I was invited by the owner of Caveau to join him for lunch at the Newlands branch (in Josephine's Mill) on Sunday. I sat down to what he described as "the best offering we have as a brand." Big words from a guy who has successfully opened (and then extended) Caveau in Bree Street, Gourmet Burger in Heritage Square, HQ steakhouse and the Caveau in Newlands where we sat. As part of his collective restaurants he's got a sushi bar, a huuuuuge wine offering, Friday night parties at HQ, rugby days at Newlands, annual birthday parties, events in the Heritage courtyard and a deli to buy fresh produce. So...he's got a few things to throw at the public.
About 15 minutes into the lunch I knew what he meant though. The sky was clear, the live singer (a gorgeous brunette called Louise Day) was singing up a storm, the river was gently trickling along and the bubbly was being opened at pretty much every table. Very skoochie and super-chilled.
It was about halfway into my second glass of Villiera Brut Natural 07 that I stopped listening to anyone at the table. I had picked up a copy of The Caveau book. The Caveau book???! Who knew they had a book? I didn't. It's bloody well done though. With the food styled by none other than Liam Tomlin and beautifully shot, the book is written in a deliberately informal tone and does well to reflect the relaxed, warm atmosphere that began with the opening of Caveau back in 2004. There are personal anecdotes, food philosophies, recipes, a focus on wineries and the winelist, an explanation of the vision for Caveau and more. The thing I enjoyed most about the book is that the main stars in it are the loyal customers and the staff. The people who have made Caveau a success.
Anyway, I can tell you my lunch was brilliant too. A potato and leek soup with just the right amount of truffle oil and a nicely seasoned vegetarian risotto with perfectly cooked rice and sweet mediterranean flavours (peppers, courgettes, patty-pans etc.) Next time you wake up looking for something to do on Sunday consider this as an option. They are open from 10h00 to 15h00 so whether you do brunch or lunch is up to you. Either way, good luck avoiding the bubbles.
P.S. The Caveau book is available at both branches and also at The Chef's Warehouse