Last week I was kindly invited to a special new restaurant that I’d had my eye on via Twitter for a few weeks. The name of the venue: Spasie. Sounds intimate and South African which piqued my interest. I made my way to Town but had some trouble finding it. I knew it was in Church street and that it was underground – not exactly the ‘signboard’ for flashing lights and fluorescent signs, which is a good thing.
Spacie is a contemporary clandestine retreat, which adds to the intrigue. Behind the rolled up garage door and black metal gates (that looks so much like an entrance to a Woodstock workshop or car park) is home to the semi underground [Spacie].Upon entry, a number of visitors were relaxing with a cocktail. The instant feeling of, “Oh God! Where’s the PR who invited me here!?”entered my mind, but before I could panic in classic female form, a server kindly approached me. I was welcomed and offered a drink which I gladly accepted. I was happy to find Sbosh: my new media event acquaintance who does a number of fun media jobs (catch her on KFM) and is a gorgeous girl. Just as I was catching up with her the maitre d for the evening, invited us into the dining area.
Before slipping through the large wooden doors, I quickly took a snapshot of the chefs at work. It’s always wonderful to gaze over the kitchen, searching for clues like I’m spying on a witch’s brew and bottles for ingredients. Once we were seated at Spacie’s dining room table, yes – there’s just 1 long table, the menu was presented in front of me so my kitchen curiosity had been in vain!
[Spasie] encourages patrons to meet others by kindly introducing your neighbours before you are seated. I sat next to Greg, a wonderful American gentleman, and Mikaela, a german tourist visiting Cape Town; both who were equally as charming and who I had a truly wonderful evening with at Spasie.
Our first taste at Spasie was simple bread and butter. I know that doesn’t seem much to mention but I’m not a pudding person. Bread and butter (especially because I have high cholesterol) is my pure joy.
JP, our maitre d welcomed us to the venue and introduced us to the featured chef of the evening, Craig Cormack of Ellerman House, Cape Grace and Overture fame. (Mr Love & I had Overture at the Taste Festival 2008 on our first date!) Craig told us a little about the menu and asked Nicole of Damn Fine Wines to explain a little more about the pairing she had helped provide from Star Hill Wines.
Our amuse-bouche was delectable asparagus. I’ve been grilling it on the stove top of late which gives it a woody flavour but these were…not sure! They were crunchy, juicy, al dente, perfection. With a poached quail egg and toasted almonds…I could have had 5 bowls of it!
The starter for the evening was a smoked chicken salad with butternet and risotto balls. I’m not sure if they ran out of risotto balls or gave me an extra half portion! Greg asked for more risotto balls but more never arrived haha They were perfectly fried. The chicken was very lightly smoked and I think may have been suveed as they were SO juicy! I wouldn’t have mined a stronger smoked taste & a pinch of seasoning more (there was on the table, have no idea why I didn’t use it!). The touch of cumin in the puree was a lovely addition.For mains we had perfectly cooked springbok loin with spätzle. I’ve made spätzle at home and these ones were a funny shape, I initially thought they were gnocci! Usually the dough is put on a board and flash dipped into boiling water and then cut and dropped into the water. These guys were lopsided HAHA! But they tasted great none the less. My favourite part of the dish was the sauce. Of course the meat was tender and juicy but the sauce paired so beautifully with the game-y flavour, without overpowering it. Wonderful.
The grand finale of the dinner was the out of this world dessert – churros and chocolate sauce, a chocolate brownie smear and dark chocolate ice cream. HOLY MACKEREL! This was INCREDIBLE! I could literally eat that every day too! Wow, wow, wow. My new German friend Michaela also died a little bit it was so good.
The Star Hill wines that were paired with the meal were gorgeous. My favourite was the chenin blanc, which was gently caramel like in taste, not too sweet. Absolutely delicious. The red wine drinkers at the table also raved about the red wine (I prefer white). I’d love a case of some Star Hill so definitely take a look out for the brand.
While I sat at Spasie enjoying the environment it dawned on me just how romantic the venue is. If you’re newly dating and you want to learn more about your new love, take them to Spasie. It gives guests the opportunity to show the best (and worst of themselves). If your date gets hammered or sits and sulks and doesn’t make an effort, maybe they’re not for you? On the other hand – if they take the time to chat to new people, laugh and be merry under the golden lighting, enjoy the beautiful food in a relaxed and beautiful environment then may be them (and Spasie) are for you. Thank you to Spasie for the invitation and the wonderful evening out.
Cost: R650 including 4 courses and wine.