There have been 3 occasions when I have heard about Pigelle. 1) My friend, who often didn’t get on with her Mother, was forced to go to family dinners there with said Mother. 2) My brother’s played in the band there. 3) Once I gave a guy a lift home who worked at Pigelle. Random, but true. So I really didn’t know what to expect when I was invited to visit for their winter special.
Mr Love and I arrived and found a parking outside and smugly rushed to the steps, only to be told by the bouncer that that was no longer the entrance. Woaw woawwww. So we drove around the building and parked in a safer place for R10. In hindsight, the second parking was way safer and more pleasant to use.
We entered the Pigalle building via a red carpet, noting the Mumm Champagne wall (does that mean events? People want special photographs of their evening?) and a bright, iron chandelier above us. We were warmly greeted by the hostess who ushered us in and showed us to our seats.
Pigalle was nothing like I had anticipated. I knew that it could hold up to 300 people, but I was expecting it to be FAR more cramped by the looks of the outside building – I never imaged it to be so spacious and open. Nor did I realise the live band was to provide music for a dance floor where diners are encouraged to dance!
Once shown to our seats, when I sat down it was like there were mini people in my chair boxing my butt! So I had to switch chairs as it was most uncomfortable. Luckily, Pigalle prides itself on silver service and I was helped with no fuss. I was little overwhelmed by the silver service initially as I had not anticipated it to be so attentive (what service ever is), but enjoyed it as the night went on. Taking in the ambiance of the venue, I began to feel like I was on a Dirty Dancing cruise ship. Pigalle has a dreamy tone with the low lighting, rich carpets & wide space. The venue has a touch of Andy Warhol type art, which adds a modern spin to the venue.
We were there for the winter special, which is running until the end of August and offers a two course meal for R210 (with wines, R250) and three course meal for R240 (with wines, R290). Pigalle’s Winter Specials are available from Mondays to Thursdays (dinner only) and Tuesdays to Fridays (lunch only). I didn’t know there was a set wine so just ordered something from the menu which ended up costing me R150, so don’t make that mistake!
Many of the diners were dressed smartly and I was sorry that I hadn’t known about the dress code, otherwise I too may have been tempted to wear a gown. What a wonderful surprise to find a venue that encourages patrons to dress for their special occasions. Yes, I know it’s old school but is it so bad for people want to celebrate and dress well for an occasion? I feel it is a bit of a lost art. Not everyone was dressed up, but it was wonderful to see the people who had.
Pigalle is known for its seafood platters, which did look incredible as they went past. But, since I dislike seafood, I ordered the beef carpaccio for a starter. A beautiful deconstructed carpaccio salad arrived with soft beetroot, fresh rocket, capers, watercress and a parmesan tuile. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I noted that the oysters were from Namibia so I ordered one (just to try eat seafood). The Macedonian manager taught me that it’s not the width of the oyster that matters, but rather the depth. Apart from the chip of shell that fell in during shucking, it was the best oyster I’d ever had. SUPER creamy and served with fresh sweet chilli sauce and the usual condiments. If you love oysters, you really should have the oysters at Pigalle.
For mains I had lamb shank. I was assured it wasn’t too big and was a fine size for women to tackle. The meat was really tender and delicious. They also didn’t ruin the vegetables, which I’ve successfully been overcooking at home all winter. I did have a chuckle at the piped mash and eighties curly parsley that was used, but enjoyed the meal.
Mr Love had the beef fillet and was distraught to see it smothered in onions when it arrived! So if you have someone who doesn’t like onions in your family, take note of this. The meat was super tender and delicious and the chips were not oily and ‘slap’ either. Delicious overall.
Before our dessert course the manager kindly showed us around the venue, which included separate dining areas for larger groups or business dinners. Pigalle has a smoking room that patrons are welcome to use throughout the evening.
The main feature (apart from the food) is the Pigalle dancefloor, which hosts a live band with some of the Cape’s best soul artists. On this occasion Richard Caeser was performing with a 2 piece band, playing old and current soul and pop hits. Patrons are welcome to dance (when it suits them) and it was really fun to see couples dancing together (no club bumping and grinding, MTV action) enjoying a decent night out.
Once we’d completed our short tour, we returned to our table for dessert. Mr Love ordered the trio of sorbets while I had the chocolate mouse. I thought it being served in a champagne glass was a little bit silly but the flavour was deep, rich and delicious.
I really enjoyed my evening at Pigalle. I felt like I was somewhere out of town and anywhere that can give me a new experience, I will always enjoy. Book an evening at Pigalle and enjoy their winter special which is really reasonable.
If you’ve visited Pigalle, please feel free to leave a comment on your experience below 🙂