Nocturne: An Elegantly Moody Mixology Bar + Restaurant in Stellenbosch

Nocturne: An Elegantly Moody Mixology Bar + Restaurant in Stellenbosch

Culinary journey meets mixology odyssey.

It’s moodily elegant, the bar taking centrestage, but Nocturne isn’t only about the cocktails. While trailblazing mixology is the starting point of this Stellenbosch hotspot, it purposely blurs the boundaries between bar and restaurant, which makes perfect sense when you realise that this is a sister establishment to Dusk, chefs Darren Badenhorst and Callan Austin’s groundbreaking fine-dining restaurant next door.

Nocturne: Chefs

Nocturne is glamorous but relaxed, sharing Dusk’s focus on sustainability, foraging and edgy ingredients in an appealing and approachable fashion. Perch on a stool at the bar and watch as the bartenders work their smoothly choreographed magic, or relax at one of the pavement tables under the oak trees (looking over Plein Street to the town hall) and savour dishes from the short but thoughtfully crafted à la carte menu.

Taking mixology to the next level

Nocturne Cocktails

Creative and stunningly beautiful signature cocktails share the same ultra creative and minimal waste ethos as the Dusk kitchen and fermentation lab – there’s a symbiosis here which takes mixology to another level. Try the Ugly Bourbon which uses brioche offcuts for the brioche butter fat-washed Jim Beam whisky and a homemade botanical liqueur. Or the almost too pretty to drink Austin Flowers, with Roku Japanese gin, a floral elixir and pink tonic. There are classic cocktails, rotational riffs, perfect serves with an element of drama, and shooters like you’ve never seen before…smoked pine ring pickle brine, anyone?

Wine and dine

Nocturne: Dining

The same attention to detail is evident when you order from the deceptively simple food menu – a beautifully presented plate of linefish sashimi is dressed with sour plum ponzu; wagyu tartare is embellished with a porcini custard and pickled shimeji; there’s a divine confit lamb neck with potatoes dauphinoise; and the pulled peri-peri chicken with mango salsa, sour cream and triple-cooked chips also hits the spot.

Nocturne: Food

With food goes wine, and the wine list here reveals just as much thought to provenance and pairing: well chosen vintages that range from fresh and accessible, to iconic classics that pack a punch.

Wednesdays at Nocturne

Nocturne: Wine Special

Wednesday is the night to indulge in a mid-week spoil with your partner. Nocturne offers a Wednesday date night special that includes a 3-course meal for two and a bottle of wine for R995 per couple. No skipping dessert… this is your chance to get better acquainted with the delicate delights of the coconut panna cotta with passionfruit (or the miso caramel tart with lime).

And the last Wednesday of each month features a wine tasting with canapés hosted by a different wine estate each month.

Nocturne: Restaurant

For a flavour journey and some sensory be-dazzling, you might just want to go Nocturne-al.

Opening times Tuesday – Thursday, 5pm – late
Friday – Saturday, 3pm – late
Contact 021 023 4745,
Where to find it 43 Plein Street, Stellenbosch
Book through DinePlan

Discover all of the Cape’s hidden gems – subscribe to our weekly newsletter.


The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 28 February 2024