Situated on Steenberg estate, the Cape’s oldest farm, Bistro sixteen82 is the casual cool brother of the fine dining Catharina’s Restaurant, also situated on the estate, though on another part of the grounds. Catharina’s and Steenberg Hotel, housed in the historic farm buildings dating back to 1682 and declared a national monument, starkly contrasts with the modern, almost industrial feeling Bistro, cellar and wine tasting bar/lounge.
Perched among the vineyards at foothills of the Steenberg mountains, this double interleading space exudes contemporary class, often described as opulent chic – featuring a mix of natural finishes and a vibey buzz that sits comfortably with the hip and happening crowd. The restaurant as well as the wine tasting lounge flows out onto a terrace area laid out amidst overflowing pools and water features, overlooking luscious green lawns framed by dramatic mountains. The combination of driftwood features, orchids in glass vases, a massive grape inspired chandelier, a glass bridge and a contemporary pebbled path across a stream will make you feel like a modern-day Alice in Wonderland.
Chef Brad Ball ( from Olympia Cafe, River Cafe and Pastis) serves inspired bistro fare, at good prices with a varied selection of wines, most from Steenberg Estate and available by the glass, adding to the value for money approach adopted by the chef (wines still marked up at about 25% on the cellar prices available right next door). The changing seasonal menu is deliciously diverse, with interesting options mixed in with the classics – meaning that there is something for every mood, taste and occasion. The raw bar (an actual bar as well as a blackboard menu) offers fresh options like oysters, carpaccio and tartare, and there is also a tapas menu on offer in the mid to late afternoon.
From the Autumn menu, as far as the starters go, the beef tartare (R60) was fantastic, while the signature beef tataki – Chilled seared slices of Chalmar fillet, ginger, chilli, lime and sesame (R52) was a real hit! The Rainbow trout mousseline, a rich, baked dish of rainbow trout, leek fondue and truffled mousseline (R58) was also highly praised and last but not least – the Roast tomato and garlic soup with goats cheese gratin and confit garlic croutons (R52) is everything that it should be, though not much more. Also on offer were saldanha oyster gratin (R58), tiger prawns (R62) and beef tongue (R55) , ricotta and tomato salad (R68) as well as beetroot and goats cheese salad (R64).
For mains we had the usual suspects: Mushroom Risotto – Porcini puree, brown portabellini and white oyster mushrooms (R52/R98), Hermon beef fillet – Boland reared fillet on the bone, cauliflower purée, peas and Café de Paris Butter (R140) and Line fish (Kingklip) – Fresh line caught fish, sautéed baby potato salad with anchovy crème and olives (R120). We missed out on the gnocchi (R90), steak sandwich (R90), Pork belly (R138) and Rainbow trout (R122). Everything was really good, and no – one had any complaints though I dare say the starters created more of a hoo-hah. I find this is the case at most restaurants I visit, and often I choose to rather sample a few starters instead of a main to really get a feel for what the kitchen can do!
Unfortunately we had no more space for dessert, though the options looked very enticing and the ones I saw pass by the table looked fit for serious praise. Sadly missed were a chocolate brownie – Dense chocolate brownie, apricot purée, almond parfait and katalfi baklava (R52), Compressed summer melons – Yoghurt crème Anglaise, pistachio Florentine, mint espuma and cucumber sorbet (R48), ‘Bunny Chow’ carrot cake composition – Carrot sponge, cream cheese frosting, candied walnuts, gingerbread ice-cream (R50), Strawberries and cream – Strawberry consommé, vanilla panna cotta and a strawberry tuille (R48) and Valerie’s choice – A selection of local cheese with walnut and apricot rye crackers (R60). View the current menu on their website.
Only open during the day for breakfast (apparently sensational), lunch or early supper it’s certainly worth a visit (or 3), and I can understand why the regular crowd is there to stay. And…with summer comes lazy al fresco lunches and I can already hear the terrace calling your (or maybe it’s my?) name.
Note: The acoustics in the restaurant can be slightly problematic on a busy day, making it hard to hear your fellow diners chit-chat without conscious effort, especially on bad weather days, when the huge glass doors leading outside are closed.
Breakfast: 09h00 – 11h00
Lunch is served from: 12h00 – 16h00
Tapas in the late afternoon and at sunset: 16h30 – 20h00
Some more opinions:
JP Rossouw from Rossouws Restaurants: Bistro Sixteen82 is a very popular Constantia food option, daytimes only, on the Steenberg Wine and Golf Estate. Alongside their lovely winery tasting room, with its outside seating, it’s a casual but very contemporary space. It shares the tasting room’s relaxing inside/out flow, dressed up with driftwood elements, designer lampshades and lots of chic white leather, though acoustics can jar due to the hard floors and (usually) packed tables. Outside there are water features alongside the alfresco tables, and also benches, though these seats get very warm in summer… read more
Rossouws Restaurants guide review: Alongside a lovely winery tasting room, this casual contemporary space has a relaxing inside/out flow, with driftwood elements and lots of chic white leather. Huge windows onto the winery and the garden add a “living” dimension, though acoustics can jar. Outside, water features with benches (very warm in summer). The menu features modern fare in the café/bistro idiom, also tapas for light meals, and a “raw bar” – though all on the expensive side, with highly variable quality. But then you do have the very hip setting and the service is extremely attentive. Wines are estate own, plus a few others. Only early dinners, the breakfasts are recommended.
Whale Cottage portfolio (Chris von Ulmenstein): I had read about Bistro Sixteen82 at Steenberg wine estate in Constantia on Twitter, and about its Beef Tataki in particular, one of Chef Brad Ball’s signature dishes. My first visit last week was one of wow – amazement at the wonderful setting, the amazing decor, the friendliness of the staff, the wonderful food, as well as the value for money, a perfect recipe for success. I felt that the “Bistro” name, which Wikipedia defines as “a small bar serving moderately priced simple meals in an unpretentious setting” is completely inappropriate for this wonderful restaurant, the restaurant underselling itself, and thereby overdelivering….read more
Eat out: The thing to start with is the superb oak-smoked salmon (tell them to hold the foie gras) or the seared Chalmar beef tataki, with ginger, chilli and lime. The cauliflower risotto with roasted sweet garlic is superb….read more
Spill: This restaurant is attached to tastings rooms and a winery and has been open for just one year. The interior design is airy with light wood and is dominated by the colour white. Bottles from Steenberg Winery line the walls; it all looks chic and cool. Outside there is seating for eating as well as loungers for hanging out and quaffing. This area is surrounded by reflection pools and cascading water features with a lawn beyond. It’s a sexy space…read more