah, that’s a word!) buried behind the bar.
Sentir knows how to get the spirits going folks.
You don’t have to send your weak drink back. The bartender is a connoisseur and authority in spirit concoctions (no real magic involved), and will advise you on ideal pairings and “holymolyisthatgood” Spirits.
I went in on their Drifter Gin & Tonic, on tap.
“G & T on tap? What?”
Yaaasssss! Drink up.
*P.S: There are soft drinks, juice and water for the non-boozers.
Sentir Tapas & Spirit Space get’s an all-round 9/10.
Sentir Tapas & Spirit Space
Wednesday – Saturday: 16h00 – 22h30
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