NV-80 Grill & Bar in Cape Town

The slick new surf and turf restaurant that’s the latest jewel in Sea Point’s culinary crown

The beachfront suburb of Sea Point has added yet another feather to its culinary cap with the January 2014 addition of NV-80 Grill & Bar. The house of steak and seafood is among the first wave of businesses in the new-and-improved Checkers shopping centre (known as The Point), and it joins other recent neighbourhood add-ons, like Engruna Eatery, in bolstering the area’s fast and furiously developing restaurant scene.

And considering that the haunt is owned by Victor and Naldo Gonçalves, the visionary brothers behind highly successful, long-standing fine dining restaurant group Pigalle, it’s no great surprise that the fresh-faced NV-80 is already quickly becoming the talk of the town. Unlike its fancy Somerset Road sibling though, the Atlantic Seaboard grillhouse tones things down ever so slightly to better embrace the city’s laidback side.

“Cape Town has a holiday feel about it; the city loves relaxed eateries,” says an impassioned Victor, who claims 34 years in the business (the ‘V’ in NV-80 is a reference to his name, and the ‘N’ is a tribute to Naldo). “So we thought we’d make sure that our next spot would focus on going back to the basics.”

While the sophisticated yet understated interior design of the restaurant does this well, it’s the fresh grilled fare that really showcases this objective successfully. All of the dishes on the lunch and dinner menus are well presented yet uncomplicated, letting the natural flavours of the ingredients speak for themselves, without being hidden behind a mass of mousses and foams.

This emphasis on the fundamental building blocks doesn’t mean a drop in quality though. The gifted kitchen team is devoted to sending out only the juiciest of steaks and freshest of salads, and Victor swears that one of the key chefs, who’s been with him and Naldo for a whopping 33 years, has gotten grilling – be it of beef, chicken, fish or prawns – down to a fine art.

“He’s a meat technician,” says Victor proudly. “He just understands the psychology of grilling; it’s like he nurtures the steak or fish to perfection.”

So, according to the co-owner, it doesn’t matter whether guests try the tender, aged rib-eye, the peri-peri baby chicken, the baby kingklip with risotto and vegetables or the langoustines grilled in lemon, garlic, chilli and parsley, they’re guaranteed a great meal.

And visitors won’t be left wanting on the drinks side either. The big central bar is home to an impressive spread of local wines, a few Méthode Cap Classiques (MCC), a French Champagne or two (Moët goes for an unheard-of R500 a bottle) and a selection of both standard and inventive cocktails, including the summery Bottega Lemon-Cello Mojito.

In fact, though first and foremost a surf and turf restaurant, NV-80 is also a prime sundowner spot, boasting both a light and airy Cuba meets Miami-inspired interior – it’s dotted with palm trees and awash with fresh green hues – and a huge alfresco balcony that looks out onto the buzzing streets of Sea Point and Lion’s Head beyond. Plus, it dishes up tasty oysters that go down a treat with a bit of bubbly.

So, at the end of the day, NV-80 is all about enjoying the fine things in life in a slick yet unfussy environment. It’s this seamless marriage of sophistication and simplicity that makes the eatery a top new member of Sea Point’s evolving culinary landscape.

Tip: Match your meat with one of the restaurant’s interesting side dishes. The menu includes options like dauphinoise potatoes, lentilles du puy, wild mushroom linguine and roast vegetables.

The Bill: Prices reflect what you would expect from a quality steak and seafood house. Salads sit between R55 and R75, grilled meats cost from R120 to R150, shellfish ranges from R90 to R320 (for a platter), fish averages around R140 and desserts are priced between 40 and R45. As far as booze is concerned, wine goes for between R35 and R40 a glass, MCC rings in at R40 a glass and, as mentioned, Moët & Chandon is R500 a bottle.

Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 11:30am – 3:30pm; 6pm – 10:30pm; Friday – Saturday: 11:30am – 3:30pm; 6pm – 11pm

Shop 8 | First Floor | The Point | 76 Regent Road | Sea Point | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 439 7112

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Read about another relatively new addition to the Sea Point area, Engruna Eatery.

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