One of the newest additions to the ever-growing and innovative dining scene in Cape Town is a pocket-sized eatery in Observatory called Reverie Social Club. Located along the Lower Main Road, this home-style restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Julia Hattingh, formerly of Holden Manz’s Franschhoek Kitchen and a student of acclaimed chef David Higgs.
Julia’s wealth of experience belies her age – she’s just 28 – as she’s worked for some of the best chefs in the country, and also at two Michelin-star restaurants in London and Paris.
Reverie’s aim is to get a diverse bunch of people seated around the 18-seater table to break bread and get to know each other. On the night the Insiders attended, we met Canadian tourists who were holidaying in the Cape, and foodies from Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs, all of whom had lovely stories to share.
Julia changes the menu weekly to keep herself on her creative toes, while giving guests top-class food. The wines we enjoyed were from a boutique farm in Franschhoek called Black Elephant. An elegant MCC was presented to us upon arrival, before the very friendly restaurant staff took us on a tour of the eatery, which includes a little library and and small courtyard.
A five-course meal, paired with Black Elephant wines, was presented over the course of the evening. The staff has perfected the art of presenting food without disturbing the flow of conversation on the table. The starter was tuna carpaccio with thinly sliced avocado, paired with the quirkily named Two Dogs, a Peacock and a Horse sauvignon blanc.
This was followed by mussels cooked in the Black Elephant MCC, served with soup and paired with the Timothy White viognier. The third course was a Cape Malay vegetarian dish of chickpeas and boiled egg, sprinkled with almonds, which was paired with the Nicolas Red blend made up of Syrah and Mourvèdre.
Mains was a shared dish of succulent beef served with mushroom-braised lentils, mushrooms in a cognac sauce and beetroot, served with the rich Back Roads Grenache Noir. And to finish off, Julia served us a white chocolate panna cotta topped with toffee apple purée, honeycomb, apple and walnuts, accompanied by Langbakken blue cheese from the Karoo and a glass of La Petite Vigne cabernet sauvignon rosé.
We were having such as great time that we continued talking as wine was poured. Julia joined us and we got to know, not only the hostess, but everyone on the table in a relaxed informal and friendly manner. By the end of the evening we felt we had made new friends.
Lunchtime meal of the day
For only R50, enjoy whatever chef Julia has prepared for lunch from Monday to Saturday. She posts the dish on social media around 11am, and from 12pm, you are free to pop in and have a bite. It’s on a first-come-first-served basis, until the prepared dish is finished.
Time Monday – Saturday, 11am – 3pm
7pm – 11pm (dinner)
Cost R700 (five-course dinner)
Contact 021 447 3219, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location 226A Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town