Perched on the trendy, vivacious Camps Bay beachfront, literally across the road from the beach, sits the newest addition to the Kove Collection: Bilboa Restaurant and upstairs bar, Chinchilla Rooftop Café & Bar. Together, these two venues offer spectacular and uninterrupted views across the Atlantic Ocean and down the beachfront to Lion’s Head – a view that makes you feel as though you’re on some exotic Mediterranean getaway. The restaurant itself is sophisticated and contemporary and, with its prime location, offers front row seats to the sunset. So, with a reservation for 19:30, we were just in time to enjoy the show!
With a wine list that just about featured all of my favourite estates, it didn’t take me long to make my choice of the Steenberg Sphynx Chardonnay, which embraces everything I love about the varietal: elegant and creamy with notes of butterscotch and vanilla. At the recommendation of our charismatic and knowledgeable server, Noddy, we ordered a starter of the tender baby squid, presented on a velvety and flavourful bed of roast red pepper purée with black olives, clams, and basil. We also had the asparagus hummus with crumbed feta, cumin, tahini and flat bread, still warm from the oven. Both were truly delicious – well exceeding expectations – and a fabulous start to the meal.
By the time we were ready to order our mains, the sun had set, and Camps Bay Beach Road had transformed from towel-clad tourist-littered beachfront to a glittering strip of thrumming nightlife. A stern ocean breeze picked up, but Bilboa is well prepared for Cape Town’s schizophrenic weather and our server draped us in warm blankets so that we could enjoy the fresh air and beautiful view without getting chilled.
On to the starring attraction: for mains, my partner ordered grilled prawns with a trusty side of French fries. I had the red drum (sea bass), grilled and served on a bed of clams (still in their shells), olives, tomato, garlic, and thyme. The presentation was gorgeous and the dish entirely satisfying. One glass of wine down, and with a plus one who isn’t a drinker, I decided to order another glass of wine, this time, the decadent Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir Chardonnay. To accompany our dishes, we chose a bowl of roast carrots (delicious!) and the cauliflower with goats cheese, pine nuts, currants, lemon, honey, mustard, and capers: tasty, and a little on the sweet side with the honey taking centre stage.
The great thing about a seafood meal is that you don’t find yourself getting unpleasantly full after two courses, which, of course, means one thing: bring on the desserts! Again, we went with our server’s suggestion and chose the lemon tart with roasted nuggets of meringue and yoghurt ice cream, and the custard served with vanilla sponge, honey ice cream, and marshmallow. Both were delicious, sweet, and the perfect conclusion to a stunning meal.
After dinner, we were taken on a brief tour of the restaurant and her sister bar, Chinchilla Rooftop Café & Bar, which lies upstairs from the main eatery. This playful, “Boho-chic” upstairs space is a little more laid-back and is reminiscent of some of Thailand’s fancier, trendier beach bars (just replace Camps Bay’s canary palms with coconut palms). I can well imagine kicking back on one of the loungers with a cocktail after work on a Friday and made a mental note to do just that sometime soon.
Bilboa Restaurant is yet another jewel in the Kove Collection’s crown of Cape Town eateries, which includes the likes of Umi (Camps Bay), Firefish (V&A Waterfront), and the Bungalow (Clifton). It serves delicious fare in a beautiful setting and with front row seats to the sunset, you couldn’t ask for a better place to spend an evening.
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday: 12h00 – 22h30
Phone: 021 286 5155
P.S. Book now for a New Year’s feast spectacular at Bilboa, view the menu here.