Ah, Pigalle. One of Cape Town’s more infamous restaurants, everyone know’s it’s the spot to hit up for a delicious dinner with a dash of Portuguese flavour followed by a little whirl around their dance floor. They also boast a classic cigar lounge and private dining room that’s pretty much always booked out. In fact, the restaurant’s genuinely charming co-owner Victor Goncalves told me they often used as a wedding venue.
Anyway, I was recently invited by the restaurant to pop in and try their new autumn/winter menu and didn’t hesitate to say yes. The last time I’d been there I had one of the Best Steak’s Ever so it translated into the easiest gig in the world. Go to a place I already know to be awesome so I can continue to tell people how awesome it is? Yes, please!
I’d only ever been to Pigalle at night where I was wowed by high ceilings, twinkling chandeliers and lush carpeting and wondered if it would still have its charm in the day. Happily, it sooo does and is possibly even more impressive in that you can see how truly enormous the space is. Light streams in through the windows overlooking Green Point main road, cutlery twinkles on white table tops and everything’s as neat as a pin.
As far as food goes, every single thing that passed myself and my ‘date’s’ lips (dear old Karisa) was utterly delicious, from the pillow-soft bread (served with real butter and a seriously good peri-peri sauce) to our shared warm malva pudding served with a chocolate spoon. (In our case, it came with two spoons to avoid a fight to the death but Karisa ended up eating both of them regardless because she’s a horrible person and we hate her now.) But ja, I’m rambling here… let me lay out what you really need to know.
A) Pigalle’s food is amazing and you want, want, want it.
B) They’re running an incredible special so you can get, get, get it at a price that won’t cause your credit card to wince as you swipe it. Ready for it?
Any 2 courses for R210 and R250 with wines Any 3 courses for R240 and R290 with wines!
To kick off our taste adventure, we ordered the oysters and calamari from the special menu and then threw in a beef trinchado from the a la carte menu as Karisa had tried it before and was a major fan.
I loved that the oysters were utterly enormous and the calamari just melted in your mouth. As for the ultra tender trinchado… ooooh boy, was that a winner. I totally wished that I hadn’t wolfed down all my bread on arrival ‘cos it came with a creamy, spicy sauce that I’d totally have licked off the plate if I wasn’t in such a classy venue. (Okay, okay, so I totally licked the plate. But nobody saw me. I hope.)
Moving on to mains – Karisa’s Balsamic beef fillet arrived and it was huge. She mumbled something about how she’d never be able to finish it and then ‘poof!’ it was gone. Luckily, I’d managed to get in a few bites before she obliterated it so I can tell you the meat could be cut with a butter knife and went down like a bomb on a fork full of velvety mustard mash, wilted spinach and dark, sticky Balsamic beef jus – enough to enhance every mouthful!
As for me, I ordered up the lamp cutlets and mustard mash as I’ve been on a crazy lamb spree ever since rediscovering it at Taste of Cape Town. (Can we all just agree that Cosecha’s lamb barbacoa was the best thing there?) Pigalle’s chops were big and plump and juicy with lots of soft, tasty lean meat to satisfy a girl like me who pops out the centres and leaves the fat behind. I took great glee in dumping them in the mint jelly (the only way to eat them) and quickly decided they’re best-tasting chops I’ve had in years and years and years. And know that this comes from the granddaughter of a Karoo sheep farmer who grew up dining on the finest lamb and game the way other children eat chicken nuggets.
Afterwards, as Karisa and I rolled out to the car, our convo included ‘Thank God we wore eating pants!’, ‘Hot damn, their meat is good!’, ‘How on earth are they making money off of that special?’ and ‘I totally have to come back with x, y and z. They’re going to love, love, love it!’
Pigalle, thank you so much for a truly decadent lunch. I really did try hard to find something – anything – that I could critique you on just to ensure readers know I’m not the type to slavishly deliver compliments to whoever’s feeding me. But the fact is every aspect of your meal rocked my world and you can bet your fancy li’l chocolate spoons that I’ll be back.