Those who stay in the southern suburbs of Cape Town should be familiar with the renowned Peddlars & Co. (or formerly Peddlars on the Bend), a restaurant and bar space hiding out in Constantia. In April 2015, they expanded their offering with a new tapas restaurant – Graciales, the new addition to the concept destination Peddlars & Co. Their award-winning Chef Brad Ball was instrumental in pioneering this venture and after having followed his work from his time at Bistro Sixteen82, I was more than excited to receive and invite to experience Graciales for myself.
Modern decor, great service and intimate tables, perfect for sharing food, it was date-night, and Kyle and I split a total of five tapas dishes, of which most were recommendations by Chef Brad and our waiter, JP. In addition, they also organised a mocktail for me based on the Basil-Melon Daisy. It usually contains gin (but left out for my non-alcoholic self), basil, raspberry jam, melon, lemon juice and soda, with cracked black peppered.
Red Lentil Dhal
One of their signature dishes, lovely sable texture, topped with fresh coriander.
Tataki Beef, Soya, Chili, Lime and Ginger
This was the highlight of my evening. Our waiter explained that this dish was Chef Brad on a plate, how every ingredient perfectly complements each other and that we should definitely try it out. Thinly sliced marinated beef, so tender and flavourful, then finished off beautifully with a squeeze of fresh lime.
Chicharonnes and Hot Sauce
This is a Mexican delicacy, very similar to cracklin, but these pork rinds are lighter than the usual cracklin I’ve had before. These guys were dehydrated before frying, and unseasoned so you can taste the fragrant fatty flavour. The hot sauce was not all that chili, but spiced to complement the chicharonnes. We shared one of these, but I skeem one plate between four people is plenty as the portion was quite big. Not that I’m complaining.
Sticky Pork Belly, Black Bean Chilli Curd
When pork belly cubes just melts in your mouth like butter. Wow. JP explained Chef Brad’s lengthy yet worthy process to achieve the desirable softness. It’s a definite must-try on the menu.
Grilled Calamari, Chimichurri
Expecting a punch of vinegar and herbs, the Chimichurri was actually nice and subtle allowing you to taste the fresh flavours of the calamari.
To end things off, we ordered one portion of their Petit Fours. To be honest, I’m not the biggest Turkish Delight fan, but things changed after having Graciales’ freshly-made Turkish Delight. We saved the royally dark chocolate truffles for last, which wasn’t too sweet, making it the perfect finish to our meal.
I found that there was a theme of traditional delicacies on the menu, but presented in a modern fashion with splashes of bright colours and hints of various cultures, including Asian and Mexican. From the friendly manager, our waiter JP, Chef Brad to the rest of the team – I want to say thank you for a wonderful evening!
Pictures below, courtesy of Claire Gunn Photography.
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