Casa Labia in Muizenberg has always been an enticing venue for me. Built back in 1929, Casa Labia is the former Muizenberg residence of Count and Countess Natale Labia & was designed to reflect the spirit of 18th century Venice (one of my favourite cities in the world).
Today it’s a popular wedding venue, but not a lot of people realise that they also have a restaurant called Cucina Labia. I paid them a visit about 2 weeks back for lunch on a particularly stormy Sunday & ended up having a really lovely afternoon.
But as part of my full disclosure policy, this was actually not my first visit to Cucina Labia. I visited them for the first time back in January of this year. I was blown away by how beautiful the setting was, but unfortunately the food missed the mark.
That said, the team at Cucina Labia were super awesome about my feedback. Since then they’ve kept me in the loop with happenings & changes, and then towards the end of July they invited me for a return visit to come and try out their new & improved winter menu.
Because my recent visit was on a cold, rainy, winter’s day, I did still want to share some of the beautiful photos I took back in January, because well… sunny photos always trump rainy photos. So excuse the blend, but hopefully you’ll understand why I went this route when you see the photos.
To set the scene, let’s start with the sunny exterior & interior shots – just to show you how beautiful this place is:
Upon my return visit we were very lucky to get the same table, which I loved, because let’s face it… sea views are sea views regardless of the weather conditions.
The menu still had some of the items that were there before, but also included a whole array of exciting, new dishes that we were very eager to try. My dining partner-in-crime was my bestie, Kim, who had actually joined me on my previous visit as well. We decided to share all of the dishes we ordered 50/50, that way we could enjoy a wider variety of things.
While we were perusing the menu, the bread, which is served with a homemade chutney & tasty olives, kept us quite happy:
We finally settled on the following starters: The C3 – green curry crustacean & coconut soup, brioche prawn & pork toast, poached prawn tail, smoked mussels, chorizo dust (R155) and the Black beauty – cherry smoked duck, liver & hanepoot parfait, date & onion marmalade, black grapes, almond stuffed prunes (R125).
I really enjoyed both starters. At a push, Kim was leaning towards the C3 being her favourite while I was leaning towards the Black Beauty being my favourite. But overall, a really great start to the meal.
For mains we went for: The Osso Buco – slow braised beef shin, gremolata mousse, smoked tomato risotto, burnt onion, bone marrow jus (R180) and the Weskus – fish of the day, Malay spiced seafood crust, snoek, apricot, pine nut, sweet potato, fine beans (R170).
Being a lover of red meat, I actually thought the Osso Buco would be my favourite, but as tasty as that was, the fish was the star out of these two dishes. It was so beautifully cooked and that Malay spiced seafood crust complemented the fish perfectly.
For dessert we went for: The In fiamme – dark chocolate chilli fondant, kataifi logs, honeycomb,
candied orange, burnt marshmallow (R85) and the Formaggio – mature cheddar goujeres, baked camembert, gorgonzola catalan, chevin fondant, fig chutney, biscotti, Marsala (R115).
The fondant was unfortunately a bit overcooked, so it lacked the gooey center I was looking for, but mixed with the other elements, it was still an enjoyable dish. The cheese was creamy & rich, so cheese-lovers will definitely get their fix with this one.
So yeah, fondant aside, the rest of the dishes we tried were all really lovely and a huge turnaround from our first visit back in January.
Other notable mentions: The service was warm & welcoming – attentive without being overbearing, and the pricing I felt was pretty standard for this style of restaurant.
I’m going to give Cucina Labia a solid score of on my Miss K Kiss-o-Meter scale & recommend that you definitely pay them a visit for yourself. To further tempt you, you can also have a look at their full menu over here.
For reservations you can contact them on 021 788 6062 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cucina Labia is open to the public from Tuesday to Friday 10h00 to 16h00, Saturday to Sunday 09h00 to 16h00 and Friday evenings 18h00 to 22h00. Breakfast is only served on the weekends & every Saturday and Sunday between 13h00 and 16h00 you can enjoy the smooth piano sounds of pianist Jean-Paul Grimaldi-Lasserre.