Manga sushi served with Pongrácz bubbly
A Dreamy Dining Affair at Reverie Social Table Restaurant in Observatory
Turn off your phone and switch on your senses to enjoy a magical culinary experience at this new communal dining concept eatery
In the middle of a room in a rustic building in Observatory lies an exquisite antique wooden table that can seat 18 people. Low-hanging lights with funky exposed cables float above it and a myriad of striking images and an intriguing DIY project (with hanging succulents) adorn the walls that surround it. This is the set-up at Reverie Social Table, a fresh new communal dining concept that is headed by talented chef Julia Hattingh, who invites guests (whether they’re alone, with a partner or a group of friends) to settle around her table and enjoy a dreamy evening filled with good food and wine in a warm and magical space.
The young chef has an extensive history in the food industry. Her love of cuisine stems from watching her grandmother and father cook up a storm in the kitchen as a child, and she learnt invaluable lessons, grasped new techniques and honed a unique style that cannot be put in one specific category during time spent in Paris, London and Franschhoek. Now, in the little suburb of Obs, she delivers a one-of-a-kind dinner experience that incorporates creativity and a large heap of hospitality to serve up a different five-course meal every evening, and diners can expect that all of the plates that land on the table will take them on an unexpected flavourful journey.
“I want to cook my guests something really nice, and I want them to trust me to serve it well,” explains Julia. Part of the trust lies in the fact that visitors play no part in choosing what is to be savoured on a particular evening because there is no à la carte menu. Much like when going to a friend’s house for dinner, patrons just have to leave it all in the host’s hands. Knowing the weight of her responsibility, Julia uses local products and fresh ingredients (she’s big on supporting independent suppliers and wineries) to come up with a diverse range of unforgettable dishes that swing between fine dining and bistro, casual and family-style. As she says, “guests must just come with an open mind and an open stomach and we’re good to go.”
Another thing she asks is for visitors to enjoy the overall focus on social dining. This means that patrons are encouraged to spend less time on their phones and more time interacting with fellow diners. The look and feel of the space sure lends itself to that: on one wall is a mini art exhibition that makes for a great talking point; towards the end of the room is a door that leads into the kitchen and invites guests to check out the preparation process (and to chat to Julia too) and past that is a quaint courtyard that is perfect for stretch and smoke breaks (another opportunity to socialise with other guests).
Ultimately, this concept is about losing yourself for a while in the dreamy world that Julia has created. “Life is out there. When you’re in here, it’s different,” she says. “This is my little state of reverie, and all I’m doing is inviting everyone else to share it with me.”
Tip: If this dinner experience is not your cup of tea, you’ll be pleased to know that the charming venue also opens its doors during the day where patrons can enjoy hot and cold beverages, a signature dish of the day, and free Wi-Fi in a relaxed coffee shop-style environment.
The Bill: The unique dinner experience is priced at R700p/p, and this includes a glass of bubbly on arrival as well as wine paired with all five courses. Booking and payment can be done online at the Reverie Social Table website (www.reverie.capetown).
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday: 11:30am -3pm (lunch only). Dinner starts at 7pm for 7:30pm.
226A Lower Main Road | Observatory | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 447 3219
Note:The Reverie Social Table officially opens its doors on 1 October 2015.
*Images taken by Michael Le Grange and Claire Gunn.
by Dudu Luthuli
Looking for another cool spot in this trendy southern suburb? Here’s the 411 on The Cookie Yard in Observatory.
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