East City Exploring, part 1: Dinner at the all-new Belly of the Beast

by Karisa

Have you heard of Cape Town’s East City precinct?  Some of you may know it as lower Gardens, on the map it’s basically where the CBD meets District Six, and loosely speaking it centers around Roeland, Buitenkant, Darling, Canterbury and Harrington streets.

When I moved into the area back in 2010, it wasn’t really a sexy place to be, but over the last couple of years I’ve watched the area become an exciting new hub of design with lots of new businesses opening its doors and all the hipsters and “cool kids” following right behind behind them.

Today the area has so much to offer locals and tourists alike with museums, interesting new restaurants, quirky coffee shops, bookshops, galleries, boutiques, design studios and more.

It’s safe to say that:  I really love my hood!  And over the past weeks I’ve made it my mission to try out some of the new eateries that have opened.

First was Belly of the Beast – a brand spankin’ new 20 seater, nose-to-tail, fine dining restaurant offering a daily tasting menu which is only unveiled once you arrive.   Now the idea of a surprise menu may be a bit daunting to most, but to me it was quite intriguing…

To help put your mind at ease though, you can provide any dietary requirements when booking  (they just don’t cater for banting or low-carb eaters unfortunately).  So If there’s really something you are never-ever going to be willing (or able) to eat, you can let them know.  BUT, I do recommend going out on a limb a bit and opening your mind to something new.  I mean you never know, you may just love something you never thought you would.  I, for example, wouldn’t normally jump at an opportunity to eat beef tongue… but you know what, they served it & I loved it.  So there you go.

Belly of the Beast is situated at 110 Harrington Street

Decor-wise they’ve kept things quite simple with a dark grey, olive green & rich brown palette.  There’s also a lot of exposed concrete, giving it a bit of a gritty, industrial feel, which I think suits their location very well.

My friend, Werner, and I were eager beavers, so were the first people to arrive at 18:50, but by around 19:20 the restaurant was full. (just in case my photos below make you worry that they don’t manage to fill those 20 seats)

Also enjoyed the open-plan kitchen. That way you can see all the careful preparation going into each course…

Now let’s talk about the food.  As I mentioned above, the menu is only revealed upon arrival, there are also no set courses.  You are however guaranteed at least 5 to 8 courses per sitting.

Cost wise it’s a set price of R450 per person.  This does not include any drinks, it covers the food only, but trust me – you won’t leave there hungry.

The kitchen is run by Chef’s Anouchka Horn and Neil Swart who pride themselves in buying only the best sustainably farmed, whole animals which is then paired with local, seasonal ingredients.  The menu changes daily depending on what the chefs are able to source.

So basically you need to just sit back, relax & trust that you are in amazing hands.

Just an important note:  They are not licensed yet, so you do need to bring your own wine.  I quite liked this because I could bring along a favourite bottle from home without having to pay any corkage.

This was what the menu looked like on the night we paid them a visit…

But before you get started with the first course, you’re in for a pretty fantastic bread course consisting of sourdough rolls which have been baked in their wood fire oven, which on the night was paired with the creamiest chicken liver parfait (not sure if they change that up every night as well).

This was so delicious… at this point I already knew we were in for a treat…

Now the actual courses – there were 5 in total:

Beef tongue – if they hadn’t told me this was tongue, I probably wouldn’t even have realised. Really loved this dish.

Kudu tataki – fresh, zesty flavours. Another great dish.

Hake – and as you can see, not your regular hake you get at a fish & chips shop. This was probably the most elegant hake I’ve ever had.

Time for a quick palate cleanser… how pretty is their cutlery though?

Lamb bacon – an absolutely delicious pairing. I mean who doesn’t love lamb & bacon right?

Cheese bunt – I don’t know what I was expecting when I read “cheese bunt”, but it wasn’t this. This was however a whole lot better than my mind could ever have dreamt up.

And then with our coffees we also got some additional sweet treats which was a really nice surprise:

I can happily report that I really loved every single bite.  The attention to detail and interesting flavour combinations is something that’ll ensure that’ll you’ll want to keep going back to see what else they can come up with.  The service is also friendly & attentive, and the restaurant has a lovely, relaxed feel (not stuffy at all – which is something fine dining restaurants sometimes suffer from).

For a really memorable dining experience (and great night out), I’m going to give Belly of the Beast a top score ofon my Miss K Kiss-o-Meter scale.  Looking back at 2018 so far, this meal is definitely standing out as one of my top 5.

Keen to give them a try for yourself?  Then just take note of the following need-to-knows:

  • Belly of the Beast works on bookings only – so no walk-ins.  The booking process is super easy though & can be done online via their website.
  • Dinner tasting menu is R450 pp & a deposit of R150 per guest is required to secure your reservation. Non-payment will constitute a cancellation of the provisional booking.
  • A 100% refund will be returned for any cancellation or modification made no later than 24 hours prior to your booking.
  • In the case of a late cancellation or no notification of modifications by the guest or a no show, the full deposit per cancelled or absent guest will be held.
  • Belly of the Beast is open 7 days a week – currently only for dinner.


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