With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award
Graciales Restaurant in Constantia
Share enticing plates of food at this new social dining bar in the heart of the Constantia Valley
At Graciales, everything is made to be shared. From the sticky pork belly portion to the chocolate truffle, none of it is meant to be exclusively yours. And while that may be a tough notion to swallow, it is the very thing that has brought this new Constantia Valley restaurant to life.
Launched in April 2015, the fresh eatery joins three other relatively new dining spaces at the Southern Suburbs institution Peddlars & Co (formerly Peddlars on the Bend) as the last addition to an all-in-one culinary destination. This multifaceted concept, which was pioneered by award-winning chef Brad Ball (he joined the Peddlars family in late 2014 after the end of a successful reign at Steenberg’s Bistro’s Sixteen82), gives visitors the chance to enjoy various diverse food experiences under one roof: guests can indulge in classy Italian cuisine at Volaré Ristorante, tuck into pub-style fare at The Local, soak up the sun and relaxed outdoor vibes at The Oak Terrace and take in an exciting, communal atmosphere at the new socialite of the bunch, Graciales.
With a name that combines the Spanish words gracias (‘thank you’) and sociales (‘social’), the latter new eatery, which has a bright, retro colour palette, goes beyond focusing just on food and is rather, in Brad’s words, “very much about the experience in total form”. In line with this, the menu at Graciales defies the norms and serves up grub on small or large plates to encourage communal nibbling and to please all those who believe that a great dish is best enjoyed with equally great company.
Couples can choose from items such as olives and bread, chicharróns (Mexican-style crispy fried pork) and hot sauce, beef tataki (thinly cut beef strips marinated in soya, ginger and chilli) and more. Groups of four can opt for larger mixed boards, some of which feature nosh like sticky pork belly, Vietnamese ribs and patatas bravas. Everything comes off a bold menu that Brad describes as “encompassing flavours from all around the world”, and visitors will also always be kept in suspense as the seasonal offering goes through at least one change per month, which keeps things fresh for both regulars and newbies.
On the other hand, the drink offering favours simplicity by sticking to a classic and traditional approach to cocktails – expect concoctions like the Amarena Old Fashioned, which is made from Fabbri amarena cherries, fresh orange, bitters and bourbon; and the Basil-Melon Daisy, which comprises gin, basil, raspberry jam, melon, lemon juice and soda. In addition, the beverage selection also includes craft beer and wine, which, seeing as the restaurant rests in Constantia, is sourced from the surrounding valley and nearby areas.
Of course, it helps that this entire concept rests on the shoulders of a man who is a god of a cook and who maintains that his biggest reward is “having guests come back over and over again.” Who wouldn’t return though? After all, a place that puts the sharing of food, of conversations, of good times and of laughter at the heart of its offering is sure to make regulars of customers.
Tip: Depending on which side you’re coming from, Peddlars & Co may be easy to miss (for first-timers), so take note that the eatery can be found on the bend of Spaanschemat River Road next to the Constantia Waldorf School.
The Bill: Food at Graciales is reasonably priced: small plates sit between R38 and R88, large plates are priced at R180 each and the dessert platter is R45. As for the drinks, cocktails range from R55 to R72, craft beers start at R40 and go up to R52 and wines are priced from R41 to R89 per glass and from R115 to R315 per bottle.
Opening Hours: Monday – Thursday: 3pm – 11pm; Friday – Sunday: 12pm – 11pm
Peddlars & Co | Spaanschemat River Road | Constantia Valley | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 794 7747
To discover what else is in the Southern Suburbs area, have a gander at our round up of Restaurants at Wine Estates in Groot Constantia.
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