{eat} Retreat into elegance at Incognito

We all need to hide away from the humdrum of the world every now and again. Recently I’ve found my new retreat, camouflaged into the green belt of the Constantia Valley. This place of rejuvenation is aptly called Incognito.

Background

Part of the prestigious The Kove Collection, Incognito is a recently renovated space tucked at the back of The Alphen in Constantia, overlooking the lush green lawns and age-old oak trees of the premises.

Specialising in small plates, this uber-contemporary sanctuary offers guests a chance to fill their lungs with fresh air, whilst indulging in Incognito’s signature cocktails and a sleeked-back modern menu of little bites.

With panoramic views all round through wall-to-wall glass windows and doors, Incognito offers several relaxation spots for the discerning city slicker. Sit outside on the terrace and soak up some sun, drape yourself inside on one of the large couches, take a seat at the bar and watch the mixologists perform their magic or gather around the fireplace for a rainy day escape.

Introduction

My favourite type of reviews will always be experience reviews, especially the ones that involve great food. Pretty drinks are always a bonus! I couldn’t wait to visit Incognito after having received an invite to hide away for a few hours at this new upbeat cocktail bar. I have always taken great delight in a small plate menu, so this seemed like the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

The venue

Familiar with the The Alphen and its various eateries, I had a vague idea where to find Incognito. Away from the bustling front-end of the hotel, you leave the chatter of people behind as you submerge yourself into the leafy arms of the gardens.  A few twists and turns and a final duck through the archway, and all of a sudden, reality seems like a distant dream.

A small outside terrace welcomes you to enter the bar which slightly reminds of a  glass greenhouse, although it’s modern steel and glass exterior makes for a striking presence in the manicured gardens of The Alphen. Once inside, the space opens up into an intimate lounge-y eatery, with a very impressive wall-to-wall bar as the focal point.

The decor is minimal with clean lines and beautiful curves. Disguised in earthy tones of light teal, forest greens, shades of grey, woody browns and creams, you simply breathe in serenity and peace with your first meeting. Soft house tunes fill the space without overpowering the tranquility of nature and everything seems to slow down a few tempos as you  conceal yourself in a luxuriously velvety bucket chair. Understated luxury for the first time.

The experience

The menu is concise, with none of the unnecessary frills and sides and garnishes. It offers plenty options for all tastes, but little enough to make your decisions easy and straightforward. Incognito is all about comfort and unwinding, which is echoed in their food and drinks menu. I started off with a grapefruit-mint gin and tonic, and a passion fruit-vanilla sours for The Tall Hedonist. Service was smooth, expert and uncomplicated, just like their cocktails.

For lunch, we decided on the arancini, grilled sirloin with salsa verde, calamari, rocket-walnut pesto bruschetta, mozzarella bocconcini and a pancetta pizette.

As we waited for our food, I could see couples and larger groups coming and going at a leisurely pace; some lingered a bit longer, engaging in hushed conversations; others sat outside with icy drinks admiring the views. There were some family groups, sharing out plates of food and toasting successes and celebrations, only to relax back into the couches as time passed.

Small plates

Our table was soon transformed into a smorgasbord of beautifully presented bites. Every plate was fresh, hot and gorgeously satisfying. I particularly enjoyed the laid-back approach to the traditional Sunday lunch; a few bites here and there, interspersed with sips of cocktails and bits of conversation whilst sitting back and taking in the surrounds.

A naughty second round of cocktails included Incognito’s spin on the classic Long Island Ice Tea and a Rooibos Cosmo, which was absolutely heavenly. Do yourself a favour and have a closer look at their bar – except for being an aesthetically exquisite feature, it also boasts with an incredible assortment of local spirits and wines.

In conclusion

With the world making continuous demands on our time, this is the perfect slow-down spot for after-work drinks and snacks, or for a long overdue catch up with family and friends. The concept of small plates means your lunch or dinner can be as long or short as you need it to be, and even if you only have an hour to spare to socialise, you’ll leave feeling refreshed.

Incognito is really the perfect place to retreat from a busy world. The team encourages you to become still, enjoy the present and indulge in this serene environment they have created.

A massive thank you to the sterling Incognito team for taking such good care of us, and for Manley Communications for sharing this beautiful property with us!

Fine print

Alphen Drive, Constantia, 7806, Cape Town, South Africa
GPS: 34° 0’46.55″S 18° 27’3.06″E

+27 (0) 21 795 6300
info@incognitobar.co.za

Trading Hours:
Monday – Friday: 16:00 till 00:00
Saturday: 12:00 till 00:00
Sunday & Public Holidays: 12:00 till 21:00
No Admission for Under 18’s after 4pm

Second photographer: The Tall Hedonist, aka Timothy P. Gibson

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.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.

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