Brunch and bottomless bubbles in a laid-back contemporary space located on Cape Town’s restaurant-populated Bree Street. Chef Matt Manning, of Grub & Vine, and his team have put together a Saturday brunch club for those who are never quite sure what to do in those odd hours that are neither breakfast nor lunch. Reservations are from 11:30 but they have now changed the concept to accommodate reservations for normal restaurant seating until 2:30 pm.
Started our brunch with their MCC from Silverthorn Wines. Their welcome bloody mary was next. A taste sensation of the sharp tomato taste, generous tabasco and plenty of rum. Yes, rum. Delicious. Arancini with Parmesan, followed by the first course of fish brandade, curry mayo, and piccalilli. The second course was braised chicken on a crumpet, parsnip, poached egg, and chicken sauce. It tasted like something that would have made a perfect breakfast all on its own. My date decided to pair his food with wine from their extensive wine list, whilst the waiter kept the bubble flowing on my side. Their sommelier was wonderful, explaining some of the pairings and fielding our endless questions about some of his recommendations.
The third course was salt-baked butternut with pearl barley, turnip, and sage. There was gorgonzola crumbed into the barley which added another layer of taste to the barley and butternut dish. I really enjoyed this one. Mains of a 32-day aged beef rump, potato gnocchi, and baked beetroot were next. The baked beetroot was reminiscent of those family Sunday lunches growing up. Too much sharpness, often from the vinegar used to dress it, and colour that seeped into everything.
To finish off our meal was a bacon brûlée. This, I could have done without. I love bacon and crème brûlée in equal measure, just not together. Pieces of shortbread added to the already sweet custard, but the salt from the bacon was a distraction to the overall taste. Other than the disappointing dessert, everything else was wonderful. The service was friendly and attentive, the chef coming out from the kitchen (it is an open plan kitchen) to explain the dishes, and the sommelier was as charming as he was knowledgable.
Go ready to sit back and enjoy. It feels like you are having lunch at a friend’s house and that is what truly added to the overall lovely experience. Bookings essential.
Grub & Vine, 103 Bree Street, Cape Town