On a windy Cape Town day what better way to spend the afternoon than lunching somewhere new. I’d been meaning to try Upper Bloem for a while. It’s from the team behind La Mouette, one of Sea Point favourites. Head chef Andre Hill joined La Mouette as a sous chef in 2013 and impressed chef-owner Henry Vigar so much that he asked him to help create Upper Bloem.
The menu is inspired by Hill’s childhood memories growing up on Upper Bloem Street in the nearby Bo Kaap, and by Cape Town’s unique mix of cultures.
What’s on the menu
At lunchtime Upper Bloem does this incredible Express lunch menu for R125 per person – that’s £6.64 at today’s exchange rate. For that you get six tapas dishes each, served as two courses in groups of three. Seriously amazing value – and wait until you taste the food! It’s some of the tastiest I’ve had this year.
Like this salt and pepper hake sandwich which is served with a crispy African potato and pickled cucumber. Pick it up and eat it with your fingers (it is a sandwich after all) for the most delightful combination of flavours and textures with the softest of bao-like buns, fresh, crispy fish and an amazing sauce.
The next masterpiece was described as courgette “salomie” on a beetroot leaf with mint yogurt. Finely diced courgette is beautifully spiced and served on a crispy, deep fried beetroot least which you fold like a wrap and again eat with your fingers. Courgettes have never tasted so good!
The Borenkaas croquettes were beautifully creamy and satisfyingly cheesy and served topped with shaved radish and with the most wonderful curried aioli. Love a croquette and these were absolutely perfect.
And now for the second course
Next up, it was time for meat, potato and vegetables – but not as you know it! The braised beef short rib was served with bone marrow and mushrooms on a bed of pickled tongue. Wow! I haven’t seen tongue on a menu in a while, was so happy to sample some that was so beautifully made. The beef was rich and melt-in-the-mouth and topped with delicately dressed mushrooms.
The potatoes were tripled cooked and served with goat’s yogurt, Muizenberg sour fig curry sauce and bhaji powder. How’s that for an amazing description? The potatoes were crisp and golden on the outside and beautifully soft inside and the accompaniments made for a beautiful Indian flavour hit. My tapas-size portion just wasn’t enough – I could easily eat a whole bowl of these delicious babies.
And now for the veggies – the butternut breyani was served with BBQ carrot puree, grains, pistachio and pomegranate. I’d be a vegetarian for sure if all veg dishes tasted this good. The browned butternut was oh-so sweet and topped with crispy onions. Marvellous.
Dessert is extra – but only R60 extra – and sounded so intriguing we had to give it a try. The cute little ice-cream sandwich was called “I do like to be by the sea” (oh yes I do!) – a buttermilk semi-credo gingerbread sandwich with white chocolate sand.
And this beautiful plate is called “Memories of rice pudding”. Roasted rice ice cream is served with mango jelly, passion fruit curd and coconut mint oil. Clever, cute and delicious.
I totally loved Upper Bloem with its incredible, innovative food, friendly welcoming service and great value. I’ll be back for seconds soon!
Today’s price point
Six tapas dishes were R125 (£6.64) per person.
Puddings were an extra R60 (£3.18).
Wine starts from R240 (£12.73) for white and R245 (£12.99) for red.
Upper Bloem is at 65 Main Road, Green Point, Cape Town