Gigi Rooftop: the food lives up to the vibe at Cape Town's chic hotel hangout
Even simple dishes have the wow factor at this city hideaway, writes Kit Heathcock
There’s a gin masterclass happening on the pool deck, a sprinkling of hotel guests chilling on sofas, and in-the-know locals grabbing a quick lunch, when we visit the Gigi Rooftop restaurant and bar on a warm winter weekday.
With sun filtering through hanging plants, sofas, leather cushioned benches, terracotta brick ﬂoors and tables with Lucie de Moyencourt’s Delft-inspired tiles, the rooftop at the new Gorgeous George boutique hotel on St Georges Mall is a chic city hideaway.
Chef Guy Bennett, who worked with Michael Deg at Delaire Graaff and was executive chef at Grande Provence for a year, is relishing the move to an urban setting. “The vibe’s really happening at night-time, people flooding in, quite an electric energy. This menu has been rocking,” he says.
Being involved from the word go, he’s designed a versatile and relaxed menu and works closely with farmers and suppliers, changing things up according to the season.
Guy recommended sharing several small plates, and we fell in love with the inventive salads: earthy beetroot with crunchy walnut granola, lifted by acidity of pickled beet, chevin and a light hibiscus dressing; a sumptuous bowl of caramelised Jerusalem artichoke on chunks of creamy burrata, caramelised olives and fresh leaves.
Even something as simple as mussels in a wine and cream sauce had a wow factor: gremolata, a dash of chilli, and sourdough toast soaking up the sauce. Then the char-grilled squid with chorizo and sautéed potato nicely balanced with remoulade and a herby mustard vinaigrette.
Meat lovers will be happy to know that mains include free-range Oak Valley steaks cooked on a Josper charcoal grill, hand-cut chips, and easy lunch staples like a really good burger, fish-and-chips, or club sandwich.
We really didn’t need a main dish, but curiosity – or greed – demanded a taste of the cauliflower risotto, a meal in itself with exotic mushrooms, nut crumble crunch and rich melting fior di latte mozzarella.
There’s nothing casual about dessert – the milk and honey crème with granadilla and vanilla roasted nuts is a delightfully decadent combination, and a gorgeous lemon curd ice cream with poached guavas showcases winter flavours.
Booking is recommended for evenings, when the outside rooftop terrace layers up with heaters and fluffy blankets, or pick the cosy inside tables by the bar, where resident mixologist Jody Rahme has put together an equally varied menu of cutting-edge cocktails.
• Visit gorgeousgeorge.co.za
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za