Cape Town Foodie Escapades: Bilboa Restaurant Review

Maybe I’m an outlier in more than one way.

I seem to be one of the few people who get a wonderful dining experience when I deign to visit Cape Town’s most celebrated luxury strip: Camps Bay.

I’ve reclined on luxurious seats while having overpriced quality food, and I have sipped on a wealth of fine wines and watered-down cocktails. My complaints have been few and far between for the most part, because the company I keep – or the service at the establishment – has more than made up for the lack of.

Today’s foodie escapade, has a Winter Menu that brings opulent fine dining dishes to you – budget-friendly, absent in overtly fancy airs, and tasty as hell!

You might get winded trying to find Lamb Gozleme or Squid around Cape Town this winter, and especially at these prices.

Say hello to one of Kove Collection’s star establishments: Bilboa Restaurant.

You’ve got to commend an eatery that immediately latches onto the food culture in Cape Town, and adapts accordingly.

Bilboa – a gorgeous and chic upmarket restaurant with a menu firmly rooted in Mediterranean-style cuisine – recognizes the merit of a Prix Fixe (fixed price) Winter Menu, in a season when you’d have an easier time prying teeth from a crocodile, than getting Capetonians to exit their homes in grim weather.

In Summer, Camps Bay presents a lively, radiant and expansive luxe ‘scape for visitors; but in winter, it remains beautiful insofar as you can appreciate it somewhere warm. Bilboa is a beacon of warmth amid the shuttered strip – inviting with its pulsating heat.

Even with a chill in the air, one could settle along Bilboa’s balustrade terrace, for a bite.

Enter; and you’re likely to bemoan every interior design choice in your own home, because this open-plan space with golden pillars(like owmygosh! how even?!) is home to the rich, comfortable and warm decor selections, we wish could occupy our homes.

Surely anything eaten here has to go down as well as a home-cooked meal, right?

My Meal

I love the idea of a two-course meal for R195 (some people don’t like dessert or starters), or a three-course menu, for a fixed price of R250 a person.

It began with Baby Squid – fried, and seasoned with salt, black pepper & chorizo Aioli.

If you’re starved, it’s a good starter – a little on the oily side if you’re watching your calorie intakes. I clearly was not, since I decimated everything on that plate.

I really liked the Lamb Gozleme Bilboa prepared as another starter, complete with: spinach, feta, mint, sumac, cumin, pine nuts and flatbread. It was as spicy and heady, as it was filling. If you’re looking for something to quickly satisfy you, this is the one.

Unequivocally, the most incredible dish of the night, is not on the Winter Menu, but is entirely worth the R105.00c deviation: Crispy Prawns with preserved lemon & chili pepper.

I can’t begin to tell you how utterly shocking, sublime & memorable, eating these prawns is.

When have you ever eaten prawn shells, hmmm?

The unique way the prawns are cooked here, renders their entire persons edible. The only way I could come close to describing the taste, is that: it is everything good about fresh seafood, and is made extraordinary by the sweet, tangy, and wholesome flavor you get from consuming the entire crispy prawn.

My friend and I also tried the Short Rib, made with: Ras El Hanout, Yogurt, Pine Nuts, Pistachio, Mint, Coriander & Flatbread; as well as the Chicken with rice pilaf, Za’atar, Mint, Coriander, Lemon, Chickpeas, Golden Raisins & Dukkah.

Perhaps the presentation on both dishes warranted a slight tweak, but who cares in the face of the significant portion-sized goodness that hits your tongue and happily snuggles in your tummy?

Try the chicken with Mash, should the rice not quite do it for you.

Dessert

Like I was going to pass on some chocolate!

Dessert for me, was a Baked Chocolate Ganache, with Spiced Cocoa Crumble, Orange Oil & Crème Fraîche.

My friend settled in with the Tapioca, made with some Coconut Jam & Caramelized Rum Banana.

So good was the consistency, taste & presentation of my Chocolate Ganache, that I took some of it home to enjoy. #WorthIt

Verdict?

I don’t understand why you haven’t made your reservation yet?

If you’re looking for a written invitation, here it is!

You deserve to treat yourself.

This Cape Town weather is doing you no favors, and you deserve to reward yourself for putting up with her temperamental state.

What about the health nuts & vegetarians?

It’s actually pretty rare to find a small menu offering up substantial foodie choices for health nuts and vegetarians, but Bilboa gives you a little something something.

Check the full Winter Menu, for a clear idea of whether this is your vibe.

Substitutions and dietary restrictions need to be articulated in advance folks, so ensure you’re vocal about your needs to the helpful servers.

What of the drinks & booze?

Bilboa does not skimp on your choices for Wine specials.

Buy a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc for R60.00c, from Saxenburg’s Private Collection; try blends such as Stellenrust Simplicity, or split a bottle of Glen Carlou Merlot with a friend, for R220.00c

I had a 2017 Villiera Pinotage.

Bilboa Restaurant get’s an all-round 9/10

That fireplace alone deserves its own ode!

Bilboa Restaurant

Shop 120, First Floor, The Promenade,
Victoria Bay, Camps Bay, Cape Town, Western Cape
Opening Hours
Monday – Friday: 12h00 – 22h30
Saturday, Sunday & Public holidays: 09h00 – 22h30
Tel: (+27) 021 286 5155

Email: info@bilboa.co.za

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