To me, the perfect Cape Town restaurant should have exclusive and uninterrupted views of our incredibly beautiful piece of the continent. It should have innovative and stunning dishes showcasing our local produce. It should have a relaxed, yet playful atmosphere, as us Capetonians like to present ourselves to the rest of the world. And signature cocktails would be the cherry on top. I was completely blown away when I realised Chinchilla Rooftop Café and Bar ticks all the boxes. Where have I been? Obviously not in Camps Bay…
I was super excited to receive an invite for dinner at Chinchilla a few weeks ago. Forming part of the Kove Collection, known for its string of sophisticated and contemporary eateries, I knew this was going to be a night to remember. I don’t spend a lot of time in Camps Bay and was really looking forward to seeing what the other side of the seaboard has on offer. From their website, Chinchilla seemed almost too good to be true with contemporary beach vibes and colourful, but incredibly stylish décor. The menu looked amazing and I couldn’t wait to try some of their cocktails, which sounded like the perfect match for a sunset dinner.
Setting the scene
We were welcomed by the floor manager when we arrived, and showed to our table right by the open windows looking out over Camps Bay beach. Even at 18.00 on a Wednesday evening, Chinchilla was pleasantly full of a cosmopolitan mix of people, ranging from young working professionals to couples, groups of friends and families.
This exclusive rooftop bar and café was everything it was hyped up to be on the internet and looked every bit as glamorous as I expected. It’s a large, airy space with an eclectic mix of tables and couches, lovingly embraced by a gorgeously beautiful wooden bar counter to the side and vast panoramic windows all around. It boasts with impressive 360° views of Camps Bay, Lions Head and the Twelve Apostles.
Chinchilla reminds of an oasis in the desert with soft draping and pot plants adding a flair of the bohemian to the ambiance, without losing any of its classic sophistication. It brings café chic to the foreground in every detail. Pops of colour adds a touch of summer beach day nostalgia and the rustic wooden accents results in a certain timeless elegance.
We ushered in the gloriously cloudy sunset with an aptly named cocktail, Purple Haze, and a classic-with-a-twist, a watermelon min G&T. The cocktails were beautifully presented and tasted even more delicious. They are of course mixed by an in-house mixologist, and I wouldn’t have expected any less from Chinchilla. A perfect way to end a mid-week day, whilst feeling the breeze, watching the palms sway and the clouds break in soft peachy colours over the ocean.
Our waiter was friendly, prompt and very efficient. In fact, all the staff we interacted with were pleasant, professional and very knowledgeable.
We started with the beef carpaccio and a fresh plate of crudites. We had the beef burger and white fish mains and ended off with vanilla crème brûlée served with shortbread fingers. All the dishes were tastefully presented with a minimalistic approach in mind so that the stars of the show can shine their brightest without the noise of unnecessary garnishes.
The beef carpaccio was melt in the mouth and the lemon, parsley, olive oil & mustard dressing was just enough to cut through the richness of the meat without overpowering the pure flavour of the beef. The crudité board was an absolute pleasure which reminds of harvest basket filled with freshly picked baby vegetables; the perfect snack whilst sipping cocktails and settling into the mellow music.
The burger was cooked to medium perfection and the toppings were incredibly fresh and appetising. The fish main course (hake) was generous and prettily complimented with a side of shoestring fries and broccolini in lemon butter.
The crème brûlée, however, was out of this world. Not too sweet, with just the right balance of custardy goodness to crunchy topping. The shortbread was crumbly and rich, as it should be. The best ending to a night of good food.
By the time we finished our meal, the lights were turned low and the music was turned up. The vibe changed from a daytime sundowner venue to a mid-week let-your-hair-down feelgood spot as trays of cocktails left the bar balanced on the hands of upbeat waiters. I seriously enjoyed the music and the general festive atmosphere that settled into the tables of patrons.
Chinchilla is a lovely spoil and a much needed breakaway from the real world every now and again. For an afternoon or a night, you can celebrate an occasion in a gorgeous spot whilst literally feeling on top of the world. You can’t go wrong with the food, drinks, service, views, venue or atmosphere. And there is just something about breathing in the fresh sea air that awakens one’s appetite and zest for life (and Chinchilla’s sterling food, of course!).
I can totally get used to this rooftop café and bar idea – it’s so much cooler than being confined to the four walls of a restaurant. It’s refreshing to feel the breeze in your hair, it’s nice to drink an ice cold cocktail or beer whilst watching the sun set over an almost picture perfect beach. It’s such a generous indulgence and one of life’s little pleasures to spend a starry night with the best dinner company, knowing that Chinchilla has the rest covered. Confidently. All you have to do is sit back, relax and be happy in the moment. Smiles all round.
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.