Sotano has taken over the space where Bravo was in Mouille Point, opposite the lighthouse. It’s a great location and they are open on Mondays which, for me is a big plus. It’s owned by the Caveau crew which explains the great new look. Their sense of style has not let them down, but Sotano certainly does not look anything like Caveau. It’s summery and white with light coloured fabrics and the occasional bright coloured accessory to liven it up a little. The feature point is the big white bar as you walk in, it’s really striking. The inside of the restaurant is a lot bigger than people think. While most choose to sit outside, it’s actually quite pleasant inside and the bonus is that the chairs are more comfortable.
I’ve eaten at Sotano twice. On the first occasion four of us shared a selection of tapas and on the second occasion eight of us had full meals. Both were on a Monday, strangely. Our tapas meal was a pretty good experience. The staff were attentive and the food came quickly, there wasn’t anything to complain about. Although I had a weird drink experience. I arrived before the rest of my table and the manageress (I think) asked me if I would like a drink. I responded that I would love a Peroni draught as I was dying of thirst, having just come off the beach. She smiled and rushed off to get it. This is the weird part, it took nearly 10 minutes and several interventions before the beer actually arrived. I normally wouldn’t worry too much about a small thing like that, but it was a hint at the frustrations we were going to experience on our next visit.
The tapas were tasty, apart from the aubergine dip (R10) which only livened up after a serious dosing of salt. I had the fried calamari tentacles (R35) served with a delicious aioli. We ordered a tomato and basil flat bread, a mixed tomato salad (R60), some fries and one or two other things which I can’t recall. I don’t have a copy of the menu, not the bill so the prices may not be entirely accurate, but good enough to give you an idea. We drank beer so I didn’t look at the wine list.
On my second visit, we had the weird drinks problem again. We placed our order and then didn’t see the waiter again for about 15 minutes. That may not sound like long, but it really is. I was curious to wait and see how long it would actually take before he returned with drinks and took our food order. But someone else at the table decided intervention was necessary so a manager was hailed and the drinks came shortly afterwards.
For mains I ordered the paella (R95) which was a mistake. I don’t order paella in restaurants because it’s never good (I’m half Spanish, so we eat a fair amount of paella home) but I had this sudden collapse of cynicism and thought I would give it a try. Relative to the other paellas I have had in restaurants in SA, it was ok. But as a paella, not great. Someone at the table ordered the frits which are fried slices of courgettes, they looked great (it’s a tapa). Two girls opposite me ordered the seared tuna nicoise salad which they were not particularly impressed with. The tuna didn’t look fantastic and there was a large amount of half potatoes which made it quite a starchy salad. No real dressing to give flavour either. Someone had the risotto which looked way too liquid. That’s all I can remember.
Overall that was not a great restaurant experience, but I will probably go back. Why? I think Sotano is better than that, I’m hoping it was just an off night. I will select more reliable menu options next time. I saw the lamb burger go past and that looked amazing. I’ll tell you about my next visit in the comments below.
The wine list is quite interesting and extensive, although I’ve heard people complain that they often don’t have stock of quite a few of the wines. We just had wine by the glass at about R45 per glass.
I’m sorry I don’t have pictures for you. I was hoping to steal some off their website but it’s still under construction.
121 Beach Road, Mouille Point
Tel: 021 433 1757