I’m not a fan of rushing. Whether it be waking up in the morning or getting to an event on time, I like to do things at a comfortable stress free pace. For this reason, I find trying to fit dinner in before a show generally quite stressful. The food always takes longer than expected, people chat too much and so take longer to eat and then the bill takes ages to come and be paid so that in the end you run late and have to rush to the theatre and possibly arrive when the show has already started (which is really rude).
Dinner before a show runs a lot smoother when the restaurant shares the premises with the theatre. They have set times that they ask you to arrive and they plan their service around the start of the show so they ensure that you have eaten and paid in time for the show. Unfortunately, many theatre restaurants are not really great to dine at. They often lack in service, food quality, environment or all of the above. Which is why I’m very pleased with Side Dish, the new restaurant at Theatre on the Bay. It’s a decent restaurant in every respect.
It’s a great looking restaurant. Intimate theatre has an arty, bohemian edge to it and the decor of Side Dish captures this very well, making you feel like you’re already at the theatre. Maroon walls bedecked with framed theatre scenes are contrasted with flocking/damask design wallpaper (ja, don’t act like you’re not impressed with my description of the wallpaper) and complemented by vintage crystal chandeliers. If my description left you wondering what the place actually looks like, just check out the pic below.
In terms of the food, the menu is short but each item is worth ordering. The question you need to ask is whether you feel like meat, fish or vegetarian. There are options for starters and dessert as well. My partner started with the duck salad and I had the prawn linguine, we were both very happy with our dishes. For main I had the fish with potato croquettes which was good but obviously not as good as my partner’s mushroom gnocchi because I didn’t fall off my chair with semi orgasmic excitement like she did. I tried the gnocchi and have to admit it was really good, which says a lot as I’m not a gnocchi fan. I can’t recall the exact prices but they were reasonable, and good value considering the quality of the food.
We only had tasters of the desserts, and I recall the creme brulee being stand out. The wine list is also short but some good options and reasonably priced. I must admit I didn’t drink wine because before that meal I had consumed 17 courses paired with wines over 3 meals so was in need of a break!
Side Dish is a project of Dish Food & Social (check out their online food market while you’re on the website) which has been prevalent on the Cape Town catering scene for several years now. Amongst other things they also handled the food side of Vaudeville.
So the rub: If you’re going to a show at Theatre on the Bay, book a table at Side Dish, you won’t regret it.
Side Dish Restaurant
Tel: 021 438 3300
ps. There is a rad new VIP room at Theatre on the Bay which can be used for hosting events or groups. There is more info on the website link above.