LA PARADA V&A WATERFRONT: Tapas that cater for every level of appetite

LA PARADA V&A WATERFRONT: Tapas that cater for every level of appetite

Joining its sister eateries at Constantia Nek and Bree Street, the just-opened La Parada V&A Waterfront is set to fill tummies with all sorts of yummies this festive season – and beyond.

The timing could not be better, as everyone in Cape Town in general and the Waterfront in particular gears themselves up for a bumper holiday full of sun, fun, and fabulous food.

The new La Parada – which opened its doors only a few weeks ago – is located at 1 Dock Road, although it’s not actually on the road; your best bet is to park in the Ulundi garage (opposite the aquarium, on Dock Road itself); or over the bridge in the Clock Tower/Silo district, and enjoy the short stroll while taking in the buzz and atmosphere of this popular destination.

The interior has been stylishly redone following the previous tenant, and boasts views of the harbour and Table Mountain from the wraparound deck downstairs. Upstairs are more tables in a private dining area from which you can watch the action below while sipping a cocktail.

“It’s all part of the brand tapping into what people want – our research shows that guests want to be part of the main restaurant mix, but they like the option of a more private space too,” says Harbour House group marketing manager, Tahlia Bester.

The menu leans mainly towards tapas. Traditionally served in Spanish wine bars, these were once upon a time simple little bites, but the concept has evolved into a bigger, shared plate experience; the portion sizes are just right for two people, or for one as a light meal or a starter.

Chef Roche Rossouw says: “We serve everything from smart, snack style choices like prawn croquettes, to more robust offerings like our famous crispy pork belly, or our grilled cheese with ham and truffle – we cater for every level of appetite.

“The La Parada offering works for any time of the day and suits the brand’s diverse mix of guests. Whether people are popping in for a cheeky glass of wine and enjoying sharing plates, or are planning to linger longer, there’s something on the menu that matches any food mood.”

We began with an array of tapas. For me, the grilled calamari served with chimichurri, tomato, cucumber, and roasted garlic aioli; and cauliflower popcorn – deep fried florets (low-carbers be aware; there is a light crumb on these) with tomato oil, roasted and fresh grapes, saffron aioli, and curry vinaigrette. Both were delicious and generous.

My friend couldn’t resist the pork belly, which is coated in palm sugar caramel, and served with rainbow mango slaw and toasted sesame seeds to cut the richness. She also had patatas bravas – find it under the side dishes – her La Parada favourite: crispy spiced potatoes, with aioli and tomato chutney for dunking. The poor waiters and runners kept trying to take them away as she lingered, but we told them in no uncertain terms, “do NOT touch the potatoes!”

For main course I chose the fillet tagliata, which is sliced medium rare beef fillet on a bed of wild rocket, toasted pine nuts, exotic tomatoes, balsamic reduction, parmesan shavings, and truffle oil. This last ingredient is so often promised yet fails to materialise in the flavour; this was not the case here. Everything was balanced, and those toasted pine nuts sank to the bottom of the plate so were a delightful find once the rocket had been moved aside. Because let’s face it – who really eats all the greenery on their salad plate?

My friend went with the crispy chicken burger served on a golden toasted artisan brioche bun, with butter lettuce, avo, tomato and wholegrain mustard aioli. She commented that a well-known chicken franchise could eat its heart out.

Cocktails and wine by the glass to match our food rounded out a fun and comfortable lunch, with friendly and efficient service.

“La Parada is a really stylish space but the style of food makes it unpretentious too – it’s the kind of spot that’s perfect for after work drinks or to host your birthday party,” says Bester.

* La Parada V&A Waterfront is open daily from 8am until midnight.

For more information, call 021 418 3003; send an email to tahlia@harbourhousegroup.co.za; or visit www.laparada.co.za.

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By Bianca Coleman