Many of our readers would have likely heard of La Tête. But if you haven’t, here’s a hearty introduction to nose-to-tail dining.
While the concept of nose-to-tail dining is certainly not something new, here in Cape Town it has been reasonably difficult to find a restaurant that accommodates this aspect of gastronomy, fare that honours the whole animal by utilizing the entirely edible, but sadly often overlooked, parts if it – not just a certain cut and then the rest goes to waste.
Chef Patron Giles Edwards, himself having cut his teeth at some of the finest restaurants around the UK during a 10-year stint, opened La Tête late last year and really brought something different to the city’s restaurant scene. His French-inspired style, coupled with attention to detail while retaining an uncomplicated feel, has solidified Giles as a serious contender for one of the top chefs in Cape Town. I personally feel that his approach to dining is something Cape Town was missing, and since opening, he has reacquainted me with some familiar classics I last enjoyed many years ago.
For instance, ingredients like chicory and rhubarb are two ingredients you might not commonly find on menus around the city, but at La Tête there exists a wonderful marriage of these nostalgic ingredients with a few surprises like sea spinach – while sticking to the theme of nose-to-tail.
The new winter special at La Tête is an exciting opportunity to experience this eatery on Bree Street from an affordability standpoint. Pricing for the special is broken down into two tiers, two courses for R220 (mains & dessert) and three courses for R260 (starters, mains & dessert). Guests partaking in the winter deal can expect the same lively, farm-to-fork menu which La Tête is becoming so renown for, with several dishes marked with a * to denote they are available as part of the special. Some of these include octopus, cucumber & mint; crispy duck, watercress & radishes; carrots, freekeh & goat’s curd; chocolate pot and floating island.
When it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone in dining, by no means should one enter La Tête with a fear for the unknown – Chef Giles perfectly executes the dishes you may not find anywhere else in the city. Some of the more interesting items on the menu include grilled ox heart, lamb liver and chicken hearts, but for those who prefer to stick to what they know, there are some wonderful dishes which form part of the winter special, items such as fish & chips, roast quail, a mussel dish and more. Upon our visit I tucked into the pork cheek with chicory and apple – rich and flavourful.
Part of the beauty I’ve come to realize about the fare at La Tête is that within the dishes there are secret forces at work. My dish, the pork cheek, consisted of three base ingredients as I mentioned before, but there were subtle inclusions within the plate that were not listed on the menu. In this case, a reduction or housemade sauce drizzled over the chicory which was the perfect touch to marry these three ingredients together. I am unsure what this sauce was exactly as it was cleverly minimal, but it certainly was proof of a highly-skilled chef at work.
Dessert is really something you should be making space for here. I opted for the salted chocolate caramel parfait – which lasted on my plate for barely two minutes. The other sweet which forms part of the winter special is a terrific lemon posset, complete with poached rhubarb and shortbread.
When Tuesday – Friday for Lunch, Tuesday – Saturday for Dinner
Where 17 Bree Street, CBD
Cost Winter special; R220 for two courses, R260 for three courses
Contact +27 21 418 1299
Photography Claire Gunn