I recently had the pleasure of tasting the new La Belle Bistro and Bakery menu in Camps Bay just three days after it was rolled out to the public and quite simply put, it was the best damn thing ever. Everything from the minute details in décor to the wonderful staff makes the restaurant one of the most perfect places you could possibly imagine dining. Plus, with the icy blue Atlantic as your view coupled with the class and quiet extravagance that the KOVE collection is known for, you are bound to have an utterly unique and delicious experience.
Situated on the Camps Bay strip (above Gelato Mania), La Belle Bistro and Bakery serves as the perfect spot to escape the afternoon sun over a long, lazy lunch. Our reservation was at 7pm so we got there as the sun was steadily going down and had a beautifully illuminated view as we were shown to our table on the deck.
We were greeted by CK, the manager of La Belle Bistro and had the greatest pleasure in interacting with him and learning about how meticulous the KOVE collection is with regards to menu and produce. Every dish is designed to bring out the natural flavours of the food without destroying its goodness or taste and every ingredient used is fresh and in season. What I loved the most though was the fact that their meat is halaal which made ordering an absolute breeze. I apologize in advance for the badly lit images of the food – the setting sun was not any help.
I always love hearing the favourites of the staff when I try a new place simply because they know the menu better than anyone else. CK, along with Lizzy our waitress, shared their top picks which influenced our ordering and left us simply delighted at every dish we chose. For starters, we opted for the Broccoli Slaw and Crispy Chicken, each beautifully presented and wonderfully prepared. The Broccoli Slaw was the perfect starter as it wasn’t too overpowering or filling. The stems were tender with a slight crunch and paired perfectly along with the whipped goats cheese and salad cream it came layered upon. Beautifully golden pine nuts and crushed black peppercorns were carefully strewn over the top which provided a savoury aftertaste and emphasized the sweetness of the broccoli without destroying the taste.
The Crispy Chicken was made up of three generous pieces of cut chicken breasts marinated in buttermilk and served with a spicy aioli and cabbage-celery slaw on the side which made us ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ with every we bite. I am not usually a fan of anything containing cabbage but the slaw was so utterly refreshing and paired perfectly along with the crispy yet flavourful chicken. Both dishes served as the perfect way to start our meal and I simply cannot recommend them enough. Both R75.00.
For mains, we decided to order two very different dishes so that we could experience as much of the restaurants cooking as possible. Seeing as we already had the chicken in the starter, the obvious choices was the Quinoa Crusted Fish and Chips (R130.00) and the Porcini Butter Fillet (R205.00) both of which was recommended by CK.
The fish and chips were a fancier and tastier update from the cheaper alternative found around town and was made up of a huge portion of hake encrusted in quinoa which was served next to a delicious cottage cheese tartar and sweet potatoes fries. I generally stay away from fish as I, for some reason, cannot handle the taste and texture so it’s a big deal for me to admit that this particular dish was utterly delicious. Even though the hake was deep fried, there was not a drop of oil on it and instead, it was encased in a crispy, golden shell. The fish itself flaked apart with ease by the most delicate of touches and simply melted when bitten. The sweet potato chips were perfectly baked and provided just the right amount of sweetness and savoury to the rest of the meal.
However, my favourite dish of the night was the tender fillet served on a porcini compound butter and a creamy potato puree base. Scattered with roasted Cipollini onions, baby button mushrooms and edible flowers, the fillet was perfectly cooked (medium-well) and had the perfect amount of seasoning. I often find that when going out for a steak, many restaurants try to overcompensate by soaking the fillet in sauces and spices which completely ruins the experience. La Belle however, presented a perfectly delicious dish that needed absolutely nothing else. Like the hake, it too melted with every bite and, while I usually eat quite fast, I found myself slowing down in the moment and enjoying every second of the dish.
To end off, we had a simple caramelized banana, vanilla pod ice cream and salted caramel sundae which was a decadent balance of steaming hot banana topped with a refreshing ice-cream dotted with vanilla beans (R80.00). Everything on the menu was simple and straightforward without any unnecessary toppings or ingredients and invoked a sense of utter relaxation within me which I usually struggle to find. The love of fresh produce shines through in every dish and the delightful mood of the staff is contagious. I firmly believe that it would be impossible to have a bad experiance at this establishment and cannot recommend La Belle enough.
Decor images courtesy of KOVE Collection