La Mouette is a seasonally inspired modern Cape Town restaurant located in the heart of Seapoint that should be on every foodie’s list.
One thing our journey as contestants on MKR taught us, under the wise advice of some of the best restaurateurs in the game, is to always let the food be the star of the show.
The owners of La Mouette clearly read the same brief.
Henry Vigar, the chef patron of La Mouette, spent a number of years making a name for himself as an up-and-coming young chef in fine cuisine in London. After also working in Australia and France, and a number of other UK based top-ranked and Michelin starred establishments, Henry settled as head chef at Kensington Place in London’s affluent Notting Hill.
It was here in 2008 that he met Mari Vermaak (now Vigar), a colleague with a passion for the industry and a dream to one day own her own restaurant. Two years, two resignations, one engagement and two one-way tickets to South Africa later, saw the couple settle in the sunshine of Seapoint, Cape Town, to begin their new venture.
The couple fell in love with a beautiful old building on Regent Road which once belonged to the mayor of Cape Town’s family.
Captivated by its size and beauty, they quickly decided to make the building, home to their dream of owning their own restaurant. Calling on their good friend Gerrit Bruwer who also had a dream of being a part of the restaurant world, they signed the lease for 78 Regent Road, Sea Point in February 2010 and quite suddenly the dreams of all three were realised where they opened to trade on the 6th of May 2010.
Everything about the simply decorated unassuming courtyard set-up contrasts the Cullinary mastery taking place in the kitchen.
Highly attentive and friendly service from the hostess and an obviously well trained serving staff are the first hints that the experience to come may well be out of the ordinary.
And the simple clues are not wrong.
Celebrating a birthday with a surprise booking, we had no prior expectations to the tasting menu, and both of us tried the 3 course tasting menu with a selection from the limited Tappas choice as well.
La Mouette offers seasonally inspired menus which change regularly. They pride themselves on showcasing only the best of local producers and Chef Henry along with head chef Andre Hill take great pride in sourcing these ingredients – respecting the seasons as they go.
La Mouette not only offers ever changing menus, but prides itself on the meticulous selection of complimentary wines carefully selected by our in-house wine list consultant.
The Tappas were one of the overall highlights of the meal, with condensed and powerful flavours being packed into bite sized portions. We shared the Malay pickled aubergine and caramelized onion which popped with flavour and texture and enjoyed the Cauliflower cheese, brown butter crumbs and truffle which was a beautiful lesson in the balancing act of contrasting textures. Highly recommended.
Our three course meal was perfectly portioned, packed with flavour and presented with flair and style without ever venturing into haute cuisine or pretentiousness. The stand out dish that we both agreed on was the main course Beef fillet, short rib and fermented shiitake – mind blown!
Desserts were beautifully presented and a well balanced end to a perfect gastronomic journey.
I personally was underwhelmed by the wine pairing options, but that is almost certainly my simpler wine palette than the fault of the restaurant.
All in all a spectacular overall experience.