What do you get when you put together a group of old friends, an approaching birthday, delicious food and copious amounts of wine? The answer – a reunion and smashing birthday bash.
I have a group of very special friends who are spread far and wide across continents and sea and this week we were lucky enough to arrange for everyone to be in the same place at the same time for a celebration. We had friends travel from Eshowe in KwaZulu Natal, Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape as well as the birthday boy from Hamburg, Germany, his sister from the UK and a pair love birds from the shores of Spain. And of course – all of the fabulous people who reside in Cape Town. This evening was an opportunity to get kitted out in our finest attire and head down to Somerset Road in Green Point for some fine dining and bit of dancing …
The decision was to do something completely out of the norm, we wanted it lavish, we wanted it over the top and most importantly indulgent. And where better to do so than Pigalle Restaurant? Not only is the decor opulent, but the service impeccable and the food sublime.
For those of you who don’t know, Pigalle Restaurant is a special concept brought to life by Victor Gonçalves with branches in Cape Town and three in Johannesburg (Bedfordview, Sandton and Melrose Arch). The entrance to Pigalle in Cape Town is not off Somerset road as expected, but at the back end of the building.
It is a grand entrance with red carpeted floors with a team of staff who eagerly await your arrival. A warm, welcoming bar is your first taste of Pigalle with a cocktail and wine list that is vast and this makes it tricky to make a decision as to what to drink, however it is also easy to become distracted by the gorgeous decor of chandeliers and magnificent artwork.
This 350-seater restaurant has a private dining room for more intimate functions as well as a smoking room for those who wish to relax on a big leather couch and catch up with good friends. The room is centred around the 3 piece band who treated us to a wonderful selection of music and steadily transformed the relaxed dining atmosphere into an exciting music dance hall during the course of the evening.
Once seated at our table we were introduced to our waiters, who I must add, took exceptional care of the table and attended to our every need. I do need to add a note here though that while they keep filling up your water glasses be aware that this can lead to an unexpected hefty addition to your bill at the end of the night (we had an additional R400 added to our bill for water).
I think the most difficult part of the evening was trying to select what to eat as the menu, although not for everyone’s budget, is vast with a wide selection to choose from. As the staff will tell you Pigalle is renowned for their seafood and there are a number of options you can chose. For those meat lovers out there you will not be disappointed as there are some excellent choices for you.
As our waiter was telling us about the specials and what he would recommend for the evening everyone’s mouth started to water as he described some of their most popular dishes. I was sold on something that is so 1970’s, the prawn cocktail. It arrived in a margarita glass with a base of beetroot, a creamy avocado puree, delightfully plump prawns, a segment of citrus and topped with a dash of caviar.
It was absolutely tasty but it was only the beginning of the feast. I was also lucky enough to try an oyster, which was possibly one of the biggest and freshest oysters I have been lucky enough to slurp down. Some of the other starters that were enjoyed were escargot, grilled calamari and a goats cheese salad. The starters and salads range start at R49 and up to R80 with the majority priced at around R65.
You know you are in a place with great service when you don’t need to ask for another drink or ask when the next course will be ready, time seemed to flow effortlessly that evening and before we knew it our main course had arrived.
The line fish of the day was Kingklip and I decided to have this grilled with a lemon beurre blanc sauce, it was accompanied by a scrumptious basil mash (which I will definitely try to replicate at home), the shocking green colour of the mash was complimented with red onions, pepperdews and baby peas. This was definitely worth the R118 charged for the meal, it looked as good as it tasted.
As is most common with good friends, or certainly in my case, sharing is caring and so it was lovely to be able to taste a few of my friends dishes as well. The baked line fish (R118) was extremely tasty and well presented and as mentioned before meat lovers will not be disappointed. The herb marinated beef fillet (R150) epitomised the expression “like a hot knife through butter”, as this fillet was cooked to perfection and was an absolute star at the dinner table. Main courses range from R118 to R490 for a seafood platter for 2.
Once we had had our fill and were a bit more relaxed the band upped the tempo and it was time to hit the dance floor. Since we were a large table it was the perfect opportunity to fill up your dance card and dance with each and everyone. What fun it was spinning around the floor and having the most fun with your friends. It doesn’t really matter what kind of moves you have it is just a great opportunity to get up and move your body to some smooth sounds from the band.
The band played their last number just after 23h00 although I think a few of us could have danced all night! Dinner was rounded off by some delectable desserts, I would highly recommend adding some butterscotch sauce to your malva pudding when you are next there.
Some important things to remember are that there is a dress code enforced at the door and it is smart. This means a collared shirt and smart shoes, jeans are acceptable. You also need to be prepared for a minimum spend of R150, this is what each person will be charged no matter what they have. So if you only intend to have a starter you will still be charged R150.
What more is there to say besides that I highly recommend an evening at Pigalle, but remember this is not a quick dining experience. You need to ensure you go when you can savour the entire evening, the food is most definitely worth it. And go with people you really care about, it makes the evening that much more memorable.
Thank you friends, you know who you are!
Pigalle Cape Town – 57A Somerset Road, Green Point, +27 (0)21 421-4848.
Pigalle Bedfordview – Shop No 36, Village View Shopping Centre, Cnr. Kloof and Van Buuren Road, +27 (0)11 450-2242.
Pigalle Sandton – Shop U09, 4th floor, Michelangelo Tower, Maude Street, +27 (0)21 884-8899.
Pigalle Melrose Arch – Shop HL48 Level 05/Orange (High Level Street), Corlett Drive, +27 (0)11 684-2711