So since I broke my ankle last month I’ve been looking at restaurants in a different light. Before I decide to go anywhere I have to establish accessibility. Can I get in and out (first in a wheelchair and now on crutches)? Is there allocated disabled parking outside? Is the place all on one level? Are the toilets doable? So many questions.
Surprisingly (and disappointingly) I’ve discovered that a lot of places in Cape Town don’t cater for disabled customers – even not having allocated disabled parking. So I thought I’d shine a happy spotlight on those that do. Including one of my personal favourites.
Bistro Sixteen82 on the Steenberg Wine Estate opened in 2009. It’s in a stunning setting and I love chef Kerry Kilpin’s inventive and tasty dishes. There is disabled parking right outside the front door and it is flat and easily negotiable into the restaurant where there are two small steps to get down to the main area. If you’re not that stair-competent with your crutches (like me), there’s plenty of help on hand to get you up and down. I was soon happily seated at my table perusing the menu and specials chalkboard.
What’s on the menu
While there are classics that remain, the menu always has new additions inspired by the many great ingredients of the Cape Peninsular. My starter today was something completely different – pickled fish with avo mouse, coriander, rouille and crispy wonton. I love South African pickled fish – it’s a Cape Malay dish where the fish is fried and marinated (well, pickled) in a curry-style spicy sauce.
What a beautiful plate of exquisite-tasting food and nothing like I was expecting. Bursting with pickled fish flavours and so delicately presented. I really wanted to lick the plate. Don’t worry I restrained myself (only just)!
The tempura prawns are a long-time favourite. Served with chargrilled pineapple salsa, coriander, chipotle aioli and pineapple syrup they are always perfectly crunchy and the salsa is in a league of its own.
The masterpieces for mains
Another regular is the roasted pork belly which is served on a corn and sweet potato puree with star anise and ginger jus and a green apple and mange tout salsa. Loving the Asian influences which are seen in many of the dishes.
Kerry is what I would describe as a saucy chef – by which I mean she does like a good helping of sauce – as you will see in these lovely pictures.
This is the sustainable fish served on a crispy mash fritter with a red cabbage and tomato salsa and a Caesar dressing and topped with a quail’s egg. Today’s fish was Cape Bream (in all fish dishes, including my pickled one). I had never tasted it before and would certainly order it again. The Bistro makes sure to cook with sustainable fish which they get from the Abolobi project which is a partnership of small-scale fisheries. So they (and you, too) are doing the best for the fishy environment too.
I decided to go for the venison as I loved the sound of every element of this dish. Grilled venison loin, confit duck parcels, baby beets, leek and celery puree and a pomegranate, fig and hibiscus jus. It was a very saucy dish as you can see! What did I say…
The venison (which was springbok) was cooked to perfection, tender and tasty and I loved the duck confit parcels. Could have done with more baby beets but that’s just because I love them. A real indulgence of a dish.
The Abolobi fish fritters (again Cape bream) were served on a bed of courgette spaghetti in an exotic mushroom, coconut, lemongrass and ginger velour. Now this is a sauce I could devour copious amounts of.
And there’s room for dessert
I very rarely order pudding but today one had caught my eye so I convinced the rest of the table to share it. Really I could have eaten most of it myself it was so light and delicious. The yogurt mousse was served with cardamom and orange cured honeycomb (my favourite bit), citrus segments, macadamia nuts and kalamansi ice cream. A kalamansi is a small citrus fruit from the Philippines with a lime flavour (and no I didn’t know that). One of my fave puds ever!
Another array of delightful dishes from Kerry’s kitchen. And easy access too (including the toilets). Full marks to the Bistro.
Today’s price point
Two starters, two mains and a pudding to share came to R665. That’s £36.40 at today’s exchange rate.
Bistro Sixteen82 is at Steenberg Vineyard, Steenberg Road.