My happy return to La Mouette in Sea Point

It’s always wonderful to return to an old favourite. We’ve visited La Mouette pretty much every year since it opened in in 2010, wow that’s a 10-year anniversary then (coming up in May)!  Chef Henry Vigar produces such genius, inventive dishes on his ever-changing menu using seasonal local ingredients in a way you simply couldn’t imagine or consider producing yourself.

The restaurant is situated in a charming old house with a beautiful courtyard, though sadly we couldn’t eat alfresco tonight as the often howling Cape Town wind was whistling through Sea Point. Also, the Mother City is currently on a Load Shedding schedule when the electricity is turned off for several hours a day. You are informed of a time, thank goodness, especially if, like us, you’re living on the 8th floor of an apartment block. That’s a lot of stairs.

Load Shedding tonight was bang in the middle of our dinner reservation but not to worry, La Mouette has all that under control – they cook on gas and there’s a system in place that means there’s a muted light throughout – even when there’s no electricity. Well done La Mouette! So off we headed for our annual treat.

What’s on the menu

At La Mouette you can opt for a five-course tasting menu (which the whole table has to opt for) but it’s a bit much for me. Luckily our table was in agreement and we decided on a la carte.

Before anyone could get their choices in I ordered a plate of their signature cheese and truffle croquettes for the table. These little creamy, truffley balls of deliciousness simply shouldn’t be resisted.

La Mouette: croquettes
Cheese and truffle croquettes make for the perfect beginning

And then on to the serious business of starters. Beginning with tasty tuna tartare with black garlic mayo, spiced almonds and a sago crisp. A delightful tower of the freshest of tuna coated in a luscious, tasty sauce and sandwiched between delicate sago crisps. Such a beautiful mix of flavours and textures, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

La Mouette: tuna tartare
My tuna tower was a real dish of beauty

The butternut ravioli came on a bed of mushroom puree, topped with fried mushrooms and crispy sage. I’m very partial to a plate of butternut ravioli and this was right up there with the best I’ve ever tasted. A wonderful mix with the earthy puree and the crunch of the sage adding texture and that little something extra.

La Mouette: ravioli
Fresh butternut ravioli that melted in the mouth

Next up a gorgeous plate of salt and pepper prawns served on a bed of sweetcorn puree and sprinkled with chorizo and curry leaves. Perfectly cooked prawns combined wonderfully with the sweetness of the corn and the crunch of curry leaves – do love a curry leaf.

La Mouette: prawns
The perfect plate of prawns

Time for mains

Okay, so I was having something of an issue deciding on my main course. Well, I really wanted to try the scallop starter. So I did. I’m not sure if the portion was increased from starter size but it felt like it was. Perhaps it’s just a substantial starter. Portions are generally pretty generous here. Pan fried sweet scallops served with ham hock, peas, samphire, pickled onions and mint oil.

I doubt there’s a better mix of ingredients – for me anyway. I loved that the ham hock was slightly crispy and there was a pea ice-cream which I wasn’t expecting. And lots of peas – life is better with lots of peas.

La Mouette: scallops
The incredible scallop, ham and pea dish

The rest of the party all tucked into the locally caught line fish,  served with Malayan fish curry sauce, tempura beet leaf and a tamarind glaze. The yellowtail fillets were plump and juicy and the creamy sauce sang with Malay spices.

La Mouette: curry
Fresh local yellowtail with a velvety sauce

Sadly pudding wasn’t really an option, we were all replete. Though we did manage to polish off the beautifully creamy chocolate petit fours.

La Mouette: petit fours
The perfect petit four ending to dinner

Today’s price point

As well as being a fabulous eating experience, La Mouette is also really great value for money.

It costs R350 (£18) for two courses (R450 (£23) for three).

Wine starts from around R280 (£14) a bottle.

Prices are converted using today’s exchange rate.

La Mouette is at 27 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town.

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