In the early days of Relax with Dax, I used to be very excited when I was invited to the launch of a new restaurant or bar, etc. These days I have to choose which ones to go to because my schedule is just too busy and sometimes these things are a waste of time. ‘Relaunches’, where they have repainted the restaurant and put up the menu prices then hope to get some media attention, are mostly a waste of time.
I attend launches for two reasons: You and me. I know that Relax with Dax readers want to be kept up to date with developments in the restaurant/social scene, so I make an effort to attend launches and report back. In order to do this, a launch has to incorporate certain elements and if those elements are there, it will be one of the better launches. The first element is the press release, which I would call the media release as online is not press. Which raises another important point for the PR people who are reading this, bloggers don’t need very high resolution pics and we don’t need to receive releases three months in advance, those are important for print, not online. So send different releases at different times with different size photos. Ok, I’m getting distracted. So the media release is the first important element because it tells me about the place and helps me decide if it is worthwhile reporting on/attending. The second element is the food, if it’s a restaurant I want to taste some of the food otherwise how do I know if we (that’s you and me) want to eat there? Not serving food is only slightly worse than serving snacks that aren’t on the menu. Then the third element is the tour or presentation. Just going to a new place doesn’t really help me to write about it, I need someone to show me around and tell me about the place and what makes it special. It does help if that person is excited and passionate (maybe hot too) like Michelle who gave me a tour of Cafe Chic, but more on that later.
Those three elements of a launch help me to obtain the information so I can write about it. So that’s for the readers, the second reason I attend launches is for me, because I like to check out new places and I like to enjoy myself. Attending many launches can become a bit of a chore, so if it’s a boring launch with no food and a cash bar, I will be out of there in five minutes because I have better things to do. If I can stay and socialise and enjoy myself, I will leave with a positive impression. Lastly, I am quite shy, so I appreciate being able to take a partner to these events in case I don’t know anybody there and have to talk to strangers.
Thanks for putting up with my little aside, here are my thoughts on the all new Cafe Chic, which is directly opposite Limoncello (which is a great little place and has a private dining/function room upstairs. Click here for a list of places which offer that) in Gardens.
Cafe Chic is a multi function venue, which can work but it can also prevent the place from standing out due to a lack of focus. They tout themselves as restaurant, lounge, boutique and patisserie. It is definitely a restaurant, but the other elements cannot be so easily defined. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and supper and comprises two rooms: the main dining room for more formal eating and the ‘sun room’ which is more suited for breakfast and tapas, etc. They have tried to be creative and distinct with their menu, for instance the breakfast options are distinctly non standard with items like French toast (R42) described as pan-fried brioche with preserved ginger, grilled peaches and mascarpone. The breakfast sandwich (R52) is a ciabatta filled with Kassler chop, scrambled eggs and mushrooms. They have a pastry chef who ensures there is a selection of delectable pastries available all day, either for consumption there or to take away.
Some of the breakfast options are available for lunch along with, amongst others, their burger (R55), steak (R70) and Ceasar salad (R65). They have a tapas menu ranging from R35 to R45 as well. Dinner starters range from R32 (caprese salad) to R130 (foie gras – lets try not to start the foie gras debate in the comments below). They have two vegetarian options and some seafood options (linefish is R105), and meat options (R145 for sirloin, R115 for Rib eye). I was surprised at how reasonable the prices are as the place looks like it should be really expensive.
Cafe Chic consists of two old houses which have been combined and renovated. Which means there is plenty of space and so there are several areas and each has a function. Leaving the dining rooms, one encounters the whisky bar which offers an impressive selection of whiskies in a quieter, lounge space. Off this bar is the boutique where you can purchase some one of a kind clothing items. I’ve never understood the boutique attached to a restaurant thing, but anyway. In the to other direction is the main bar, off that is a lounge which becomes a dancefloor later in the evening. Then past the dancefloor is the Moroccan chill out tent, a quieter lounge where you can escape the loud music and have a conversation and relax.
I mentioned earlier that a multi function venue can lose focus, but I think they have a good offering. I can see myself having some dinner, going through to the bar for a few drinks, ending up on the dance floor and then winding down in the chill out room. Nice to not have to go to different venues to do that in one evening.
The decor is quite over the top, but I like it. It has that slightly opulent feel to it which makes you feel like you are spoiling yourself. Initially it can seem a bit smart or formal, but I think it doesn’t take itself that seriously and this will become evident with familiarity. I recommend you check it out, I know I’m looking forward to my first dinner there.
7 Breda Street, Gardens
021 465 7218