NV-80 Grill and Bar
The Sea Point strip has seen a lot of renovation and revival of late, probably the most notable new transformation has been to The Galleria Shopping centre, now renamed The Point. Gone is the grungy building of old, and in its place a sparkling new, modernised centre, with a gleaming glass façade, trendy anchor tenants and new restaurants.
Sea Point locals will be thrilled to know, that the Gonçalves brothers, of Vilamoura and Pigelle fame, have opened the doors to their newest venture – NV-80, right on their doorstep at The Point.
Portuguese brothers Naldo and Victor have been in the restaurant game since the early 80’s, (hence the name ‘NV-80’), and their vast experience in this tough industry is evident, by their long list of achievements. From their very first venture, a small coffee shop in Lisbon, to award-winning restaurants in Gauteng and Cape Town, and now NV-80 Grill and Bar.
Although not a Portuguese restaurant per se, one can definitely see influences in the décor and menu; dining with my husband, who is also Portuguese, we felt immediately at home. The curvature of the floor to ceiling glass windows, almost gives diners the illusion of being on a cruise ship, above the bar, 2 beautifully hand-beaded ship-shaped lights and specially designed ‘old Cape Town’ wallpaper, complete the feel. It’s both comfortable and welcoming, and feels unpretentious and warm.
We started off the evening with 6 oysters, 2 natural, 2 Bloody Mary (tomato and cucumber jelly), and 2 topped with a red wine jus, shallots and crispy chouriço. The oysters were superbly fresh, and the accompanying flavours beautifully balanced. As an apprehensive first time oyster eater – I am now a complete convert. We were then served perfectly cooked Moules Marinière and calamari tubes in a Gonçalves brother secret sauce. I spent much time trying to figure out how I could replicate this incredible sauce, which is mysteriously labeled ‘a light garlic marinade’. Since it has Portuguese flair, garlic is a given, but the rest left me stumped. All I know, is that I politely asked for the plate to be removed, had it not been, I would have most definitely picked it up and licked it, which would really have put a dampener on an otherwise sophisticated evening. It was simply that good.
Being primarily a grill and seafood restaurant, the next course was a sumptuous rib eye, langoustines and queen prawns. All of these beautiful ingredients need little fanfare to make them shine, and this is how they are served – beautifully cooked, succulent, well seasoned and respected.
Believe it or not, beyond this mountain of food, was the promise of desert. The house special, a traditional favourite which seems to be making a comeback – Apple Tarte Tatin – crispy, caramelly and absolutely worth the 20 min wait, plus a double-layered, light chocolate mousse with fresh mint anglaise.
Good food is nothing without good service, and Capetonians, who are often resigned about the latter, will appreciate good, attentive wait staff, who will look after you from the moment to step into their care.
As well as the warm interior, the restaurant has a patio, which wraps the front of the building, and will definitely be a popular sundowner spot come summer. Since it was a cold Cape Town night complete with a deluge of rain, we were grateful for underground parking and a warm refuge inside the restaurant.
Besides sumptuous dinners, the restaurant also has a lunch menu and patrons in the area can pop in for pasta dishes, well-priced salads and the NV-80 burger or steak roll. All in all, the menu is well-rounded, offers something for every preference and will not disappoint.
I have no doubt the Gonçalves family will enjoy further success with this restaurant and hubby and I look forward to returning soon. If you spot him dining alone at a table, it’s because I’ve slipped into the kitchen incognito, to stake out what goes into that amazing garlic sauce!
Grills & seafood