Since living in Cape Town I have had the pleasure of trying out a variety of unique dining experiences, ranging from unusual food to interesting décor. There have been some hits and misses, but all of the experiences had one thing in common: I was hyper aware that I was eating in a restaurant. This is not necessarily a bad thing, we do go out to eat for the restaurant experience, but it can make you feel like just a number in a crowd.
This is something Chef patron Julia Hattingh wanted to change when she opened Reverie Social Table. Having worked in kitchens in the winelands, Paris and London, she felt like there were too many restaurants where you are just a number. So Julia decided to cut out the middleman, and set out to create a dining experience similar to that of an intimate dinner party, where people can come together to enjoy good company, conversation and food.
This is apparent from the moment you walk into Reverie Social Table. For starters, there is literally one large table in the whole restaurant that seats 18 people. You feel like you have walked into someone’s home rather than a restaurant, even the cutlery is kept in a a stunning set of drawers, and is set out when you have taken a seat. There is a quaint little library, where you can sit and peruse through an impressive collection of cookbooks. There is also a delightful courtyard for you to enjoy. Turns out that Julia and her sister live upstairs from the restaurant, so she really is inviting you into her home! There are no set menus here. For lunch, Julia creates around four dishes that is normally inspired by what she has available in her kitchen, and there is always something new to try.
The day I went for lunch, the menu offered snoek pâté with hummus and fresh bread, venison and pumpkin curry, Italian white bean and courgette salad and sweet potato soup. I opted for the salad, something I usually don’t order (ever) but I saw the courgette in the kitchen when passing through and they looked so delicious I couldn’t resist. I was not disappointed, the salad was bursting with flavour. You could tell that a lot of care went into making it. In fact, Julia’s ever changing, wholesome lunch menu has gained her regulars who are treated to something special each day.
The real star of Reverie Social Table are the dinners. Julia books out places on her table and entertains you with a good old fashioned dinner party. You are treated to five incredible courses and six wines. Upon entering you can enjoy a drink out in the courtyard, where you can mingle with the other guests. There are no strict schedules, Julia feels the mood of the crowd and starts serving the food when she feels the time is right. Because there is no set menu, you are free to enjoy the company, without the pressure of ordering. You could also end up trying something new and exciting that you would not have normally tried.
If you are nervous about making conversation with strangers, there are many interesting things in the beautiful little restaurant to get you talking. The food, art and décor are great conversation starters, and before you know it, you will be at ease and enjoying yourself. You cease being a number at a restaurant and become an honoured guest. Once a month you can look forward to food and wine pairings from boutique wine estates. With only 18 spots at the table, booking for dinner is essential. Julia and her team have worked hard to create a comfortable environment where you can enjoy a personal experience, rather than just a culinary one. You really do feel at home at Reverie Social Table.
When Lunch: Monday to Friday 11 am – 3 pm and Dinner: Wednesday to Saturday 7 pm – 11 pm
Where 1226A Lower Main Road, Observatory
Cost Lunch priced on menu, Dinner R700 pp
Contact +27 21 447 3219, [email protected], www.reverie.capetown
Photography courtesy Annzra Denita and Reverie Social Table