From the name we can deduce that it must be a french restaurant close to the sea (La Mouette means Seagull in french), which indeed it is.
Michelin trained Chef Henry Vigar, wife Mari and 3rd partner in crime Gerrit Bruwer knew instantly that the beautiful old tudor style house on Regent road Sea point, once belonging to the Mayor of Cape Town, was the pièce de résistance to their recipe for success.
The decor is understated, leaving the characterful old house to take most of the shine. And as is the case with most old houses, the best part is that each of the 4 rooms sport a working fireplace, ensuring a cosy and intimate dining experience in winter months.
As for summer, candlelight, the smell of salty air and a burbling fountain in the pretty courtyard ensures La Mouette ticks all the boxes for year round dining pleasure.
The other key ingredient, and the one that steals the show, is the food. Chef Henry Vigar’s tour de force is french mediterranean in influence and deconstructed in approach. The cherry on top is the price tag.
Fine dining can be a daunting outing for lots of us, stiff upper lips being the least of our worries while trying to comprehend, let alone pronounce, the menu choices ( morel and cornichon aspic with pork timbale anyone?) and worrying about the price of the bottled water. At La Mouette fine dining comes standard, in an easy setting with friendly service (Mari works front of house) and no stiff upper lips in sight.
The 6 course tasting menu (R165 in winter, R185 in spring and R240 in summer -Sept 2012) offers excellent variety for those who really want to experience an overview of the kitchen’s culinary achievements. Certain favourites like the truffle and cheese croquettes generally stay put, but otherwise this selection offers a new combination of special treats each month. It’s almost like the ‘blackboard menu’ concept – a daily offering of chef specials, only in this case you get to try them all. And don’t be daunted by the amount of courses, portions are perfectly sized to allow you to enjoy each dish without rolling out the door afterwards. There is also an A la Carte menu for the faint hearted.
The wine list offers good variety (in varietals, producers and price) with some boutique estates also represented. Corkage is an interesting one: R60 per bottle, and only one bottle per 4 people. I suppose they got to make a living somehow.
The upstairs doubles as function venue with a view (and 2 more fireplaces).
La Mouette is open for dinner Monday to Sunday 6-10pm, and lunch on a Sunday 12-3pm only, which is a shame, though if your group is 10 people or more they are happy to open up! Visit their website for recipes, to follow their blog, view the latest tasting menu and to book a table of course!
La Mouette Restaurant
What others have to say:
Read some traveller’s reviews on tripadvisor (La Mouette is a Peoples choice 2012 WINNER!): La Mouette is situated on the Main Road in Sea Point, so it’s location really isn’t anything to write home about, but having said that, stepping through the archway into the fountain courtyard is like through a portal. It doesn’t feel anything like any restaurant you would expect in that area….read more
Eat out: With a menu that changes with the seasons, Chef Henry Vigar takes solid flavour combinations and reinvents them. In his trademark style, individual elements of a classic meal are picked out, highlighted and given a twist. The end product is beautiful food. A gin and tonic dessert, comprising tonic jelly, gin syrup and lime ice cream, is a great example Bouillabaisse also has a deconstructed element to it: expertly cooked seafood arrives in an otherwise bare bowl, and the velvety broth is poured over it at the table. The cheese and truffle croquettes have built up a cult following…read more
Rossouws Restaurants: Situated in a lovely rambling old Victorian house, it’s a distinctly graceful and comfortable space with a courtyard, plenty of alfresco seats and multiple (fireplaced) dining rooms, plus bar; also an upstairs section for groups. Keen manager presence is very attentive, and staff well turned-out. The trappings are more “upmarket” than the menu which is based on easy comfort classics with modern presentation and at very good prices, even more so at lunch. Quality is sound and has aspirations, though tends to stick to the mid-road in terms of flavour, with notable desserts. The wine list is also friendly, with many options by the glass…read more
Cape Town Magazine: With a name like La Mouette it’s not hard to guess that the cuisine must be French. La Mouette restaurant in Sea Point is the new ‘Frenchie’ around the corner for locals with a taste for finer food options and a destination restaurant for Cape Town’s foodies. Maybe you know the space – the well known Europa restaurant was situated in the building at 78 Regent Road for a long time and after that it was called Russel’s Carvery. The beautiful building was empty for a year before becoming this French style finer dining hot spot – for private dinners, corporate functions and parties. …read more