It was the glorious instagram images from Chef Chris Papayannes that teased me enough to get me out of the comfort of my warm apartment and into a hoody, walking the wet walkways of Kloof street to try a bite or two. I had a 5 course dinner with wine at Reverie Social Table at 19h00 that evening and thought well a few “Tapas” won’t hurt. Sidebar-I despise the word Tapas
With it being winter and often raining when I am out in town I often dismissed Chalk and Cork as a place I would try in the summer months when sitting quaffing wine under a tree watching people pass by was probably best. I had passed this petite off street eatery a few times when meandering Kloof street. (Possibly Cape Town’s most restaurant laden street, with an absolute smorgasbord of intercontinental offerings and places to eat.) So it was about time I ventured in!
The inside (what I later discovered,downstairs) venue has large window seating with high stools, the open air kitchen at your back and an array of boutique wines, treacherous terracotta plate towers, jars of spices and a few quirky jokes dress a charcoal coloured wall.
The small plates of food with strong Spanish and Basque flavours are made using fresh, seasonal ingredients and were simply put, delicious. Well presented and served incredibly quick, granted they were about to close the kitchen and I was the singular diner at the time. The kitchen closing the Pizza & small plates at 4pm but a platter type offering is still available for drinks should you need.
My lunch time quickie consisted of a three way, panko styled calamari, Wild Mushroom broth with ox tongue “potstickers”, perfect for the cold,wet weather outside and the Saldana bay mussels, beer, garlic, spring onion, coconut milk.
It would have been sacrilege to say no to mussels en papillote, especially after all the time spent impatiently waiting for the (Red) tide to pass. The mussels were plump, super fresh and corseted in flavour. the bold ox tongue bowl was just as robust with bursts of umami and a little tart from the pickled carrot. I found the salt and pepper calamari rounds to be slightly over salted but this had me reaching for another quaff, swirl and indulge in one of the many niche wines on their extensive beverage bill of fare.
After spotting that I was the hedonist that proudly double tapped almost every dish on his pickleandsmoke Instagram feed, Chris insisted I try his newest beef dish. With whole slow roasted slabs of short rib coming straight out the oven, a generous glissade of tender beef was finished with a variety of onions and a delicious home made mustard. Perfectly charred-I instantly envisioned a meal with Chef Francis Mallmann, delicious.
Now, whatever the weather I simply just want to go back because I know the promise of great food, a fine chef, company and Chardonnay are all one honestly needs. What was that saying, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain”
Chalk & Cork you had me dancing! Merci!