La Tête Restaurant
Giles Edwards brings his nose-to-tail philosophy to life at La Tête.
If you live in Cape Town and are even remotely into food, then you’ll know that Bree Street is where it’s at. Up and down its length you can find just about everything from bistros, diners and tapas bars to burger joints, pizza spots and delis. However, if you’re looking for something a little different. Something that’s going to push you off your cosy munching perch, then head to La Tête and dive face first into an ocean of cheeks, trotters, marrow, hearts, and tails.
La Tête (the head) is the food dream of brothers Giles and James Edwards. The brothers spent many years in England where Giles developed some serious culinary chops. He fell in love with seafood at the world famous J. Sheekey and then embraced the nose to tail philosophy of St John. It was there that he honed his skill working alongside Fergus Henderson – a pioneer of the nose to tail revolution. In 2016 the brothers found their address on Bree Street and La Tête was born.
I must admit when I arrived at La Tête, I thought it looked a little simple. The walls are white, the furniture is dark wood, it has an open kitchen and that’s about it. As we settled in chef Giles came over for a chat. He recommended some dishes and gave us some insight into his philosophy. In short, it’s about using everything. Nothing is wasted. We took his suggestion and ordered a selection of starters. What followed was a masterclass in crispy bits, gelatinous bits, fatty bits and all around ridiculously tasty bits.
The chicken liver pâté is the best version of a good ol’ fashion pâté. It’s rich, smooth and complemented with toasted bread and cornichons. The octopus salad was tender and vibrant with a fresh cucumber and mint salad. The pig cheek was sensational with crispy nuggets and crunchy radishes. The roast bone marrow was buttery and topped with a toasted herb crumb. The charred chicory and anchovy was exceptional. The charred bitterness of the chicory was balanced by the intense saltiness of the anchovies. Giles also treated us to his version of bacon and eggs – layers of meat from a slow cooked pig trotter topped with soft quail eggs. I could have happily eaten a vat of the stuff.
Offal can sometimes leave you feeling like your eyeballs are floating in gelatinous fat, but not once did I feel overwhelmed. Every dish was balanced with something fresh to cut through the richness. Even after all the dishes, we still felt eager to taste some puds. The Floating Island was recommended and when you visit La Tête you must try it. It’s crème anglaise with a poached meringue ball floating in it topped with caramel and nuts. We also had a plate of madeleines, which were the best I’ve had. To finish we had Giles’ refined yet nostalgic throwback dessert – a quince jelly and jam dish with vanilla ice cream.
As we came to the end of our experience I thought back to my initial impression of La Tête’s simple appearance. The same can be said of the food and the way it’s presented, but beneath that simplicity are dishes that and cleverly thought out with explosive flavours. It’s honest cooking that needs no frills to impress when flavours are that superb. It’s my kind of food and I cannot wait for my next visit. Like a salty siren of the sea, that chicory and anchovy dish is calling my name and I feel compelled to answer.
Expand your palate with a menu full of explosive flavour, textures and unusual ingredients.