I have been eager to visit La Tête since they opened their doors late last year but between life happening at a blinding pace and their fully booked restaurant, it just never realized. Then I got an invite to join De Wetshof for lunch at Cape Town’s nose-to-tail hot spot to launch their Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2017. It promised to be a delicious afternoon.
On arrival I instantly understood why De Wetshof chose La Tête for the event. The space perfectly suits the clean, modern, subtle aesthetic of the wine brand. I love everything about the space. It is bare-to-the-bone with only concrete floors and wooden finishes to offset the otherwise crisp white interior, and natural light flooding in through large windows lining one side of the room. Despite the extreme simplicity, I also found it comfortable, charming and sophisticated. It was fuss-free, just like the food we were about to eat.
But first we had to taste some wine. The De Wetshof Limestone Hill has become one of the most popular unwooded Chardonnays in South Africa, and their 2017 vintage does not disappoint. Despite being unwooded you still get a beautiful richness, with floral, nutty and tropical fruit notes, balanced by a fresh apple and lime acidity. According to De Wetshof CEO Johann de Wet, 2017 was one of their best vintages to date and he expects even greater things from the future releases. I think Limestone Hill is a wonderful choice for your everyday drinking wine, and I was perfectly happy to sip it all through lunch. It’s neither heavy nor sweet nor overly acidic, so it pairs well with most foods and it doesn’t tire your palette.
Once the formalities were done we moved on to lunch. La Tête opened in November 2016, run by brothers Giles and James Edwards. Giles heads up the kitchen, serving a menu built on the nose-to-tail philosophy – so they use all the unconventional parts of the animal as well. Aside from actual tripe you can also try things like pork cheeks, duck liver, ox heart and pig tails (though they have standard cuts too if you don’t feel adventurous).
For the event we were served sharing-style. To start off we tried a salad of crispy pig cheek, chicory leaves and apple. The meat was perfectly succulent and complimented by sweet and slightly bitter notes in the greens. Our second choice was a salad of grilled beans with pickled pine ring mushrooms – equally beautiful with simple, mouthwatering flavours. I would have been happy to fill up on these two dishes, but we had to leave room for a main course of creamy fish pie with a Brussel sprouts salad, and of course dessert.
Let me tell you about the Floating Island dessert at La Tête. Essentially it is custard with a floating meringue, but it is damn delicious custard – silky and smooth with creamy vanilla flavours – topped with toasted almond slivers that adds a bit of texture. If we weren’t pretending to be civilized I’m sure many of us would have tipped the whole bowl to our lips. And just when we thought we’d had our fill of decadent treats, the kitchen sent out freshly baked Madeleines to go with our coffee. I was very tempted to tuck a few takeaways in my pocket (instead I just ate five of them).
I can highly recommend La Tête for your next outing. Their food is simple, back-to-basics, comforting and wholesome.
La Tête is located at 17 Bree St, Cape Town
For more info and bookings, visit latete.co.za
A heartfelt thanks to De Wetshof for hosting us. The De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2017 retails for around R85. Visit dewetshof.com for more.