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After reading numerous reviews and descriptions of Bizerca bistro, I was slightly concerned about what to expect. Comparisons of the interior and ambience to a car dealership with other descriptions like warehouse effect, somewhat clinical, cold fishbowl and bland- offset with funky, weird, hip and in their own words ‘quirky meets classy’ does not leave one feeling exactly at ease… The location is another topic of interest for most visitors. Located in the foreshore or ‘downtown’ ‘ amidst modern office blocks’, next door to a ‘budget type hotel’ through which you enter the restaurant, it seems the general consensus is that it is a bit remote and rather unusual.

On the other hand Bizerca has won numerous awards and has been rated as one of cape Town’s Top 10 restaurants specializing in french-fusion bistro style fine dining. Run and owned by award-winning French chef Laurent Deslandes and his Afrikaans wife Cyrilla, the whole package, which is open only during the week, sounded a bit bizerca (crazy) to me, but motivated by the reviewers’ unifying praise of fantastic, superb, amazing, exceptional, exquisite and most wonderful food…how can one resist.

Yellowtail Tartare starter – R68

The a la carte menu is supported by an extensive list of blackboard specials that is seasonal and changes every 6 weeks.

It takes a while to decipher.

Expect anything from fish and beef tartare, pigs trotter (their speciality served with seared scallops and truffle oil), lambs liver, rabbit terrine and beef cheeks to less daunting pumpkin gnocchi, lamb stew, salmon salad (another signature with goats cheese, soy ginger and shallot dressing), grilled fish and fillet and to finish: apple tart fine with honey syrup to pear sabayon and chocolate pudding with white chocolate creme brûlée.

Prawn Bisque with saffron mussel veloute starter – R68

Beef fillet Tartare – R68

Nothing comes with a standard side dish, every dish is a carefully construed artwork, for example the Braised veal shoulder with pomme mouselline, roasted parsnip, asparagus and baby onion. Or the grilled ostrich fillet with celeriac puree, spinach crispy sweet pot and blue berry sauce…

Seared veal liver with endives, stuffed plums, sweet potato puree & verjuice sauce – R125. We ordered 2 portions, both livers cooked to the chefs recommendation. One was still cold, gelatinous and raw in the centre, while the other was not. When we were finished, we showed the raw part to the waiter who took it to the kitchen and returned to tell us this was the chefs recommendation…

The service is a little sporadic, sometimes great and other times less so. Nothing major, as far as I can tell. The wine list is quite extensive and put together by Laurent and Cyrilla themselves. In their words: Each wine we offer at the restaurant has been selected because we tasted it and loved it. We aim to offer a little bit of everything, including some Australian gems, lovely French wines and some of our favourite local finds. Corkage: A maximum of one bottle per table is accepted for which a R50 corkage-fee for wine and R80 for champagne will be charged.

Braised Pork neck with curry sauce, lentils, roasted pumpkin, bacon and tomato – R120

Its popularity proves the point that the food is an essential ingredient to the Bizerca’s success. Like any good recipe the whole is equal to the sum of its parts, and in this case, the philosophy is unpretentious, inventive food in a relaxed environment using the highest quality fresh ingredients and authentic french methods. And to me, this success ultimately boils down to the confidence and passion of its owners. If you can, why not?

Starters (or entrees) range from average R60, Mains R130 and desserts R45. Daily changing lunch specials for about R100.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri Lunch 12pm-3pm
Mon-Fri Dinner 6:30pm-10pm
For reservations please call
+27 (0)21 418 0001, as they  unfortunately don’t do email or internet booking reservations.

Address: Jetty Street, Foreshore, Cape Town . Click here for the detailed map.
http://www.bizerca.com

Good News! (from Spill): Bizerca is expanding from 50 to 80 seats. They are moving into the hotel lobby, and architect Anton de Kock will oversee everything. He’s the creative talent behind the Oyster Box in Durban. “Warmer and cosier” is the prognosis for the new design, with more comfortable seats.

News to me is that they will do a fast pre-theatre menu if you are rushing off to a performance in The Artscape….read more

What others have to say:

Bizerca received a three star ‘Top rating’ from Rossouws Restaurants:
This gem in the city’s “downtown” continues to wow food-lovers: notwithstanding a space that is not to everyone’s taste and is very noisy: minimalist-chic, semi-industrial, with big windows, somewhat stark, but quirkily colourful and individualistic…read more

Eat out: The signature dish of raw Norwegian salad with goat’s cheese and ginger is a heavenly melange of textures and flavours. Try the inventive pig’s trotters, braised and served with seared scallops, but the less adventurous will be saved by the lightest butternut gnocchi known to man, served with fresh tomato coulis and parmesan…read more

Tripadvisor: “Unmemorable Ambience. extraordinarily memorable food” Tucked away in a business location this is not the place for a romatice dinner .. the ambience is too unremarkable and business like ,, and your partner will have little time to focus on you due to the great service and absoluley OUTSTANDING food… read more reviews on tripadvisor

Cakebreadcapetown:Every dish we tried was perfection. The French manager/waiter was friendly, happy and extremely knowledgeable about the food ingredients and preparation. Their wine list and offerings by glass was spot on. The setting and ambience was relaxed. The lunch room was full, but all tables were well taken care of by just 2 servers. Cyrillia , wife of Chef Laurent and co-owner, was the perfect hostess. Maybe I just have a soft spot for funky Afrikaans girls, but everyone else seemed relaxed and happy too…read more

Winemag:
It’s a modern-looking place – concretescreed floor, exposed air-conditioning ducts, an entrance door akin to the roller door of a suburban garage – but there are splashes of colour and stylish touches that make for an open, airy and welcoming space. There’s a bar at one end at which you can enjoy an aperitif and look through glass windows into the kitchen. And from that kitchen emerges bistro food that is disarmingly simple and palate- friendly, food that Cyrillia describes as coming from a gentle and down-to-earth approach…read more

Relax with Dax:
This is another restaurant that I should have visited long ago but just never got round to it. It would be difficult not to go with high expectations because it has been getting rave reviews and was in the Eat out top ten for 2009 and 2010. The negative comments I heard were that it lacks atmosphere and that it can be inconsistent, some having been more than once and not enjoyed it as much every time…. read more

Eating Alphabetically: Do not let the name fool you. Far from the exotic barbarian war images that may come to mind (or a particular song from the movie “Clerks”, if you’re a fan), Bizerca proved to be a neat, modern, corner Bistro, tucked away in a pedestrian thoroughfare in the middle of Cape Town Foreshore. Granted, not the most bustling of night life locations, but at least parking is readily available….read more

Spill:
Finding Bizerca can be a bit of a mission. Trudge through windswept open squares amidst modern office blocks, use SARS HQ as an aiming point, and eventually you’ll get there. Set in a budget sort of hotel, next door to a raucous pub, you get into the restaurant by nipping in through the lobby, turning right past the bored receptionist. But as soon as the Bizerca doors swing open you are given a warm welcome by waitstaff that will add value to your dining experience throughout the evening….read more

Eat Cape Town:
Alas, our quest unsatisfied, we settle for a French-inspired promise of reliability.  Bizerca Bistro, an old favourite, takes our last-minute booking.  It’s tough to objectively review a favourite, though I am not enough of a regular to know the owners, French chef Laurent Deslandes and his wife Cyrillia, who does the front of house. I’ve eaten Laurent’s speciality, the braised pig’s trotters with a seared scallop (from the permanent menu).  They were infinitely better than those eaten in Luanda, Angola, just after the early 90’s war.  Those were plated on top of a film of stinky-cheap olive oil (as all the meals were). Yuk….read more

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