I love nothing more than to walk into a restaurant and feel like I have left my Cape Town life and have been transported to another world. Enter: Lou Lou’s.
The Space in a nutshell
Lou Lou’s in the Cape Quarter is a 45 seater restaurant/lounge/bar that feels like you’ve stepped into a gentleman’s lounge from the Mad Men days – minus the sexism and penchant for smoking indoors. Dark interiors with an abundance of moody lighting, leather wing backed chairs, gold gilding, and a door knocker theme – Google tells me that a Lou Lou is a type of door knocker, but no one in the restaurant could explain this in more detail – all set the mood.
The Food in a nutshell
They have an uncomplicated, sophisticated food menu with a focus on tapas with an Asian-Italian flair, and an extensive alcohol collection, especially their whiskeys and single malts, will have something for everyone. I particularly like that they have a great lunch menu at affordable prices, including some of their best sellers. A great example, not featured below (I’ve been for lunch and I inhaled my food before I took a photo) is a particularly delicious spicy prego chicken roll, served with a pile of chips for only R65 and their Wagyu Beef Burger featured below for only R99!
The Full Shebang
Comfy in my high-backed seat, it’s hard not to appreciate the detail in the design of Lou Lou’s. Everything has been considered and thematically designed to the T, it honestly felt like I’d been taken back in time. But not the food. No, no, the menu is a blend of heritage and modernity, with contemporary twists on classics with a bit of an Italian/Asian fusion. From tapas to bar snacks, lunch specials and the full menu items, there’s something for every eating occasion.
Olives // 65
Spiced olives with almonds and served with focaccia. Nice as a bar snack I suppose, but they were just dressed in the “spice” and not actually marinated. Nothing to write home about.
Prawn toast // 55
This was delicious. Uber crisp, golden toast fingers, topped with a what tasted like prawn cocktail and then served with an umami (a fancy word for a saltyish/meaty flavour) miso mayo. It was rich and full-flavoured, with a great lemony acidity that cut through.
Seared Salmon // 85
Nice chucky slices of fresh salmon, gently seared and then topped with 7 spice. The smoky dressing, lime mayo and sweet potato chips added a medley of flavours and textures. A perfectly executed dish.
Lamb & Pea Croquettes // 75
I thought the salmon was good, and then I bit into one of these bad boys. A beautiful twist on the quintessential combo, served with a mint pesto and wholegrain mustard. The lamb itself hadn’t been pulverised to nothing, but was in big, tender pieces that melted in your mouth.
Wagyu Burger // 120 (or 99 at lunch time!)
A well seasoned beef patty, topped with caramelized red onion, mature cheddar, and rocket then served with a choice of salad, veg, or truffle fries. The huge pile of chips and well-sized burger was very nice, but it wasn’t OHHHMYYYGOODDDDDDDD nice. Unlike the…
Linefish // 135
… which was OOOOOOOOHHHMMMYYYYGOOOODDDDDD. I never, ever order fish in a restaurant but for some reason this was calling out to me. The buttery cod was meaty and firm, served on pea mash with baby potatoes and roasted cauliflower. Not a huge portion, but every bite was an absolute treat.
Passion Fruit Panacotta // 60
Smooth, silky, creamy custardy vanilla panacotta, topped with fresh passion fruit. I am a big vanilla fan and don’t really like it when restaurants flavor the panacotta itself, so this put a smile on my face. We fought over it to the very last mouthful.
Lou Lou’s is a really cool little hang out both for dinner and lunch. I work in the area and have been back a few times to get involved in their lunch specials. As I mentioned above, the prego chicken roll is a serious deal. It would be a cool spot to host an event or have a partaay. It’s embarrassing to admit how often I have those lamb croquettes on my mind.