Nailing Casual Bistro Dining at The Shop, Sea Point
The Shop bistro in Sea Point, owned and operated by Kyle and Gabi Knight, is answering a culinary question that many diners are asking these days – “Where can I enjoy a great meal that isn’t going to break the bank?”. In a sea of establishments offering tweezered micro herbs, foams and spheres, The Shop’s refreshingly simple take on classic dishes that will remind you why you love dining out.
Kyle and Gabi have not made major changes to the interior of the restaurant, keeping its retro style and maintaining its simple charm. One difference is that the front glass panes have been replaced with sliding windows, which gives a nice open feel. There is a distinctly charming no-frills vibe, which is quite refreshing.
The Shop Menu
The food is best described as classic bistro-style and really what this means is that it is relatively simple food, prepared really well. And that is exactly what it is.
One of the defining factors of the bistro is the fact that the menu is going to change according to what is available. With seafood, for example, they work with Abalobi, which supports small scale fisheries, so what is caught and is available is what is used. They know their supply chain up and down and work with traceable, sustainable ingredients.
Try not to get too attached to the exact ingredients you taste, as it’s likely that something different will be on offer next time. It’s the way cooking should be.
A menu of Favourites
We started the evening with a glass of MCC and fresh oysters with Cape Gooseberry dressing. This is a popular special (5 oysters plus a glass of MCC for R120) and to me, there is no better way to start off an evening.
After that was a tuna tartare dish that honestly knocked our socks off. The fresh tuna was cubed and served with wasabi mayo and a soya shallot dressing with finely sliced radish. It was everything you want in a great tartare, plenty of seasoning, lots of freshness and bags of flavour.
Tarts and Terrines
Next was a stunning mini tart with short, buttery pastry and a silky leek filling. I’m a huge fan of leeks, so I loved this dish. A slice of fresh goats cheese on top added a creamy and intense nuance to the dish.
Next up was a real showstopper, a special for the evening – pork trotter terrine. The slice of terrine was wrapped in the thinnest layer of pastry (so thin you could barely tell it was there) and served with a truffled mushroom salad. The trotters had been slow-braised and the pulled meat was incredibly tender and melt-in-the-mouth. A real standout dish.
The main dish that followed was exactly the right dish to follow the rich terrine – a beautiful piece of yellowtail with pea purée, pak choi, lemongrass velouté and mussel arancini. What struck us about this dish, and in fact everything before that, was that each element was so well cooked and perfectly seasoned.
Stay for the Crème Brûlée
Ready to roll out the door, we couldn’t leave before trying Gabi’s famous Crème brûlée. Take our advice and save space for this. It is amazing. And we’ve eaten our fair share over the years. Crème brûlée is simplicity itself but it is technical to make and this pretty much sums up The Shop experience as a whole.
While the dishes were complex in technique and were plated beautifully, they remained unfussy and just plain delicious. And really, what more can you want from a meal?
The Shop speaks to what many seasoned foodies are after these days – honest, good cooking that is executed to perfection. A bistro by definition is a cosy, small restaurant that serves classic dishes in a simple setting. The Shop ticks all these boxes and more.
The Shop, Three Anchor Bay Rd, Three Anchor Bay | Tel: 083 782 5240 | Book via Dineplan
Please note: The Shop is operating in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. It is important for all of us to try support small, local businesses as much as possible during this period. Changes have been implemented and the team is doing everything possible to make the dining space as safe for staff and patrons alike. Delivery options are available so please help them out by supporting where you can.
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