Tapping into the global trend for upscale, communal dining, chef Julia Hattingh has opened the delightful Reverie Social Table in Observatory. Each evening, Julia conjures up a five-course table d’hôte dinner for the 18 happy diners gathered around the striking, communal dining table. “My living room is your living room, so please relax and enjoy yourselves,” instructs Julia, as friendly waiters bring out the first of five delicious courses. A sweet watermelon gazpacho is balanced by the bite of local goat’s cheese, before a tartare of grass-fed beef with a hit of lemon achar, then on to a fillet of hake crusted with brioche and turmeric, accompanied by fennel foraged from local gardens. The standout dish is the main course: a coffee-marinated impala fillet atop a wild mushroom ragout with smoked cherry coulis. It’s highly accomplished cooking out of a tiny kitchen, from a chef who’s clearly loving her time in it. An insider tip: arrive early, or return at lunchtime for the ‘plat du jour’. 226A Lower Main Road, Observatory; 021-447-3219; reverie.capetown.
By Richard Holmes