A Cosy Dinner at La Mouette, Sea Point

My brother loves La Mouette and has been an avid fan for quite some time. He often hosts people from overseas and likes to take them somewhere impressive yet comfortable. With so many restaurants in Cape Town, competition is stiff, but there are a few that always stand out for him that consistently deliver great meals, at a reasonable price. La Mouette, in Sea Point, is one of the restaurants on the top if his list.

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Last year we went there for my Mom’s birthday, but we’d also gone to the Mount Nelson for high tea on the same day. I was pretty full and had already been spoilt that day, which I felt kinda took away from my experience. So I have always been keen to return to La Mouette and really pay attention to their food. I was pleased this winter when Mr John and I managed to pay a visit for their winter set menu, which has two options:

  • 6 course Winter Tasting Menu R395, with wines R665
  • 7 course Winter Tasting Menu R445, with wines R745

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Luckily, it had been a beautiful winter’s day in Cape Town as we made our way to the seaside suburb. We parked (easily) and walked up the hill to the beautiful building. La Mouette is housed in an old beautiful home with wooden floors, high ceilings and iron framed windows. We were warmly welcomed by the host and shown to our table in a cozy corner, next to a pretty bay window.

**Apologies for the low lighting images but I prefer not to use a flash and over expose everything.

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The La Mouette winter special alters all the time. This is so that the ingredients remain fresh, seasonal and available (I hate restaurants who never have half the stuff on the menu!). On this occasion, as pre-starter, we begun our meals with fresh, warm breads, a smoked butter and a seaweed butter. Although I don’t like seafood, I actually liked this weird butter! It was just slightly salty, with a soft flavour. It was unusual and ate more like a spread than butter. The smoked butter was peppery, sweet and charcoaly (not burnt toast like), really good. As you can tell, I’m a sucker for bread and butter, LOL!

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Course 1: Winter Snacks

The first plate I received was the Winter Snacks. This included butternut arancini balls which were a good size and accompanied by whipped goat’s milk ricotta. I loved the orange pop against the charcoal slab, the arancini were perfectly fried, but also the ratio of rice and butternut was good. The whipped goat’s milk ricotta just gave it a slightly sour edge, freshed up by the sprinkling of microherbs. (I love Italian so I was in heaven here.) The winter snacks were served with a Cape Point sauvignon blanc that smelt smokey on first whiff, but was actually smooth and sweet, guava-like. I’m out of love with Sauvignon Blanc at the moment, but this was a perfect pairing.

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The next winter snack was a snapshot of the seaside. Miso brandade, seaweed, crisp and pickled tapioca. The tapioca had a slightly fishy flavour with a lovely crunch that was cool on the palate. The third and final winter snack was the Beef san choy bow, peanuts and coconut. It was wonderfully balanced between being toasty (sesame seeds), spicy from the sweet ginger as the chillied beef, but light in the fresh light crisp leaf. I love ying yang food so these textures and flavours made me happy! I couldn’t, however, pick up the coconut.

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Course 2: Spicy Beef Consomme

This perfectly clear consomme hit me with the flavours: sweet, melon like, salty, ginger, beefy, coriander, peanut crunch, toasty… but then it also has cucumber! This adds such a different dynamic but it TOTALLY works! The coolness of the cucumber with the menthol of the mint plays alongside chilli on the back of the throat. The wine served was the Arendsig, which was quite full bodied, but didn’t overpower the lemongrass or stringy shallots. Very interesting soup that I think would also be beautiful in the summertime when it’s warm out.
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Course 3: Mushrooms on Earth

Wow, this is the dish that has left me with the greatest impression! Mushrooms on Earth is composed of a mushroom soil, mushroom puree, black truffle croquette and salt and pepper chestnuts. Because gourmet cuisine is so technical, sometimes I find it lacks the ‘yum’ factor. It looks good, it’s technically amazing, but I don’t lie in my bed and think about it afterwards. This dish, however, has left me thinking about it often. Mushrooms on Earth had a wonderful smooth croquette with the perfect amount of truffle inside (I’ve realised that my past hate for truffle is because people always over did it until it tasted like metal! And few drops can truly enhance and delight in a mushroom dish). The mushroom puree was the smoothest, most delicious puree I’d ever tasted! They must have passed it through a sieve 5 times! (And why didn’t water come out of the mushrooms?! Boss!) There was also a ponzu gel, which added a citrus based dressing that lightly cut through the richness of the dish.

I love the forresty design. I love the surprise colours revealed inside the black croquette. I loved the fun and snap of the twig tuille – the flavour was just delicious.

