I’ve been hearing about French Toast and happened to drive past last week so I stopped the car to have a look through the window (it was 11:30pm and they were closed). It looked awesome so I resolved to get there and try it out as soon as possible (which, with my diary can take months). That opportunity arose this week when a function ended early, so my event partner became my dining partner as well.
There are two floors, the ground floor is home to a lovely bar and offers more open space so I assume it’s more drinks focused while the upstairs section is more food focused. From the moment you walk in you can’t help but be impressed with the decor. It’s a popular style these days, modern mixed with industrial, but it’s not easy to get it right. French Toast gets it right beautifully. Exposed brick, industrial beams, etc are all characteristic, but the difference comes in the details. The smaller decor elements, the fabric choices, chair styles, etc, all make it the visual delight it is.
Downstairs was empty (7pm on a Wednesday – not sure when it’s busy but I hear it does get very busy), but the barman directed us upstairs which was about half full. As we reached the top of the stairs we were welcomed and offered a selection of the open tables. We picked one which had chairs on one side and a banquette on the other. The seating was comfortable but the chairs are strangely high relative to the banquette so my dining partner felt subconciously compelled to lean forward all the time so as not to tower above me (or maybe she really liked my fragrance – Burberry).
The menus arrived and the little Spaniard in me leapt with (well hidden) joy, not only because the entire menu is tapas style but because there were some Spanish influenced tapas. We decided not to try the charcutie boards (R50) which included jamon serrano and chorizo, nor did we try the cheese boards (R50) which featured manchego. I did see some cheese boards go past and they looked quite generous. We focused on the tapas and ordered mushrooms in sherry sauce (R30 – maybe the best dish), pissaldiere (R30 – an onion tart which needed more anchovies to add flavour but wasn’t bad), calamari in lemon butter (R45 – tender but not much flavour), peri peri chicken livers (R35 – awesome, contender for best dish) and pork belly (R48 – fabulous). It was actually quite a lot of food, and it does come with a little basket of bread, but we did manage to eat it all. I love eating tapas style, especially when the tapas are good quality, relatively generous and not too expensive. I think they have the balance right.
French Toast promote themselves as a wine and tapas bar so you can imagine, the wine list is extra ordinary (I made that two words on purpose, because I like how it changes the meaning, it’s more subtle than extraordinary). I believe they offer about 100 wines by the glass, although I didn’t look at the full list, I just selected a glass of the Mullineux Kloof Street red (R33) as my partner was not drinking wine. What is interesting is their wine flights, an opportunity to try 3 wines (50ml) servings. The price varies depending on which wines are in the flight. There is one flight available each day, changing regularly. I think it’s a great way to get to know wines and perhaps a good way of selecting the wine you want to drink that evening.
Dessert involved three options, one of which is churros, the Spanish doughnut which you dip in chocolate. I had my heart set on that but we opted for the french toast (R35), you can guess why. It’s drizzled with honey and served with almond ice cream. It wasn’t bad, but I’m definitely ordering the churros next time. There will so definitely be a next time.
French Toast Wine & Tapas bar
199 Bree Street, Cape Town CBD
Tel: 021 422 4084
ps. I wanted to include some pics of the place but their website is not up yet and I couldn’t find any pics anywhere, so you’ll just have to go see for yourself.