On my way to Pigalle on a Saturday night, I was expecting yummy food from the highly regarded Mediterranean restaurant with its celebrated Portuguese twist. But, after walking through the entrance doors and being welcomed in, I knew that I was in for an entertaining night too.
Pigalle is definitely a restaurant that pulls out all the stops! From the larger-than-life paintings gracing the walls throughout the venue to the chandeliers and opulent carpets. The choice of carpets has a more important function than luxury – it absorbs the sound of the live band so you can still enjoy an intimate conversation at your table when you’re not on the dance floor.
A tour of the venue revealed exactly what else is on offer besides the dancing area, and again it was clear that Pigalle aims to please.
It’s a perfect choice for a celebration with its private dining rooms – one seats 20 to 30 guests while the more spacious room can treat 30 to 50 people to dinner, and a larger gathering gets you a spot behind glass beside the wall of lights. There’s also a cigar room where you can purchase cigars to enjoy and in the winter months it doubles up as a cosy smoking room. For those who love Elvis Presley, you’ll find friends in the owners of Pigalle as they are fans of the legend too and have a spot in the restaurant decorated in Elvis’s flair. The last stop of the tour was the cocktail bar, which can be found upon entering the restaurant.
The live band picks up the pace after 9 pm, playing classic after classic perfect for those itching feet ready for a twirl. However, before the party starts, the band performs slower songs while you tuck into your delicious choices off the à la carte menu. We wanted to have the true Pigalle experience for you and went with the suggestions of the restaurant’s senior manager, Warren.
I went for the pan-seared scallops with spring onion risotto and Hollandaise sauce (R135), which I couldn’t get enough of. My dining partner went the Portuguese route and tucked into the trinchado (R79) as he enjoys dishes with a good kick, which was definitely delivered by tangy sauce that dressed the cubes of beef fillet.
We were told that the best way to enjoy mains was with the seafood platter for two (R650) and that we couldn’t call it a night at Pigalle without trying their specialty lobster thermidore (R390). This flavourful creation involves the lobster meat removed from the shell to be flambéd with cream and Cognac, then grilled with black cherries and Parmesan before being put back into the shell to be served. This taste adventure of a dish was added to the prawns (it is said that Pigalle’s head chef has mastered the prawn), calamari, mussels, langoustines and line fish (Kinglip was the choice of the night) served with the choice of lemon butter and garlic butter sauces.
A must-try on the dessert front is the chocolate fondant with pistachio ice cream (R56) … and try we did! Runny chocolate goodness complemented with the nutty flavours of the ice cream made it the sweetest way to finish off our night. But, as the band began to pick up the tempo, it was clear that the night was not over.
So, I ordered another glass of Pigalle’s ‘The Summit’, a cocktail that I suggest everyone with a love for Cognac or crisp drinks should order on their visit, and decided to head bop and foot tap from the comfort of our table. As soon as Dirty Dancing‘s ‘Time of my life’ came on, I couldn’t control my excitement any longer and headed to the lively dance floor. We danced and sang along to the likes of ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ and Amy Winehouse’s ‘Valerie’ before we could bring ourselves to head home.
Where 57A Somerset Road, Green Point
Contact +27 21 421 4343, pigallerestaurants.co.za
For booked parties: set menus range from R260 to R550 pp (you are allowed to decorate the spaces and a projector is available)
Photography Cassidy Emmanuel