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The concept of social dining dates all the way back to Ancient Greece, but it’s arguably been perfected by Chef Julia Hattingh at her warm and intimate restaurant, aptly named the Reverie Social Table.

The Concept
Julia’s antique wooden table – seating a maximum of 18 guests, dominates her eclectic restaurant in the quirky neighbourhood of Observatory in Cape Town. It is around this table d’hôte style eatery that Julia invites guests, whether friends or strangers, to break bread and get to know one another while enjoying an indulgent five course meal with wine pairings.

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The Dining Experience
The surprise menu changes in accordance to with what’s available from her local fresh produce suppliers and is designed around the wine series of the moment. We were fortunate enough to be invited to experience the Springfield Estate series – inspired by six wines from the Robertson valley vineyard.

Upon arrival, Julia’s team poured us a glass of the first Sauvignon Blanc of the evening before inviting us to join the other diners in the quaint courtyard. Breaking the ice with fellow food lovers is not a hard task, and it wasn’t long before we were all chatting about our love of food and wine, as well as the journey that brought us to Julia’s table.

Each course was presented by Julia herself, her passion behind each ingredient and pairing note evident in her ebullient introductions. We were also joined by Jenna, the representative from Springfield. Her deep knowledge of each wine (she is the estate owner’s daughter) and anecdotal stories added a depth and richness to our culinary and vino journey.

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Julia’s wealth of culinary experience, gleaned during her years spent in Michelin-star restaurants, is evident in each morsel, inspired by French and local flavours alike. We enjoyed a sumptuous smokey aubergine soup with freshly baked sourdough that we couldn’t help but finish, followed by fresh octopus drizzled with chorizo oil, before the mains of either pork belly or line fish, served with celeriac purée and drizzled in a buttery broth. Should any diners have dietary requirements, Julia is kind enough to adjust each plate for them accordingly. It goes without saying that the wines were equally as splendid- the whites and reds enhanced by the flavours of each course.

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As if in a friend’s home, there was no hurry towards the end. Diners are free to wonder around and explore the changing artwork, library and idiosyncratic décor, Julia’s team apt at discerning the mood and timing of each course. We ended with a gorgonzola parfait, paired with a beetroot sorbet before our minty, dark chocolate brownie for dessert.

With the show officially over, Julia joined us for a chat and another glass of wine – not an experience one usually gets to share with a chef of her calibre. As if in a dream state, our motley table of thirteen sat well after 12pm before leaving the warm glow of Julia’s magical space – vowing to return before long.

Book Your Communal Dining Experience at Reverie Social Table

  • Book online here
  • Dinners begin at R700 per person and include five courses and six wines.
  • Ala carte lunches are served daily.

Blog post by: Tarah Darge

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