The Bacon Pop-up Bar in Franschhoek

Whimsical new Cape Winelands restaurant puts pork on a pedestal

Irrefutable 2014 truth: it’s bacon’s breakout year. Whether we have Tim Noakes or the cosmos to thank for the rasher revolution that’s recently hit Cape Town, the fact remains, the subject of pork hasn’t been this hot since good ol’ George Orwell penned Animal Farm.

And its citywide domination has manifested in various forms: we’ve had bacon fests, we’ve had bacon fry-ups, and now, as of June 2014, we’ve got a full-on bacon bar. Perched between other quaint restaurants and boutiques on Franschhoek’s main drag, this quirky pop-up eatery is the brainchild of one crackling-crazed Nikki Friedman, who understands that for many people, like herself, this fabulous foodstuff ranks right up there alongside love and sleep as one of life’s core necessities.

“Bacon is, well....bacon,” says the founder (she also happens to be managing director of Môreson wine farm and the creator of the subscription-based Bacon of the Month Club). “There’s something magical about it...it just makes everything better.”

The whimsical bar, which will be around until about March 2015, fulfils Nikki’s aim of giving pork credibility as its own food group by thrusting visitors into hog heaven from the minute they enter the venue’s front gate. Outlandish and a little irreverent, the décor is like Salvador Dali’s surrealist take on a Porky Pig cartoon – there are golden swines hatching from ostrich eggs, silver boars bathed in neon lighting, small pink hoof prints on the floor, an origami pig curtain in front of one window and even a tongue-in-cheek ‘family wall’ of historical black-and-white prints that have been photobombed with images of bright red rashers.

And of course, every item on the menu, which was conceptualised by Cordon Bleu chef and Countess of Crackling Bianca Davies, features some porky goodness. Not just any pork though; perfectly cured, carefully sourced, one-part-smoky-two-parts-sublime, happy pig-type, artisan pork.

“Remember when you were a child and you tasted bacon for the first time and it was just so good?” Nikki asks rhetorically. “Well, this is about going back to that, to the way you remember it as a kid”.

The dishes change depending on Nikki and her team’s off-the-wall whims but include options like French toast made with bacon bread; roasted pumpkin, bacon and feta salad; bacon, broccoli, coconut milk and chilli soup; free-range beef burgers with bacon and cheddar cheese; bacon-roasted nuts; hog mac and cheese; and even unusual decadent treats like bacon brownies and bacon choc-chip cookies. So, regardless of whether you’re in the mood for something salty or sweet, you can try it with a healthy serving of swine too.

Plus, because the pop-up bar is all about putting pork on a pedestal and celebrating the streaky meat, the portions can be paired with a festive glass of Môreson’s Miss Molly bubbly.

At the end of the day, indulgence is the order of business at this OTT Franschhoek eatery. And because, like any Cape Town fad, the eccentric pop-up bar won’t hang around forever, now is the ideal time to pay it a visit and pig out.

Tip: On the first Friday of every month,the bar hosts a bacon burger, bubbles and beats evening featuring top tunes and great times – just phone ahead to get details. Also, if you’re keen to throw your own party here, the restaurant makes for a wonderfully fun function venue and set menus are available for this purpose.

The Bill: Everyone knows that good pork can be on the costly side, but The Bacon Pop-up Bar team have made every effort to keep prices super reasonable – nothing is over R100.

Opening Hours: Wednesday – Saturday: 8:30am – 5pm; Sunday: 8:30am – 3pm

16 Huguenot Road (between FNB and Le Quartier Français) | Franschhoek | +27 (0) 21 876 8443

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Also a fan of beef? Have a look at our overview of top places to eat steak in Cape Town.

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