The Moveable Feast brings a hip Paris bistro vibe to Cape Town
Thanks to this relaxed eatery's focus on everyday classics (think steak frites and moules), you no longer have to wait for a special occasion to enjoy French cuisine, writes Kit Heathcock
Paris is a moveable feast according to Ernest Hemingway, and a slice of it has arrived in Cape Town.
Channelling the spirit of an old-school French bistro, The Moveable Feast on Kloof Nek Road, upstairs from Power and the Glory, combines those classic elements of red-velvet banquettes and marble-topped tables with hip faceted mirrors and eclectic flea market finds, a Kandinsky-inspired secret dining room, and a neon-lined bar with an open-topped piano upstairs.
With careers in the French music industry followed by opening successful Japanese eateries back in Paris, owners Vincent John Soimaud and Raphael Wallon are creating a welcoming space that looks set to become a favourite local hang-out.
“Here we’re trying to keep the simplicity of the traditional Paris bistro, the comforting aspects,” says Vincent John. It’s all about comfort food, everyday food you can meet friends over without having to wait for a special occasion. Think steak frites, moules, and beef tartare.
But there’s nothing old-fashioned about the vibe, which is a light and breezy cafe by day sitting out on the curving, window-lined, closed verandah, with the upstairs bar becoming inviting and laid-back cool at night, with live music or a DJ. On Saturdays, the music buzz spills into the dining room with a curated vinyl evening.
On a chilly day, a thick pot of hearty French onion soup was the perfect warming starter, savoury and comforting, generously floating with toasted parmesan on baguette slices.
Slow-cooked springbok daube, rich and tender, blends South African flavour with classic French treatment and a side of potato puree mops up the juices.
The beautifully light Parisian gnocchi heralded sprightly spring flavours – made with flour, not potato, with juicy prawns, sugar snap peas in their pods and a lively lemon sauce, it’s one to go back for.
There are a few Asian touches, as in the quail dish sauced with a sweet soy reduction and served with fresh greens and pickled radish.
A whole wood-fired cauliflower, lightly dressed with sun-dried tomatoes and parsley is another sustaining classic that could be shared starter or main.
Finishing with a simple apple tarte fine, all light crispy pastry and buttery apples, you soak up the Parisian vibe even as the buzz of Cape Town and the Lion’s Head views keep you grounded with a foot in each city.
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za