La Mouette must be one of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets. It’s been around nearly a decade now, but it’s still something of an ‘in the know’ location for locals and savvy visitors – not that it isn’t always busy, but its reputation is still mostly low-key.
‘The Seagull’ is set in an impossibly beautiful Tudor house – with a delightful cobblestone courtyard which benefits from the relaxing susurration of cascading water from the giant central fountain, setting the scene for languid lunches and romantic dinners under the Cape Town stars in the summer months. The interior has had several modernising updates over the last 9 years and the current iteration is probably more minimalist than it has been in the past – but it’s still welcoming, with high ceilings and fireplaces that are a huge bonus in winter.
The food offering is built around two and three course options (with several choices per course) and optional wine pairings. Bearing in mind the quality of ingredients and imagination involved in preparation and presentation, the 3 course option with wine pairing (R785) is tremendous value for money. Opting out of the wine pairing cuts the cost to R450 (two courses for R350), which is relatively ‘bargain basement’ for food of such style and substance. If you opt against the wine pairing, there are plenty of wonderful by-the-glass and bottle options – and the sommelier loves a challenge! There’s also often a Winter Special menu which keeps things ticking over at even more remarkable value at a time when many other Cape restaurants shutter themselves until the throngs of tourists return – and a dedicated vegan offering that doesn’t take any shortcuts on flavour.
The kitchen team still features several members of the original staff, with Chef Patron Henry Vigar’s pedigree, impeccable, thanks to stints at several fine dining establishments in the UK, Australia and France to his credit. The front of house staff are also wonderfully knowledgeable with plenty of suggestions and a deep understanding of every dish on the menu – it’s an area which trips up many a service team who have to deal with a constantly-shifting menu.
Book a table in the courtyard during the warmer months for a magical al fresco experience that belies the city centre location.
78 Regent Road,