Vicky Cristina’s is the name of a movie made by Woody Allen. Now a Spanish style restaurant with the name of the movie has opened in Camps Bay. Vicky Cristina’s tapas bar y restaurante españo is inexpensive, has an upmarket interior, and good service.
Vicky Cristina’s took over the space from Sofia’s on the upper level of the Camps Bay Promenade, above Pick ‘n Pay, a few months ago. It has sister restaurants in Johannesburg and Durban. The owner of the restaurant group is Nick Ochse, and he did the decor too, his daughter Layla told us proudly. She manages the Camps Bay branch, only answering questions I asked her, and not being proactive in sharing information, and not checking on us during our time spent at the restaurant. Waitress Yvonne is a Ghanaian, and was friendly and efficient in her service, looking professional in a black shirt and slacks without the standard branded apron.
Layla told us that her father loves Woody Allen films, and Vicky Cristina’s in particular, for its focus on love and passion. Photographs of movie actors Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson, and Javier Bardem adorn the walls, while rose wallpaper is partly covered by a collection of photographs of sexy ladies.
It was the second time in so many weeks that a noisy child threatened the enjoyment of a meal. My lunch companion Tony Ward and I asked Layla to ask the parents of the child to consider us as well, which did not really work, so we were pleased when they left.
We were told that the chef’s name is Intura, but with no additional information. Tony felt that the menu is similar to that of Tasha’s. An A4 laminated menu printed on both sides consists predominantly of Tapas dishes, of which Tony and I chose two savoury and one dessert dish each, sharing them. The menu indicates which dishes are vegetarian, and which dishes are served with gluten-free bread.
*. Patatas Bravas , crispy baby potatoes topped with mozzarella cheese and scallions (onion), and served with a spicy tomato sauce (R38)
* Duck samoosa, which had an unpleasant oily taste, described as ‘orange-scented duck confit‘, the only dish I did not enjoy. (R69)
* Flame-grilled smoked pancetta with figs, roasted tomato, and vanilla honey (R59)
* Crispy calamari, deep-fried in a crispy batter
(R59), an enjoyable dish.
Other Tapas dishes range in price from R44 to R84, and include garlic mushrooms, crumbed halloumi, Spanish omelette, grilled chicken skewers, spicy lemon chicken, garlic quail, chorizo and potato, Conquista riblets, Spanish cured meat with artichokes, pork belly with apple, lamb chops, Catalan veal with chocolate, 150g fillet steak with chips and almond pepper sauce, saffron mussels, Gazpacho oyster shot, line fish goujons, Paella, chorizo prawn skewer, and grilled prawns, an interesting and extensive collection of Tapas dishes. A Spanish platter for four costs R184. Salads cost R54 to R69. Catalan flatbreads with toppings (‘Cocas’) cost R69 – R99, but are not available during loadshedding, the menu informs.
House specialities are more expensive, up to R199, and include 250g fillet steak; rib-eye steak; beef, chicken, and chorizo skewers (‘Cha Cha Cha’); slow-roasted lamb; pork ribs; duck breast; grilled calamari; grilled fresh salmon; grilled line fish; and a vegetable dish.
For dessert (price range from R39 – R54) Tony ordered a winner, a chocolate fondue inside an orange half, with orange segments and nougat for dipping. I ordered a Sangria-poached pear with ice cream. They stock Terbedore coffee, and I enjoyed a number of perfectly made dry cappuccinos
Wines are local and none (bar one) from Spain, not even in the sherry offering, a small selection available. Almost all wines are available by the glass too, affordable in a range of R34 – R49 per glass of white and red wine, and R34 – R39 per glass of Rosé. White wine brands include Buitenverwachting, Saronsberg, Haute Cabriere, Ken Forrester, La Motte, and Mulderbosch, while the red wine list includes Kanonkop, The Chocolate Block, Meerlust, De Toren, and Rupert & Rothschild. Imported champagnes are by Freixenet (Spanish), Moët et Chandon, and Veuve Clicquot. Local sparkling wines cost R198 – R249, and include Pongracz Brut, Graham Beck Brut NV, and Boschendal Brut Rosé. One can order Sangría and Margarita by the jug.
While the restaurant positions itself on passion and love, we did not feel much if it inside, Layla being so shy and guarded, and noisy children being a passion-killer! The food was enjoyable, except for the duck samoosa, and was generally attractively presented and affordable. They have a good sense of humour!
Vicky Cristina’s, Camps Bay Promenade, Victoria Road, Camps Bay. Tel (021) 437-0221 www.vickycristinas.com Facebook only. Tuesday – Saturday 8h00 – evening, Sunday 9h00 – evening. Closed until 24 August.