Going Bizerca

In a fickle food market this French-South African classic looks set to become a favourite.

On an average day the only things you’re guaranteed to find in my fridge are a pack of mature Kleinriver Gruyere, half a lemon and a bottle of Pongrazt.  Which is why, if anyone ever suggests lunch or dinner out and about, I’m in.

Discovering new restaurants is half the fun. Cape Town is an odd city for restaurants. Old favourites linger for years, while new epicurean adventures come and go every season.

One of my new finds is Bizerca Bistro. Just around the corner from the CTICC on the Foreshore, it is all windows and clean lines, edged with a retro touch. I fell in love with the light fittings and combination of old and new finishes.  Perfect for lunch, but with a stark, open layout, I did wonder if it would be cosy enough for dinner.

The owners, husband and wife team Laurent and Cyrillia Deslanders, bring an interesting tale to the mix. He’s French (and the chef) and she’s South African.  They met in Paris, and spent seven years in France before heading Down Under for about ten years, winning all kinds of awards in Sydney.  Their move back to Cyrillia’s home shores inspired the name of their new venture; their friends thought they were mad to come back to SA.

Laurent’s French heritage emerges in the menu standards; the Boeuf Bourguignon, Pigs Trotters, Cassoulet with Confit de Canard were all tempting.   For a light working lunch, I settled on one of the many delicious daily specials; the butternut gnocchi. Nestled in a drizzle of creamy sundried tomato sauce and finished off with a handful of peppery fresh rocket, the gnocchi was not the heavy potato dumplings I expected, rather light, crushed butternut based squares both chewy and soft in texture.

My colleague had croquet-shaped fish cakes piled on rosti. She made all the right appreciative noises and I had a brief moment of order-envy.

I didn’t notice the service, which for me is a clear indication that it was good.   That or I was just too wrapped up in our conversation (less work, and more existential ponderings) to notice whether my water glass was filled or the kitchen-to-table time ratio was perfect.

What did please enormously was the excellent selection of wines by the glass. My glass of Ken Forrester Sauvignon Blanc was just right; a cold and crisp companion to the tomatoey butternut.

Sadly, both of us declined desert, but you can be sure I’ll be back for the Panacotta some time soon.

All told, our glass of vino, main meal and a pot of mint tea came to just over R230 for the two of us.  Good value for fine French cuisine.

Bizerca Bistro – The classic French bistro with a local twist

Jetty Street, Foreshore

Call:021-418 0001
Email: bizerca@mweb.co.za

Written for Moneyweb Life in August o8

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