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The perfect caipirinha

ImageAaah Cape Town in the springtime … restaurants always seem to be at the forefront of the Mother City’s annual revival and reinvention.

For the coolest of cool venues for after-work drinks and light eats, La Parada has come to town!

We were all puffed up and proud when we ‘discovered’ La Parada’s little sister in Kalk Bay earlier this year. We thought it all really ‘authentically’ Spanish (and ourselves very international for saying so).

We loved the atmosphere and enjoyed the food, but were kind of knocked off our stride, if not exactly our chairs, by the familiarity the waitress. I am all for friendliness and warmth, but leaning against my shoulder while taking the order is taking chillax too far.

ImageImagine my surprise then on my visit to the sensational new Bree Street branch when I discovered that leaning seems to be ‘de rigeur’ at La Parada. Fortunately, though, in his case the waiter leant on the table rather than me while taking our order.

We were also a little surprised that he didn’t seem to understand the tapas concept and kept asking if we wanted that ‘as a main course’ … or could it be that we were getting it wrong?

ImageSticking to our own interpretation of tapas, we nibbled our way through various items. Each seemed to be more yummy than the last, with the climax of deliciousness in the prawn croquettes. I was not surprised to hear that the chef, Eva de Jesús, was only recently imported from Spain. No surprise either that she was chef-patron at La Taberna del Alabardero, a 3 Michelin starred restaurant in Madrid.

ImageSpanish omelette: A good choice, especially if you don’t like too many eggs being broken in the making of your omelette. Very tasty with a lovely peppery flavour and containing surprisingly little egg.

Calamari: divinely smokey and oily. Super more-ish (we asked for seconds).

Prawn croquette: exactly the right (light and almost fluffy) consistency of potato and (… add drum roll here please…) wait for the subtle, unmistakeable prawn taste to hit you.

Jamon croquettes: Almost as delicious.

Verdict: Gorgeous food, lovely atmosphere, great location, sensational potential. Staff need training.

 ******** Coming soon  ********

The whispers that the trendsetters from Madame Zingara are wiping the tarty old red from Café Manhattan’s luscious lips and replacing her laddered tights with something more glamorous … whisper whisper gossip gossip … have been confirmed. The new Manhattan opens soon and is sure to be the Coming Out Queen of the 2013 Mother City season.

Local is lekker …

Food porn in the Mother City

ImageCarlyles, Derry Street, Devils Peak: bikers and boobs

Checking out the restaurant scene in Devils Peak after an absence of a few years I was pleased to discover that Carlyles had been given a makeover. The restaurant seems to have always been there but never really appealed to me in the past. I used to be very faithful to Bella Italia just up the road but have been disappointed there once too often recently (once is sometimes too often although I have been more generous here).

The food at Sidewalk Café is consistently good, the cocktails are great and there is usually a good vibe, but there are times when I hanker after a less shiny/glamorous local. (The line between less shiny/glamorous and somewhat dodgy is nicely blurred.)

BigBoy11RTPJudging by the team usually holding the bar counter in position, Carlyles is a great place to pick up a biker type (whether they have bikes or are just biker types is anyone’s guess … altho I did find it quite telling that the only bike parked outside there when I was there was my little Big Boy).

The thing that impressed me most on my most recent visit was the waitress (who shall remain nameless) who had an amazing ‘Boost and Lift’ contraption built into her clothing. Very impressive indeed!  It took me a while to figure it out, but once I had it seemed so obvious.

Once she had her audience figured as being there to salivate over the servers rather than then soufflé she used this hidden device to ‘Boost and Lift’ her tip to devastating effect. At key moments, for example once she had finished seducing us with her lip-smacking delivery of the specials, she put both hands at that point where the lower back meets the buttocks thus activating the device. As she delivered her final line, “That’s all we have in the way of food”, the device neatly and cleanly Lifted and Boosted her lungs.

This continued for a few exciting seconds. Just when I started worrying about an impending wardrobe failure, she lifted her hands off the activating device and in one clean, cunningly executed movement – a coy nose-to-breast head-tuck with a ‘shy’ giggle masking any sound the device might make – she returned the situation to a mere Red Alert.

Oh and the food is decent and reasonably priced too …

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