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Cascades on the Promenade in Sea Point
It’s all about top quality dishes at this pet-friendly bistro on the Atlantic Seaboard
Whether you’re taking your furry companion for a coffee, wanting a post-Promenade jog meal or just in the mood for some freshly made cuisine, the eatery at Cascades on the Promenade in Sea Point is the bistro for you. And if that doesn’t sound sufficiently inviting, well perhaps the fact that co-owner Els Deschouwer claims to have the best steak tartare in the Mother City will entice you to channel your inner foodie, pay the restaurant a visit and test such a bold declaration.
Located just a seagull’s flap from the ocean, Cascades is owned and managed by Els and her business partner, Luc, who first moved to the Mother City 20 years ago from Belgium after running a number of hotels in Europe.
The corner eatery, with its lemon-tinted designer chairs, is housed in a renovated 100-year-old Cape Dutch-style building that’s now home to the owners' newest venture, a cutting-edge boutique hotel. The traditional white of the Cape Dutch style has been swapped for a more modern and trendier charcoal finish that combines with the colourful seating to draw you to the aesthetics like a moth to an upmarket, four-star flame.
But don’t let the upscale appearance deceive you. The menu is surprisingly affordable, and Els, a self-taught chef and the kitchen’s recipe curator, describes the dishes on offer as “honest food”.
“Honest food, in our opinion, starts with using fresh and seasonal ingredients. We don’t cut down on what goes in the pasta, and we don’t cut down on the best tomatoes and the best Parmesan cheese...; we only prepare for one day, maybe two days - nothing is frozen or stays in the freezer.”
In short, the bistro prides itself on only using ingredients of the highest quality, so pastries won’t be generic supermarket variations and salads won’t be wilting. In fact, the menu asks patrons to allow for 20 minutes preparation time, as the kitchen only prepares dishes as they are ordered.
Needless to say, with its reasonable prices, immaculate design and uncompromising devotion to the best produce, it’s easy to see why Cascades on the Promenade is quickly earning a reputation as one of the Mother City’s best hidden gems.
For early-birds, late risers and the committed (or just crazy) Promenade joggers.
The menu offers everything from traditional eggs Benedict and an omelette Atlantic loaded with chives and salmon to the best Italian coffee. And depending on your chosen position on the patio, you can view the glistening ebb and flow of the ocean while tucking in and mentally preparing yourself for the day ahead. Faithful pets/ jogging companions are more than welcome too, and at any given time you are likely to see a perfectly manicured pooch on the porch so polished and put together it probably has a trust fund. Not to mention, if you are a late riser, you can still get your eggs and bacon fix as the eatery serves breakfast until 4pm.
Of chicken pie, twice-baked cheese soufflé and a Desperate Housewife.
It’s often said that “a life without cheese is no life at all”. Okay, so perhaps that is a personal mantra, but if you have similar feelings, then Cascades on the Promenade has the ideal lunch option for you in the form of a twice-baked cheese soufflé; combining fragrant gorgonzola and imported Gruyère, the dish is balanced with a leafy salad, fruit relish and a balsamic reduction. Alternatively, you can opt for the famous chicken pie: think well-seasoned ragout, leeks and mushrooms served with french fries, aioli and a side salad.
Other popular items on offer include a number of tartines (French for ‘open sandwich’), like a Caesar option with avocado and brie cheese and a Desperate Housewife option (inspired by some of the regulars perhaps?) with ricotta cheese, sautéed mushrooms and roma tomatoes.
But what would a bistro be without a selection of mouth-watering burgers? With classic beef, Karoo lamb and Indonesian chicken options, there is something for everyone.
Fancy a spot of dinner at a fancy spot?
The cosy bistro interior, lit by a number of oddly-shaped designer light fixtures (they are apparently priced in the thousands - so perhaps they also provide a flattering Instagram filter?), makes for an unassuming space to enjoy dinner options like grilled Patagonian calamari tubes, slow-braised lamb shank and, of course, the soon-to-be famous steak tartare. The wine list boasts Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage and Merlot from esteemed estates like Dornier Wine Estate as well as selections from Kleine Zalze and Diemersdal.
So, whether you’re keen to fill up after a jog, meet a desperate housewife for lunch or settle in for a snug night, head to Cascades on the Promenade in Sea Point for a sunrise-to-sunset experience.
Tip: For the owners, “honest food” also means rather generous portions, so if you want more bang for your buck, Cascades on the Promenade is for you! Also, the free Wi-fi is an added bonus.
The Bill: Suitable for nearly any budget. Breakfast options run from R30 to R78, the bistro lunch menu’s dishes ring in between R48 and R120 and dinner prices range from R60 to R130.
by Gary Hartley
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