Achieving solidly booked-out evenings at a restaurant for three months before its official launch function seems to be a Cape Town habit. Of course it doesn’t hurt if the restaurant happens to be located in the heart of trendy club-land.
Pam Golding (and any other estate agent for that matter) will tell you that when looking for property, it’s all about “location, location, location”. In this case, the new-kid-on-the-block Capella has struck pay dirt.
Towards the end of last year there was a certain apprehension when cabaret venue On Broadway left its trademark location on the corner of Somerset road and Dixon and moved deeper into town. The apprehension turned into excitement when we learnt that the space was earmarked for Cape Town’s premier gay club venue – Cruz. The space below also saw extensive building operation, and it was only when the interior detail started to be put into place that those passing by realised that what was being built would be something out of the ordinary.
Capella is a new restaurant and bar that is enjoying much attention and loyal gay patronage and it’s easy to see why. Continuing a style esthetic across the group’s other establishments – Cruz and Opium amongst others – the interior design is a feast for the eyes. The bar area features dangling crystals lit by fiber optics, plush seating and Balinese carved doors. There is also an intimate side section of the bar that looks out onto Dixon street. The restaurant floor itself has pressed ceilings and two ostrich egg chandeliers as centerpieces. The original brickwork of the walls is exposed and the seating is comfortable. Overall it makes for a warm, cosy and inviting space.
But naturally a restaurant is not all about dÃ©cor. The menu reflects a modern pallet, and includes healthy options such as carpaccio, seared linefish and ostrich fillet. Although the ostrich is a firm favorite, other menu highlights include beef fillet on mash and tarragon chicken on beetroot risotto.
Service is typically ‘Cape Town’, which is not necessarily a bad thing. A little attitude and a sense of humour are almost expected in such an eatery. However at Capella this is balanced by an attempt at elegance and certainly knowledge of the menu.
The cost? A little overpriced, especially when considering the modest portions, but I suppose you pay a little extra for the stunning interior and convenient location. After all, once finishing dessert, it’s only a short flight of stairs to Cruz.
Next door to Capella is the group’s more casual lunchtime venue; HQ CafÃ©. Launched in November last year the cafÃ© has established a regular lunch hour and coffee crowd who enjoy the light atmosphere and the selection of light and easy fare.
Its sophisticated interior design is fresh, clean and very urban chic. Mostly renovated after the closing of Purgatory, the walls are white textured, the floors and ceiling crisp, the furnishing contemporary. It’s all about uncluttered and breathable space. As an added bonus the outside balcony deck adds an ideal spot to watch the passing parade of beautiful people. Pop in for tea and indulge yourself; try the heavenly carrot cake.
The venue’s bathrooms are a trip, and certainly a conversation piece. Covered on all walls by mirrors – even the basin and ceiling – makes for a surreal visit to the loo. This especially as your reflection is offered from the most unusual angles.
If you haven’t yet done so, make a note to visit HQ CafÃ©, if only to visit the loo and discover once and for all whether you are balding or whether it is – as your hairdresser assures you – simply a double crown!
â€¢ HQ CafÃ© – 8am to close.
â€¢ Capella – 12 noon to close (usually around 1am)
â€¢ Capella’s telephone (021) 425-0439
â€¢ SMS reservations to: 073 833 6455