A gastro pub with a touch of sophistication
I’ve had gastroenteritis and I didn’t like it much! So, what in actual fact is a ‘gastro’ pub? I’d heard of them popping up in the bigger European cities but I don’t think there have been many incidences here in Cape Town. Crush set off to diagnose the Gastro pub phenomenon that has hit Cape Town in the form of an establishment called The Odyssey.
It is located in the centre of town in a double story, urban chic building. Long and rectangular in shape, perfect for two equally long bars, upstairs and downstairs, with multiple artisanal beer taps. You’ll be met at the door by one, broad-grinning, rather large, doorman. Pass the downstairs bar and the warming fire and go up the stairs leading to a similar space upstairs but with more tables and cocktail table seating. Elegant, urban and chic would best describe it. A mixture of comfortable armchairs and simple dining tables and chairs. The cut-off, French Champagne bottles used as candleholders say that this is a pub with a big twist of elegance. The ambience is trendy, hip and happening, low lit by multiple oversized lampshades. Once seated, the shimmer of shiny, golden, beer taps from the bar will catch your attention.
This is where you can enjoy a drink, a snack or a meal and chill after a day spent wheeling, dealing and dominating the corporate world. The service is friendly and professional. The Odyssey gives one the sense of having arrived where you can treat yourself to a more refined version of the pub you and your mates destroyed while downing pints and scoffing slap chips.
What exactly is a gastro pub we ask our friendly waitron. “A gastro pub is part traditional pub, as you may have worked out already, but it also has a decent wine list and although some of the food has its roots in English pub grub, it has a whole lot more sophistication, elegance and a drive for quality ingredients”. Sophistication is one of the key differences between the gastro, and the original, version of the pub genre.
Head Chef is a guy called Lipo from Italy and he has been responsible for menu development during the month since the Odyssey opened. Lipo describes a gastro pub as “the comfort of a pub but with elevated food”. So, you will find traditional bangers and mash but these will feature free-range pork sausages served with creamy, buttery mashed potato, delicious mustard gravy topped with deep fried leeks. Another level? Definitely.
The pork belly (pasture reared, of course) is a favourite with most guests and is served with a tart Granny Smith apple purée. The inside-cut cheeseburger turns the traditional cheeseburger inside out – a perfectly cooked burger patty hiding a generous portion of molten cheese inside and is served with hand-cut fries.
The Odyssey is the ideal place to meet for midweek drinks, pre-date lubrication, supper with the wife, a boys’ night out and your favourite game – all of life’s normal outings – but with a touch of added sophistication and attention that a gastro pub offers.