After calling around (last minute as usual) we exasperatedly said “Just take us somewhere where the food’s decent and the service is good.
Right off the main road in Mouille Point, in a buzzing little enclave of restaurants, Pepénero was our destination. We were out to eat fairly early for Cape Town – 730 pm – and took our pick of the outside seating - 2 chairs and bench seating, with heaters in close proximity for the refreshingly cool evening sea breeze.
Mr. B ordered a bottle of Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinor Noir, and we started off our evening.
Lemme say right now, the service we received from John, our waiter, was excellent - hands down the best service I have EVER had in Cape Town – attentive, knowledgeable, without being overly familiar – absolutely impeccable. When we needed recommendations he was there and when he wasn’t needed he was a mere nod away.
For appetizers, we ordered Scallops, Steamed fresh mussels, & Eggplant (Aubergine). A bread server came by the table, delivering a slice of bread each, with oil & balsamic to dip – perfect size- not too big to put us off the appetizers, light, & very tasty. 15 minutes later, they arrived - perfect timing. By this time we had polished off half our bottle of wine - over fantastic conversation.
Good scallops are a rare breed and it was a sheer delight to devour these beautiful mollusks. The mussels were fresh – cooked in a classic white wine, garlic, and parsley sauce – perfectly tender, no grit in any bite, and delicious. Mr. B gobbled down his aubergines, so we’ll safely assume they rocked…Thanx B (your Mom will be proud of you).
We rapidly moved on to mains - Queen of F***in Everything, needed sleep urgently… it wasn’t our bad company. John took our order of Tagliata (fillet, grilled and sliced, topped with olive oil and rosemary) & pan-seared, roasted duck topped with a leek reduction. The Tagliata ROCKED, the duck was a tad bit overcooked. OK, so maybe that’s why I had a crown on my tooth replaced earlier this week.
It’s always an indication that a restaurant is very sure of itself, its service, & its kitchen staff when, if a meal is not up to scratch, it’s removed without a huge song-and-dance. Without hesitation, the duck was whisked away – kinda like the South Easter knocks you off your feet on the Foreshore. We asked for a recommendation from John – he suggested the Stuffed Chicken Supreme with goats cheese, spinach and garlic ….. O mi GAWD was it fabulous. I swear I am gonna call my next child John.
I’m not sure whether it was the ocean breeze (who knew that seaweed could smell so hectic), the excellent service, or the fabulous company, but we had to get another bottle of wine - the Warwick Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc. It was at this point The Queen alerted us that the restaurant was starting to fill up and that Mr.B and I should try and lower our voices.
It was time to bring the eating part of the night to an end (read Party Time) and there’s no other way to end off a good meal than with dessert. OMIGOSH!!!! The Crème Brulèe was BANGIN’ – not too sweet, silky smooth, and exactly right flavor – really, it kicked butt. I normally check out a place’s Crème Brulée when I see it, and, man this was SO worth it
I unselfishly whipped out my credit card for a “kaching” – the check for 3, with 2 bottles of wine AND dessert was R 1000, $ 125, € 82 and £63. Our Dear John was handsomely rewarded for our nights pleasure.
The evening was absolutely outstanding. Our only wish before venturing out to dinner was decent food and good service and the Pepènero experience far exceeded our expectations.
FOOD 7/10 SERVICE 8/10 AMBIENCE 8/10 PRICE $$$