Re:public Restaurant, Bar and Lounge in Cape Town

Meet Hout Bay’s swish new neighbourhood haunt

With some of the most spectacular views in Cape Town, a constellation of fine seafood eateries, a buzzing weekend market and the rustic charm of an old fishing village, Hout Bay already holds significant pull with locals and visitors alike. But even with all of its talking points, for years, there wasn’t much to say about the quaint satellite suburb after dark. Now, trendy new restaurant, bar and lounge Re:public – it opened on 3 May 2013 – is committed to completing the picture.

Quite unlike anything else in the area, the upscale spot was founded by long-term partners and international DJs Leigh Steven-Jennings and Gareth Rossi, who, on their return to SA after years spent working around the globe, noticed that the pretty coastal town was seriously in need of a contemporary space for the hip, young crowd to wine, dine, sit back and socialise after the daytime bistros and bazaars close.

Needless to say, what’s evolved from the worldly couple’s recognition that Hout Bay was lacking an essential ingredient is a cosmopolitan venue that’s as ideal for those looking to sip on inventive cocktails and sway to some lazy tunes as it is for those eager to share a snack with friends or sit back and send a few emails.

Though it boasts a few different spaces (the main restaurant section, a stained oak bar, a balcony, a Moroccan daybed corner and a raised VIP lounge), what holds the spacious spot together is a stylish, earthy aesthetic – the founders were inspired by their global travels – and a focus on eco-friendly design.

That is, in an effort to craft a setting that’s warm and inviting where customers can, as Leigh says, “feel home away from home”, the owners have steered clear of a pristine, clinical look and instead incorporated green elements like reclaimed wood, used wine barrels, tree branches and cork lights.

But the natural emphasis isn’t limited to the décor; the menu, which changes every few weeks, is as wholesome and honest as they come too.  Using organic, raw ingredients (there’s no deep frying here), the kitchen conjures up nutritious, sophisticated options for morning, noon and night.

Breakfast is served all day and features highlights like Miso Soup (the perfect hangover cure), Steak Egg Panini and the signature Angel Brunch (organic potato rösti topped with wilted baby spinach, balsamic-glazed tomatoes, baby mushrooms, Parma ham and two poached eggs); and the lunch spread is equally moreish, boasting dishes like Smoked Snoek Quiche, homemade chickpea falafel pita and free-range peri-peri chicken livers.

Dinner, however, works slightly differently, with an offering that more closely reflects the founders’ aim to provide guests with a relaxed, communal dining experience that capitalises on the joys of social eating.

“There’s something special about home get-togethers when everyone’s sitting around a big table and sharing and laughing and just feeling close and connected,” says Leigh. “This is what we’re striving to give guests.”

Hence, alongside offering a range of delicious tasting platters of pâtés, pestos, cheeses and more (these are available earlier in the day too), the restaurant also encourages patrons to order bowls of organic vegetables and salads for the table to accompany individual mains of grilled black tiger prawns, pan-fried Norwegian salmon, free-range seared fillet and other delicious meat options.

Though, really, there’s no better accompaniment than a designer cocktail (a gifted mixologist has developed an entirely unique range), quality craft beer or glass of organic local wine from the bar’s premium selection. Whether enjoyed with a good meal, a web session by day (there’s free Wi-fi) or some chilled-out grooves at night (top local DJs play on Friday and Saturday evenings), a drink at this chic spot completes an all-round enjoyable experience.

Needless to say, this new world-class restaurant, bar and lounge is certainly successfully filling a void in Cape Town’s resplendent ‘Republic’ of Hout Bay.

Tip: Re:public runs great food and drinks specials on select nights. On Thursday evenings between 5pm and 8pm, guests can tuck into a gourmet burger or pita and free premium pint for R65; on Fridays from 4pm to 7pm, mojito cocktails go for R25; on Saturdays from 4pm to 7pm, patrons can sip on a double gin and mix for only R30; and on Sundays from 12pm to 4pm, diners can indulge in a two-course roast special that features succulent free-range Karoo lamb accompanied by vegetables, roast potatoes, homemade gravy and mint sauce and a dessert of sweet malva pudding and Italian vanilla gelato, all for R100p/p.

The Bill: Prices reflect the upscale ambience without being too exorbitant. Breakfasts range from about R28 to R80, lunch options sit between R55 and R85, platters cost R90 (small) or R120 (large) and mains run from R75 to R160.

Opening Hours: Thursday – Sunday: 11am – 2am (breakfast: all day; lunch: noon – sunset; dinner: sunset – 10pm)

44 Victoria Avenue | Hout Bay | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 790 7829

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Read more about Cape Town’s charming fishing village Hout Bay. And to find out about other fresh spots that have recently launched in the Mother City, have a gander at our overview of new restaurants, bars, shops and more in Cape Town.

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