I had a little rant on Instagram the other day. I generally keep below the radar but lately I have been feeling like the restaurant industry is having a laugh. The latest Cape Town Winter Restaurant Specials are hitting the internet and I am finding them… disappointing. I’m not sure what your disposable income situation is looking like – but a three course lunch for R425 does not feel very special to me??
I get sent emails from well meaning PR companies about three courses for R325. That seems pretty normal to me… Why is that special? Why should I be wasting your time pushing a special I wouldn’t spend my money on. In response I am putting together my super honest list of kick ass winter specials where I have actually spent my money. My list is a lot shorter than what you may find elsewhere but each one is special and not just a PR stunt trying to save Cape Town restaurants from off-peak season.
Without anymore ranting, here is my list:
The Super Special Cape Town Winter Restaurant Specials
1) Cheyne’s Yum Cha menu
I have been the biggest fan of Cheyne’s food for a very long time. I have written about them before over here. And I love his other restaurants: Lucky Bao for baos and yakatoris and Shio which is Cheyne’s for the CBD! His menu is Pacific Rim cuisine but I don’t really know what that means- so I go with Asian Fusion with a good measure of magic thrown in.
The winter special is three dishes for R150 which is more than enough food. We order six dishes between the two of us and share everything. If you want to include another dish it is only R50 more- this might be a good idea to add in a dessert dish for extra indulgence! The full menu is available but some of the more pricier options come with a surcharge.
2) Kyoto Garden Sushi
I love Kyoto Garden Sushi for their elegant food and they make for an incredible dining experience. However, they are unfortunately a pretty pricey restaurant which makes their affordable winter special all the more special! I have written about their winter special before and how much we loved the experience. Often a winter special menu includes a bunch of less popular dishes and budget options whereas Kyoto picks the highlights from their menu!
This year they are offering three courses and a glass of wine for just R220. Starters are a choice of tuna tartar or veg tempura, mains are duck ramen or sushi and japanese ice cream to finish! The tuna tartar is one of my go to dishes when visiting. And the ramen these guys are making is sensational! However, if you have never tried Kyoto’s sushi make sure to order it!
3) La Mouette’s Winter Menu
I often get asked for restaurant recommendations. One of the most common is – we’re celebrating a special occasion but don’t have a lot of money to spend. Every single time I recommend La Mouette. La Mouette is a classy dame in Sea Point that offers a seasonal tasting menu at an affordable price. This is true all year round but especially in winter at R295 for 5 courses! We popped round for a Sunday lunch in May and they remain as good as I remember.
Special mention must go out to the vegetarian options on the tasting menu which I always order despite not being a vegetarian. I really appreciate a restaurant that makes as much effort with their vegetable based dishes as their meat dishes.
4) La Tête’s winter special
I’m going to continue with the honesty policy. I have visited La Tête for dinner. And goodness did we not enjoy the experience. I can’t even remember what I order but that I can recall being faced with a plate of cold fat. And the service was absolutely appalling. However, almost everyone I respect in the restaurant industry absolutely loves this restaurant! This puts me in a sticky situation! We really want to give La Tête a second chance but don’t want to spend money on another bad experience.
This is where the winter special comes in! If La Tête is as good as everyone says, then this is a damn fine special. You can try three of their dishes for R220 and on Wednesday they’ll include a complimentary glass of wine from their featured winery of the week. I will be making a booking for a Wednesday this June! And feedback will promptly follow!
Other Cape Town Specials I am excited about
Winter doesn’t last forever and I am always looking for delicious food that doesn’t break the bank. I thought I would share some of my favourite specials at restaurants that we really love!
1) Jack Black Brewery Wednesday Burger Special
If you’ve been following the blog you will know that I am a huge fan of Jack Black Brewery’s tap room and wrote extensively about our many lunches with them. They’re offering 2-4-1 burgers every Wednesday. I love their beef burger and was lucky enough to eat one this Saturday past- it’s still as good as I remember! Their special includes the beef, pulled pork, chicken and veggie burgers. Something for everyone! Pull through for a burger and a beer.
2) Curry night at Mink and Trout
Mink and Trout is offering a starter, main dish and a dessert for R99 per person. The starters include samosas, onion baji or papadums. And mains include butter chicken curry, Cape Malay mussel and fish curry, pork penang or a cauliflower korma. The curry menu sounds absolutely delicious and I am already struggling to chose. For full details of their curry night and the menu head to their website over here.
The only catch is the timing- you need to book dinner for the 6pm or 8:30pm slot. One is unfortunately way too early and the other too late for a “school night”. I haven’t personally tried this special but I’ve booked to go for dinner this Tuesday coming. And will report back!
3) 2-4-1 Pizza at Hail Pizza
Another special where I have loved their food but always paid full price. I’m definitely making a plan to visit Hail Pizza on Wednesday from 6pm to 8pm for their 2-for-1 pizza special. I love their Ciao Bella which is creme fraiche, caramelised onions, lardons and two eggs.
4) Hudson’s Happy Hour
This is an oldie but a goodie. I have been a fan of the Hudson’s happy hour since university. We used to spend Thursday sitting in the sunshine knocking back Granadilla Mojitos and bacon chilli poppers. I’m now all grown up, so I smash the Berry Press with calzoncini ;). I know this recommendation makes me super basic- but ya know what – it’s a damn classic! Half price cocktails and starters from 4:30pm to 6:30pm every weekday.
5) Manga 2-4-1 sushi
We discovered Manga sushi through the Entertain which offers 2-4-1 deals. But if you’re not using that handy little app you should definitely visit on Tuesdays when it is two for one on their sushi! Our favourites were the Manga Rainbow Reloaded and their salmon roses but the full blog post is linked over here.
6) SeaBreeze Happy Hour
Every day (including weekends), from 12pm – 1pm and 5pm – 6pm, SeaBreeze oysters are R10 each. If you’re a big oyster fan you won’t be able to resist these beauties at R10 a pop! We joined them for a sunny winter Saturday and started with these oysters and cocktails before ordering another round with a bottle of bubbles! Their food is delicious and I would highly recommend joining them for lunch or dinner after you happy hour oysters.
7) El Burro Newlands 2-4-1 Mondays
I love El Burro’s food – from their first spot in Green Point to the Taqueria on Kloof and their gorgeous spot in Newlands. They have juuuust posted on Instagram that El Burro Newlands will have two for one on their main courses on Mondays after 5pm. Nothing fixes a Monday quicker than tacos from El Burro. I am really looking forward to trying out this special soon!