Review: Spasie, secret dining in an underground restaurant

After being intrigued for months by the numerous social media reports coming from fellow foodies about underground restaurant Spasie, I decided to go on a little pro-active discovery myself. Located in Bo Kaap, this restaurant has a variety of themed evenings with guest chefs, ranging from the more casual Pocket Watch Wednesdays, where gourmet street food is served, to Chef’s Table on Thursday and Friday, where some of the countries best chefs prepare a four or five course menu.

How to get in? Simply register to be invited, or find one of the pocket watches located in the city to get yourself an entrance. I went on Wednesday to one of the more casual evenings, and we found ourselves in Bo Kaap looking for a restaurant with no signage. A bouncer let us in a seemingly standard corridor, which led to the open space with candle-lit wooden tables and a drinks table at the back. On the right side of the room, a giant twister board was painted on the floor.

From the beginning, we were assured that the casual living room atmosphere was the sentiment, and we were free to feel at home as much as possible. The long center table was shared with other guests, and we soon found ourselves in a game of Cards Against Humanity with our fellow diners.

For food, we were given the option of a 3 course menu, consisting of casual food made with a twist. Spasie encourages the guest chefs to prepare something special, and in our case we got served a wonderfully rich butternut soup with goat cheese bruschetta followed by a deconstructed pork pie. The dessert was a malva pudding, but unfortunately I did not get the chance to try the accidentally understocked (oops!) dish.

What Spasie offers is a unique experience in the most casual of venues. The mystery leading up to the dinner contributed to the fun that was added to the otherwise straightforward dining experiences in Cape Town. Spasie really does offer a comfortable space and gives you the opportunity to feel at home. I often caught myself roaming around the place and randomly picking up a conversation with a stranger, something I would rarely do in other venues. The food offered something original and was absolutely fulfilling (I’ll forgive them the little dessert hick-up ;), and the service was friendly and attentive. It takes some serious guts for a restaurant to have such a unique approach to getting customers. But they totally deliver on their unique promise. Absolutely worth another visit.

Rating 4/5 on a scale of being so cool and underground

Photo: Spasie’s Twitter

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