South Africa meets France at Cafe Dijon

The quest continues to bring you the best that Cape Town has to offer. Tonight we went up the road to Green Point. Cafe Dijon opened 15 months ago and is run by South African Francophiles Sarah and Johan Du Plessis (AKA Dup).

A fabulously designed French-bistro style interior leads out onto a magical terrace with twinkling lights hanging from the trees and a braai fire burning. Totally charming.

The menu offers a range of classic French dishes like cassoulet, homemade Toulouse sausages, duck a l’orange, steak tartare and salad Lyonnaise, amazing Angus beef steaks and  inventive dishes with a South African touch.

On Dup’s recommendation we started with the home smoked snoek trio, It’s a beautiful plate with a portion of bobotie, a spring roll and a croquette served on sweet potato puree – yes, all made using that humble ingredient, snoek. South Africans can be quite snobbish about it (it’s a fairly cheap fish for those of you who don’t know) and would be very hesitant to order it. Well, that would be such a mistake here. The bobotie looks like bobotie (which is usually made with lamb mince) – and is silken, flavoursome and  irresistible! Dup told us what the secret ingredient is, but well, its a secret. The spring roll comes with perfect pastry and is packed with shredded, tasty snoek and the croquette is velvety and moreish. We spent ten minutes discussing which one was the best…the jury is still out! What a way to start.

The starter of the year so far, snoek heaven

The starter of the year so far, snoek heaven

South Africans are a real nation of carnivores – my brother tries to convince everyone that chicken is a vegetable! But they are fussy, so top-quality steaks are always important and they are carefully and personally sourced for Cafe Dijon. This Angus beef ribeye was outstanding, perfectly cooked and served with crispy frites and Bearnaise sauce (my favourite). Oh, and lovely onion rings, too.

The tastiest of ribeye with amazing Bearnaise sauce

The tastiest of ribeye with amazing Bearnaise sauce

Portions are pretty hearty, especially this cassoulet. Made with slow-braised pork hock and cannellini bean casserole with Toulouse sausage and duck confit, thyme and garlic, it is more of a wintery dish as our waitress Evie pointed out. We love cassoulet we couldn’t resist ordering it. Totally lovely, the pork hock was so tasty and the Toulouse sausage (which they make themselves) tasted authentic and meaty.

Meaty, rich and melt-in-the-mouth

Meaty, rich and melt-in-the-mouth

Okay, so now we were full. Then I started reading the dessert menu aloud and before we knew what had happened we’d ordered a pavlova. “I’d come here just for this,” murmured my husband as he tucked into this substantial, sweet and delicate plate piled high with a wonderful selection of the freshest fruit.

pavlova

The dessert of desserts: pavlova with Creme Chantilly and seasonal fruit

Dup and his staff (particularly Juno and Evie) are engaging, charming and so passionate about the restaurant and the food you can’t help but get excited. And the dishes deliver on their promises. Here I am getting prepared to order…do I look happy?

Happiness is...a courtyard and a menu

Happiness is…a courtyard and a menu

The braai fire is always lit, and tonight Dup took the opportunity to braai a cornucopia of local meat (lamb and pork from the Karoo) for a party of Americans. How’s that for personal service?

Dup the braaimaster does his stuff while an excited customer watches on

Dup the braai master is watched over

The wine list is fabulous, with some really special ones to try if you want to treat yourself. And although sitting outside was lovely, the interior is also very enticing. Oh well, we’ll just have to go back and commandeer an inside table.

Cafe Dijon is at 15 Napier Street, Green Point

Oh, and they have a lovely, inspiring blog with beautiful pics and recipes for you to try. For more info check out their  website at www.cafedijon.co.za

 

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