FRENCH TOAST, the wine and tapas bar which has changed the style of city bowl eating and drinking over the past year, is celebrating its first anniversary with gifts for all its loyal – and new – diners.
Since opening 12 months ago in what was once an old city warehouse, transformed into a sophisticated venue reminiscent of Paris in the 1950s, French Toast has charmed patrons with its sumptuous yet understated décor, deliciously varied tapas menu and extensive, well-thought-out list of 150 local and international wines – most available by the glass.
Planning a birthday party is always a big decision – white linen and a sit down dinner? Or something more casual? French Toast gave it some thought and decided it is better to give than receive, particularly with the quintessential celebratory tipple.
During the last week of October, from the 24th until the 29th, selected local bubblies will be R20 a glass. All day, every day.
The celebrations peak towards the end of the week with all red wines by the glass being half price on Thursday, October 27; all white wines by the glass half price on the Friday; and finally, all tapas half price on Saturday. With around 100 wines from South Africa, Italy, France, Germany, Spain and South America by the glass you can happily drink your way around the world for far less than the price of an air ticket.
The tapas menu has recently been updated with some delectable new additions. The white anchovy and tomato on bruschetta has been upgraded from a chalkboard special to a permanent menu item, and the flat bread with caramelised onion, goat’s cheese and courgette is proving very popular. Saffron and prawn risotto and frito misto – mixed fried seafood – are also new, and regulars will be pleased to know the peri peri chicken livers are back.
Starting with snack items – the light, crispy aubergine fries are an all-time winner – the menu follows with hot and cold tapas, charcuterie and cheese platters made to order, and now four desserts including the heavenly churros con chocolate, semi fredo and of course, French toast. Portions are generous by tapas standards and present a unique way of eating.
It’s not really about ordering loads of courses all at once, or even thinking about it as a conventional full meal. Tapas are designed to be enjoyed at any time of the day, especially with a glass of wine or even a beer – French Toast now has its own pale ale on tap. Of course it’s great to go with a crowd of friends for an afternoon or a night of eating, drinking, laughing and sharing but it’s just as good to pop in for a quick snack and a sip between meetings, before or after a movie, and certainly for an hour or so after work to miss the traffic.
But sometimes you do need something a little more substantial so French Toast has introduced a fabulous R48 lunch special which is available every day from noon until 4pm. The choice of four dishes changes every couple of days, with dishes like pasta with tomato, chilli, basil and mozzarella, fresh linefish with a salad, or a wonderful open sandwich with velvety bresaola which is made right there on the premises.
Along with the ongoing Monday promotion which discounts all wines of R400 and less by half, and of course the birthday week offers, “It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all our loyal clients who have supported us, and encourage new ones,” says John Harrison, owner of French Toast, along with Karin Visser.
A former stockbroker (and MD of Table Mountain Aerial Cableway), John came into this business with an intimate working knowledge of financial markets and is the first to admit that opening a restaurant in such a difficult economic climate was an enormous risk. “We were also doing something that is very different for Cape Town, in that we are not a conventional sit-down restaurant but the concept seems to be gaining ground and taking off,” he says. “It’s not about a meal; it’s about a little bit at a time, more often.”
French Toast Wine and Tapas Bar is located on 199 Bree Street, Cape Town.
Mondays to Fridays: 12h00 till late
Saturdays: 17h00 till late
Closed on Sundays