Peddlars & Co Review
When I moved to Cape Town 15 or so years ago, there were a handful of restaurants that I got invited to often. Peddlars On The Bend was one of them. I did live in the southern suburbs for my first few years in Cape Town, so Peddlars was quite a convenient option. Then I moved to the Atlantic seaboard and it’s been many years since I visited this particular watering hole. Then I heard that things were changing and that chef Brad Ball was moving there from the Bistro at Steenberg. I loved what Brad did at Bistro Sixteen82 so I was quite excited to see what he would do at Peddlars.
I was invited to experience the new Peddlars. But I didn’t realise it would involve multiple visits, because Peddlars now has 4 distinct food offerings! Well, 3 are very distinct and the 4th is the bar menu which is a subset of the the menu available on the terrace. So I did, I went 3 times. This is how committed I am to getting you the information you need!
Graciales is a tapas style restaurant. The intention is that you order a few dishes for the table and you share them. It’s meant to be a very social and fun experience and sharing food always facilitates that. Sharing good food even more so. And the food is good. Highlights for me were the sticky Vietnamese ribs (R48) and sticking with sticky, the sticky pork belly (R88). Things I’d like to try on my next visit are the peri-peri chicken livers (R45) and the beef sliders (R88). But one dish you have to order is the beef tataki (R88). This was Brad’s signature dish at Steenberg bistro and I’m glad he’s brought it with him (or else the friendship would be over).
If there are a few of you, you might want to check out the selection of ‘grazing boards‘ at R180 each which feed 3 to 4 people. Dessert is limited to a selection of petite fours (R45). If you really want something sweet I’d actually recommend you trot over to Volare, the Italian restaurant a whisper away, and have their apple crumble or chocolate fondant.
The style of Graciales is modern, fresh and quite summery, with glossy wooden tables accompanied by funky yellow chairs of unusual design, which are a surprisingly comfortable. The feel is completed by sophisticated lighting, each lighting element being no small part of the decor. My only tip to ensure you enjoy the experience fully is that if they come and try to polish the tables around you, don’t be polite like we were, tell them to sod off before you’re asphyxiated by Mr Min. Maybe we had lingered too long.
See my full image gallery from Graciales here.
Seeing as we already mentioned the desserts at Volare, we might as well get stuck in. Volare is the first section you encounter on entering Peddlars. Offering contemporary Italian cuisine, Volare is the most formal and sophisticated of the dining options. Even though Volare is only a separator away from Graciales, some striking decor elements like the plush navy blue banquette against a parquet wall and the glass wine cellar give this area a distinctly more sophisticated feel. The comfortable chairs, white table cloths and quality glassware on the tables invite you to settle in for a culinary journey. Polygonal glass pendants containing Edison bulbs hang above the tables on one side, not only providing soft lighting but also cementing the modern feel of the room.
When we ate at Volare, they were just about to bring in their winter menu so we were treated to some of the new dishes but we also couldn’t resist trying some of the old dishes too! We ate far too much but it was good. The menu is structured in the traditional Italian way of antipasti, primi, secondi and dolce. I’ve never understood how Italians aren’t all enormous because it’s a lot of food. A small bowl of pasta fills me but for them that’s just the primi!
From the antipasti selection we opted for the zucchini fritters (R40) which were nice, until I squeezed the lemon wedge over them, then they were great. We also tried the house salad and that was lovely, super fresh and a luxurious selection of ingredients. Let’s not neglect to mention the freshly baked bread that arrived at the table soon after ordering.
From the primi options we selected spaghetti with beef meatballs (R98). This was delicious and I was pleased to see a mention of South African olive oil in the menu description. It’s a good sign when a chef takes his olive oil seriously. We also had the rabbit pasta which I see is not on the menu anymore. That’s a shame because it was amazing and it would have been my top recommendation. Also off the menu is the cauliflower in white sauce and topped with fontina cheese.
We were rapidly running out of space in our tummies by this stage so we ordered just one dish from the secondi menu, which was the roast pork belly (R150). Brad knows about pork belly so I was not surprised that it was superb. The various dishes we ordered came in a variety of crockery of different shapes, sizes and colours. A visually appealing affair to say the least. The pork belly was particularly striking with the bright green beans and some purple highlights set against a dark plate.
When I said we were full, that’s obviously apart from the space we had saved for dessert. The chocolate fondant (R58) was amazing. I see there is now a baked apple tart with mascarpone ice cream (R58), I’m definitely going to try that next time.
I was impressed with the wine list, it offered unusual but nicely selected wines at fairly reasonable prices. We were brave and tried something we’d never heard of before and it was excellent. There is a small wine cellar so I assume it could be possible to select a wine by sight if one so desired.
See my full image gallery from Volare here.
For those that miss the old Peddlars, The Local will be the closest they will get to having it back. This area is the revamped bar area which also has its own small bar menu featuring light items like peri peri chicken livers (R45) and nachos (R55) and heavier options like hake & chips (R98), pork ribs (R125) and the popular Local Burger (R98).
The new bar has some shiny new taps offering a good selection of craft beers plus many more by the bottle. I tried a couple of new beers I had not seen before. I seem to recall spotting a TV in the bar for those who want to watch sport.
The Oak Terrace
This last section at Peddlars & Co offers al fresco dining out back, in the shadow of enormous oak trees. Perfect on summery days in winter or summer. The terrace has its own menu which features highlights from the other menus plus a few extra dishes and a selection of salads. We enjoyed a cocktail on the terrace and enjoyed the sunshine before we headed inside for our extravaganza of food at Volare.
I’m sorry that it took me nearly 1,200 words to tell you about the new Peddlars & Co, but there is so much to say that I fear even with that many words I have not done it full justice. To summarise, I believe Peddlars will soon be a local favourite once again, attracting different people for different reasons on different occasions. Whatever their reason for being their, no matter where they choose to eat or drink, they will all be adding to the vibe, which is what Peddlars & Co is all about.
Peddlars & Co
Spaanschemat River Rd, Constantia
Tel: 021 794 7747