It’s a restaurant, it’s a bar, it’s a nightclub. Lou Lou’s in De Waterkant’s Cape Quarter does it all. Our experience was lunch, on a sweltering hot day, at a table overlooking the courtyard.
The best way to deal with this situation was to order a Hendrick’s gin cocktail. The Cucumber Spritz with gin, sparkling wine and soda, garnished with mint and cucumber (never put lemon in this Scottish gin, it much prefers cucumber), was just what I needed. It’s fresh and full of flavour and you definitely know there’s gin in there. My teetotaller friend had a virgin mojito.
Owner James Truter took over the reins in April this year. “I fell in love with the venue when I walked in. For me that was the clincher – the look, the feel, the location. It’s got that old New York bar charm with a European piazza location,” he says. “From a UK perspective one always goes to your local bar, but Cape Town doesn’t have a lot of those. So I thought here’s an opportunity.”
The menu comprises omelettes and Eggs Benedict served between 11am and 12.30pm, followed by starters/tapas and main dishes. These include a selection of R65 lunch specials available from 11am till 2.30pm.
“Tapas is served all day and our popular sharing platter is a great size for two. We also cater for parties – we do canapés, set menus for sit down functions and a party platter feeding 10 people for R675,” says James.
Chef Chantelle de Souza brings experience garnered at Constantia Uitsig, Kalk Bay’s Annex and Villa 47. While her first love is rustic Italian dishes, she enjoys Asian fusion. “Our food is simple with bold flavours,” she says, and we had a bit of both.
From the starters section we chose the arancini with mushroom and creamy parmesan sauce, because my friend loves risotto; I had the seared spiced tuna, rolled in seven spices and served with lime mayo and curly sweet potato crisps for texture.
Other options are steamed edamame beans, pork belly, beef carpaccio, spicy chicken livers, and a trio of dips – hummus, tzatziki, aubergines and olives with focaccia. That sounds like a lovely idea for a light snack, to share perhaps, with a bottle of wine. There is a good selection by the glass too. I followed my cocktail with a nice bit of Buitenverwachting Buiten Blanc. It’s been a long-time favourite of mine, always reliable. It might not have been the perfect pairing with my spicy food but it was the perfect match for the weather.
The R65 lunch specials include penne Pomodoro, rigatoni Vesuvio, chicken schnitzel, cheese or chicken burger, and a prego roll; sides are truffle fries, sweet potato fries, vegetables and salad.
Not part of the lunch special are dishes like spaghetti salmone, chicken Caesar salad, baked parmigiana, fish and chips, bobotie, and more. I picked the Thai-style beef salad which is sliced sirloin (with a good piece of fat which works for the LCHF lifestyle) on a bed of greens with cherry tomatoes, coriander and mint. A sweet chilli sauce is brought on the side. The dish is proving immensely popular; people love the fresh flavours and the zingy chilli dressing, says James, and he’s not wrong.
Unfortunately my friend couldn’t find anything she like on the menu so the kitchen made her a special dish of grilled chicken breast with lots of colourful veggies. It was an all-round very tasty meal.
For the party vibe, Lou Lou’s serves alcohol until 2am. “We have DJs Thursdays to Saturday nights offering a dinner dance experience with no cover charge,” says James. DJ Chicco spins pop, Afro house and R&B, while DJ El Fuego is in the booth on Saturdays and at Gay Village networking events buoyed on by camp disco beats.
“We’re a relaxed lunchtime and dinner venue, but then the lights go down, the music goes up and you can party. We also take over the square at night, so people spill out,” continues James. “I want Lou Lou’s to be welcoming, like people are coming to my home. Staff are friendly and there’s a personal touch. It’s open to everybody and it’s never too early to have fun and live a little.”
Weekly treats include a Thursday bubbly special (3 glasses, R99 from 4pm). Fridays are G(in) & T(equila) day, with half price on both. This Friday, December 6, there is Fabulous Pink Bingo from 7pm till midnight, with great prizes. Lilly Slaptsilli is the MC, who is the expert in naughty comedy. Dress code is “Pink Pocket Square” and DJ Michale Dickinson will keep the party rocking.
* Tickets are R250 from www.quicket.co.za and include a welcome glass of bubbly, tapas on arrival, and a two-course meal.
Find Lou Lou’s on the upper level of Cape Quarter Square, 10 Jarvis Street, Cape Quarter, Green Point. Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 2am.
Call 021 418 0015; send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.loulous.co.za.