SOCIETI BISTRO – one of my favourite places in Cape Town and not only because it has a dish named after me on the winter menu – has become somewhat legendary for its regular “Tour Through Italy” and Tour Through France” specials, which focus on different regions of those countries.
This week (until August 8), the three courses featured alongside the à la carte are inspired by the Pays de la Loire, known as the “garden of France”. The Poitou-Charentes on the Atlantic coast has some of the best oyster beds in the country so that’s the starter for this splendid three-course meal. Three fat juicy delicious oysters are dressed in mantle of finely chopped vegetables and doused in a light velouté – from the French adjectival form of velour, meaning velvet, and proving everything those people do is just so damn sexy.
The main course is pork neck (with a lovely little fatty edge) stuffed with prunes, smothered in brandy, cream and prune sauce, served with green beans and pommes Anna. The dish is typical of the orchard-rich Touraine region, and I mean no disrespect when I say it was better than I expected. Since “my” dish is only available for such a short time – a fleeting moment of glory – I want to order it at every opportunity, but having something different today was no hardship.
The recommended wine pairing for both courses is the Constantia Royale Sauvignon Blanc, with its fresh, crisp green fruit flavours being the perfect foil for the creaminess of the sauces. As is often the case at Societi, things deviated from the original plan and a bottle of prosecco materialised at the table; that too went down well. It’s good to be open to surprises.
For dessert, homage is paid to the city of Angers, famous for the digestif Cointreau, which joins apples, vanilla and ice cream. It was only at this point that I broke away from the Tour Through France menu to have the lemon tart to finish, served with a dollop of crème fraîche.
The Tour Through France menu changes weekly, and can be enjoyed in its entirety or mixed and matched with the regular dishes. Another thing I love about Societi is that all the wines are available by the glass (and the bottle) so it makes pairing – and experimenting – a breeze. And also the perfect place to drop in for a quick drink. It’s my home from home.
For more information and to book a table, call 021 424 2100.
Address: 50 Orange Street, Gardens
PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN