Last week I joined a group of foodies in the leafy courtyard behind HQ in Cape Town, where we were treated to a delicious four course meal by Chef Laurent Deslandes. The lunch served as the official launch of the HQ Courtyard by Laurent, a new pop-up concept that will be running for the next few months, treating guests to a tantalizing (and well-priced) dining experience.
The courtyard pop-up will keep guests happy while the team behind HQ works on an exciting new project: Bistrot Bizerca has been closed down and will be transformed into an enticing new foodie joint, though they’re not giving away any further details yet.
What we do know is that the new restaurant will share the courtyard space with HQ, and that Laurent Deslandes will serve as their Group Executive Chef of the new space and HQ.
Laurent, who grew up and trained classically as a chef in France, has been hailed as one of the top chefs in South Africa, and is also an award-winning chef in Australia. Some of his local awards include Eat Out Best Bistro in SA, Fleur de Cap Restaurant Awards’ Top 10, and a 3-star rating from Rossouw’s Restaurants.
Over the next few months Laurent will work to refine the menu of the new restaurant concept. He will also be involved in refining the food offering at HQ, and I’m excited to see how he will add his flair to the classic steak-and-salad menu. Laurent’s touch can already be seen on HQ’s popular tapas menu, as well as the signature monthly events such as Fine Wining dinners and Raise the Steaks!
In the meantime, guests can indulge in more of his offerings at The HQ Courtyard by Laurent, which will serve Bizerca-influenced Tapas & Plat du Jour menu for lunch, from Monday – Thursday (lunch only) and Friday (until 8pm).
We started our meal with a taster of Laurent’s signature dish – beef tartare served with pommes gaufrettes (the equivalent of crinkle-cut chips). It was definitely a highlight of the afternoon, with succulent beef in a creamy, slightly tart dressing.
Another favourite was our starter, a refreshing tomato gazpacho with tiny cucumber and watermelon spheres that introduced bursts of cool, sweet flavours as you bit into them.
The gazpacho was followed by a delicious prawn cocktail salad, with all the flavours of the classic dish, served with creamy avocado, fresh apple and raw fennel. This made way for the main course, a perfectly-cooked piece of seared tuna with butternut gnocci, baby pak choi and an Asian dressing.
And finally we ended the meal with a cardamom & vanilla flan with a berry coulis and figs.
At only R250pp, I think the Chef’s Tasting Menu is a brilliant choice, but you can also opt for their a la carte dishes if you want to.
The HQ Courtyard by Laurent opened on 18 April and will be running for the next few months. Pop by for lunch on the next sunny afternoon.