When it comes to eating out, I like to pick at a whole bunch of different things instead of sitting in front of just one, big ‘bord kos’. For this reason, tapas is ideal, but Cape Town seldom gets it right. Most of the time the portions are so big and thus expensive (or worse – super tiny and still expensive) that by the time you’ve picked out 3 plates you’re verging on bankruptcy.
This is why I like Sotano on Bree and their pintxos. For those of you who haven’t head of pintxos, these are kind of like ‘baby tapas’ – little bite-sized snacks served directly from the bar, the same way they do it in San Sebastian where the concept originated. Also, pintxos are pronounced ‘peen-chos’. Derived from the Spanish word for ‘pierce’, that’s literally what it involves – something yummy that’s typically skewered by a large toothpick.
But ja. Let’s get back to Sotano on Bree. The spot has a really nice, chilled vibe going on. It’s a nice place to meet friends after work and you wouldn’t care if your eye shadow was starting to crease. I’m not saying it’s a lounge for swamp donkeys. Just that it’s not blerrie La Parada where some dronk Instagram girl in a spray-on dress and tassel earrings is going to be grinding up against a bunch of suits while you’re trying to eat your goddam prego.
Pintxos-wise, they’re all sitting on the bar so you just go up and point while being amazed at how affordable everything is. Prices range from R8 to R50. Most of what’s on offer are cold but they have a few hot things too including two made to order dishes – a wild mushroom dish I’ll chat about in a bit and a beef shin mash (R35).
Of everything I tried I was most impressed with the calimaricone (R25) which is exactly what it sounds like – a cone full of melt-in-your-mouth calamari rings covered in a crispy salt and pepper batter that sounds boring and blah but tastes amaze. I can’t wait to go back for another.
The ham and cheese croquette (R15) is also delicious (the hake version, not so much).
I really enjoyed the wild mushroom and egg yolks (R35). It’s got a truffly flavour, but still made me think made me think it could be a nice substitute for a steak tartare if I ever became a vegetarian.
The olive and feta-stuffed pepperdew skewers (R8) are great! I shoulda picked out two of those and regret not trying the ‘Gilda’ – white anchovy, red pepper and green olive, also just R8.
Last but not least, let’s talk about their prosciutto! They’ve got this giant cured pig leg sitting on the bar and slice it up to the tune of R150 per 50g. This is the ‘rich persons’ prosciutto and the owner Marc, kindly enough to give me a few shavings to taste and it was HEAVENLY. I then tried the pocket-friendly prosciutto that came on a baguette (R20) and my clearly unsophisticated li’l palate couldn’t really tell thaaaat much of a difference ‘cos I thought that was delicious too!
If you’re in the CBD and feeling like an after work dop but don’t want to do it on an empty stomach nor resentfully pay for a full plate when you only want a bite, you’re going to love Sotano on Bree. The pintxos are served from 4pm to 7pm on Monday to Saturday and I can’t wait to go back for more.