Fans of the The Neighbourgoods Market might recognise the names Marc and Amy Botes from their stand, Basque Chorizo, which also caused a stir at last year’s Taste of Cape Town event selling over 4 000 rolls! They’re now the owners of Chalk & Cork, a beautiful two-storey wine bar and restaurant (that used to be the Mozzarella Bar) on Cape Town’s trendy Kloof Street. Marc and Amy met while working for Gordon Ramsay in London – Marc as head sommelier for six years and Amy as chef Ramsay’s supervisor for two years. After a trip to San Sebastian in Spain, Amy discovered her passion for Basque cuisine, doing a stint two-year stint at famous UK chain the Salt Yard group to hone her Spanish culinary skills. With credentials like that, you know you’re in for a treat when dining here.
Developed by the owners together with chef Mandie Kruger (formerly of Le Quartier Français and Babylonstoren), the menu comprises small plates of food with strong Spanish and Basque flavours and made using fresh, seasonal ingredients. The tapas menu has a strong Spanish bent – obviously – expect delicacies such as salt-and-pepper squid with lemon aioli (R55), cannellini bean salsa (R60) and paprika-spiced chicken with crispy garlic and spiced romesco sauce (R50). And you’ll also find Italian-inspired items, such as sirloin steak with bonemarrow, gremolata and creamed spinach (R70) and gnocchi with spring vegetables and pesto (R50)
The wood-fired pizzas are mighty delicious too, with a choice of simple, unpretentious toppings, such as mozzarella, feta, rocket and avocado (R80) or cherry tomatoes, bacon and courgettes (R85). And the good news is that Banters and gluten-sensitive diners are catered for to, with a cauliflower base (for an additional R20).
The extensive wine list, featuring unusual and unexpected local bubblies, wines and sherries from Robertson, Elgin, the Swartland and Stellenbosch, changes oftern. You’ll also find some Spanish gems, such as rioja tinto crianza “vina cubillo” Lopez de Heredia for R340 a bottle.
The upstairs loft seats around 30 people and is a great space for a special-occasion dinner or private party, while the alfresco courtyard is perfect for a light lunch or dinner on a summer’s evening. But don’t take our word for it, check it out yourself.
Tuesday, 9am – 5pm
Wednesday – Saturday, 9am – 10pm