Like the proverbial fat kid at the candy store we have been peering through the windows of Ragafellows for weeks, watching the changes to the familiar old Cape Dutch building which has been a part of Hout Bay Main Road for the 20 years I have been visiting Hout Bay. It’s been transformed completely, stripped back to the bare essence, the soul of the building being allowed to breathe.
They managed to get the renovations done just in time for tourist season and today we finally got to experience it.
And what an experience it was!
I am a critical person with high standards. I know that, and I know I can be impossible to please. That’s just life as a Virgo. I had no cause for complaint today.
The restaurant is the brainchild of Julie Ragavelas. Her and her husband Spiro also own the local Greek restaurant which is a huge success due to being child friendly and for providing big portions at a great price. Spiro is the heart of that operation and his skills as a charming host also help to keep people coming back. They also are backers of the new venue Cheyne’s which is one of my fave venues in all of Cape Town. So these people know what they are doing and Ragafellows is no exception.
You enter to a gorgeous metal and granite table with a stunning chair I just adored. I imagine when busy this will be where the host greets the patrons.
We were given a tour on arrival and I could not believe how stunning it all was. The theme is Victorian Steampunk – for the local Capetonians, it is as if Madame Zingara and The Orphanage Cocktail Bar had a baby.
The attention to detail is meticulous.
The same attention has been paid to the food. The head chef is Spiro’s brother, Aristotle Ragavelas a 5 star Savoy chef. His food is just so exquisite. I have a very delicate palate and a sense of smell like a bloodhound, so overbearing flavour is too overwhelming for me. I can’t bear rosemary, mint or pesto just because the smell is too strong. I love delicate flavours which leave you trying to identify all of them with each mouthful.
We tried a few different starters in order to taste a few options. We had the calamari in a crunchy potato basket and a beautiful salad with tomato, cheese, pomegranate and a balsamic glaze.
The salad was fresh, light and tasty. The textures of the creamy goats cheese and the crunch of the pomegranates complimented each other beautifully. The calamari was in a pesto and Parmesan sauce. I never would have ordered anything with pesto, but it was not part of the description on the menu and I could not even identify the pesto, it was so subtle.
Pierre had the bone marrow, not something I particularly wanted to taste as I’ve had it before and find it very intense. But Pierre enjoyed it. It was all presented so nicely.
For my main I had the pulled pork as did Pierre. As a Yank, I know my pulled pork and have not really had proper pulled pork since I left LA. There we just called it carnitas and slapped it in a tortilla. But wow! The flavours were so divine. The pickled cucumber was fresh, tart and crisp, the perfect accompaniment to the smoky tomato sauce.
Norm had a burger which I had a wee bite of and it was gorgeous! No need to drive to the city for Hudson’s ever again! There are a few different variations of toppings for burgers, Norm had prosciutto, bleu cheese and onions. Instead of fries it came with little roasties which looked done to perfection.
Retha had the kingklip which came with mash. I had a bite and it was perfectly cooked, moist and nicely flavored. It had a mint type salsa and again, the mint was so delicate it was barely discernible. Aristotle knows how to tickle a girls palate for sure. 🙂
After this we had a breather to digest and have a few drinks and chat. I adore leisurely Sundqy lunches, our lunch lasted 3 hours!
But we had to try some of the delicious sounding desserts. I was so full I just had a scoop of the authentic Italian gelato from IceDream which I previously blogged about. Norm and Retha had the berry pavlova with yogurt.