Cape Town’s newest and most irreverent wine bar and restaurant is open. Cru Café opened on 1 October to offer guests an extensive, unusual selection of wines along with a well matched menu of tapas and contemporary continental cuisine. It’s set to be the new wine quaffing and meeting place of choice – for those who love wine but not pretence.
Brothers Jacques and Tom Castelein are the formidable force behind Cru Café, backed by personal friend and Cape Wine Master, Elsie Pells. She’s an international wine judge and lecturer and brings extensive wine knowledge to the business. Completing the passionate team is chef Wesley Petterson. Together with the Castelein brothers, he’s created an enticing cosmopolitan menu that caters for all tastes. “It’s simple contemporary continental cuisine,” says Jacques, “inspired by the flavours of central Europe and the Mediterranean, using only the freshest ingredients. Wherever possible we use only organic produce too, and the entire menu was planned to complement the wines.” Included on the menu are the popular Country Terrine starter and signature Ratatouille on Polenta. There are classic dessert favourites to choose from as well as cheese flights – to sample a variety of tastes.
A new innovation at Cru Café are wine flights, which enable guests to choose a varietal and taste three wines from it, accompanied by a snack to complement the wine. “It’s a way for wine lovers to taste different wines without buying the whole bottle,” says owner Jacques Castelein, “and it’s a great interactive wine tasting experience.”
The idea for Cru Café came about while travelling around Europe. “We took a sabbatical after selling our restaurant Tasca de Belem on the V&A Waterfront,” says Jacques. “Both of us love wine, so the idea of starting a relaxed, unpretentious wine bar made sense. We chose the Cape Quarter Extension because of its great location, and because we want to get to know our customers more personally.”
Cru means a ‘vineyard of superior quality’, which is exactly what Cru Café is all about – an extensive, unusual wine list and relaxed and funky dining space that speaks for itself. Jacques says the wine list is “serious and not, at the same time”, and is carefully priced to suit all tastes and pockets. There are over 120 choices on the wine list – over 90% of them South African. The wines are not listed by cultivar, instead the brothers have adopted a maverick approach and listed according to character, starting with the Bubbalicious offerings and ending with those Sweet and Sticky.
The restaurant’s wine list and décor artwork may be tongue in cheek, but Cru Café is for everyone – serious wine connoisseurs and casual wine quaffers. “What’s important,” says Jacques, “is that guests can come here and enjoy an excellent selection of wine, served with finesse and great care, but no pretence. We are also very serious about handling and serving wine correctly in fine glasses, and want guests have a sense of intense enjoyment of food and wine – and be entertained by the art on the walls.” Cru Café’s wine shop completes the experience, with offerings from the wine list as well as other rare vintages.
Cru Café – it’s stylish, uplifting and relaxing – a great place to meet friends for lunch or to wind down after work. Tapas and mains are served seven days a week from 10.30am til at least midnight. It calls all wine lovers to unite and enjoy a fine wine adventure. “Because wine is like art,” says Jacques, “it’s personal taste, and if it whispers in your mouth and you like it, it’s good wine.” It is that simple.
For reservations call (27) (21) 418 6293, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.thecrucafe.com