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Course 4: Beetroot

Usually this is a seafood course, but because I don’t like seafood the restaurant kindly substituted it with a beetroot dish. I’d say it was a trio of beetroot as they played on the sweet and the savoury side of beets. The plate was warm which meant the gently salted buratta cheese melted and became oozy on the plate – yum! This dish was also super interesting as it had a granola on it which really made a boring cheese plate something so much more. There were rolled pickled beetroot as well as yellow roasted beetroot.

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Course 5: Barbequed Beef Brisket

This was another one of my favourite plates for the night. And I was really getting full at this point which was disappointing and I would have liked to have gobbled it all up in under a minute! The beef brisket was smokey, smokey, smokey! But in, like, a dry charcoaly way – it’s hard to describe but if you think about how meat can be cooked on charcoal or on wood, then you will know what I mean by the meat having a different smokey kind of flavour. There was also black powder char on the plate adding to the barbeque – it’s not southern American sticky ‘bbq’ but rather, braai like. The fermented carrots were sweet, the cauliflower mash light (fantastic edition, over potatoes at this point of the menu when everyone is quite full) and the smoked marrow crumble all perfectly complimented the deeply tender beef. Cooked down for ages so that the fat as broken down (no gelotiney yukkiness here). Beautiful! Heaven (although I didn’t love the actual plate haha).

The fermented carrots were sweet, the cauliflower mash light (fantastic edition, over potatoes at this point of the menu when everyone is quite full) and the smoked marrow crumble all perfectly complimented the deeply tender beef. Cooked down for ages so that the fat as broken down (no gelotiney yukkiness here). Beautiful! Heaven (although I didn’t love the actual plate haha).

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Course 6: Cheese Board

The next available course was a cheese course. Initially, I had ordered it, but I was getting really full at this point and didn’t think I’d be able to finish the whole meal! So I skipped it, but they still sent out a sample to show me what it would include. I don’t like blue cheese so thank goodness I didn’t have to have it! But if you do love cheese, I think you’d really enjoy the La Mouette cheese board (nice for 2 to share actually). At this point I needed a little break before heading onto the final course!

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Course 7: White Chocolate Egg

I LOVE white chocolate and I love the menu said egg – WHO could resist a Masterchef egg crack moment?! Not me! This dessert was a coconut cremeaux, which is a light cream based dessert. Again here I couldn’t pick up the coconut flavour but in the center of the dessert was a liquid, passionfruit center. I took my knife and went straight through the dessert to see the oozy goodness seep out! The passionfruit centre was REALLY sour though so I went between “Hmmm smooth, soft yummy, cremeaux goodness” and spikey blow your head off passionfruit! Here’s my face (am I fine, am I drooling?):La Mouette Restaurant - Sea Point - Boring Cape Town Chick 32La Mouette Restaurant - Sea Point - Boring Cape Town Chick 28

There was also a really blonde honeycomb, which added some crunch. Something on the plate smelt a bit eggy, which I couldn’t quite figure out what it was – I think it might have been the acid of the passionfruit. I’m not a big egg fan so I didn’t like that too much. But the white chocolate was very tasty. There was also a green, smooth cream that I wasn’t sure what it was. It said there was also a peanut and chilli foam, but I didn’t really pick up on those flavours.

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Dessert was paired with the Edelspatz – bird shit! YES! You read right! Ok, let me put this into context. Remember that time my Mom and I visited Delheim for their cupcake and wine pairing? Well it was there that we learnt about their sweet dessert wine. A foreigner came to Delheim (years ago), tasted the dessert wine and said it was the most disgusting “bird shit” she’d ever had! The farmer (what a legend) was proud of his wine and wasn’t prepared to change it in any way and so rather named it Edelspatz – bird shit! La Mouette had paired their dessert with this famous wine.

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La Mouette Service

I must add that the service was really good too. It reminded me of the service I get in Joburg where people are really passionate about what they do and CARE about giving a personable, yet professional service. Well done to the La Mouette team, I really enjoyed chatting to your servers.

In Closing…

Unfortunately, the table has to either have the tasting menu OR A La Carte (they don’t mix the two), so I wasn’t able to see what their ‘normal’ plated food looks like. Personally, I think tasting menus are much more fun so I was happy with my choice. We had a wonderful meal at La Mouette and I will definitely return without hesitation.

PS The Fountain is a PokeStop so Mr John filled up on Pokeballs all night!

Find La Mouette at 78 Regent road, Sea Point main road. It is open for Sunday lunch from 12.00 -3:00 pm and dinners from Tuesday to Sunday, 6:00 – 10.30 pm (kitchen closes at 10pm). It is closed on Mondays.

We enjoyed our meal as guests of La Mouette on our visit. 

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