Swing a pair of sunnies on Camps Bay’s Victoria Road in Cape Town and you’re likely to hit one of Paul Kovensky’s chic beachside restaurants. The Kove Collection founder’s hot-property eateries line the strip and, come summer each year, this stretch of sun-baked road teems with bronzed beachgoers filing into Kovensky-owned spaces such as Paranga, Umi and Zenzero. The latest to join the Kove stable is Bilboa, a bright and breezy suntrap that blends modern Mediterranean fare with unbeatable views and tantalising cocktails, proving Kovensky isn’t ready to rest on his laurels just yet.
While the Kove Collection might lay claim to many of the popular venues along this thoroughfare, there are few restaurants with as enviable a location as Bilboa. Capetonians will instantly recognise this site, long-time address of Blues, a Camps Bay landmark that eventually shuttered mid-2017. Perched on the second floor of The Promenade in Camps Bay, the terrace overlooks the palm-tree fringed beach and enjoys one of the best sunset vantage points in town. But it’s not just the views here that will grab your attention. The interior is sophisticated rather than swanky, setting it apart from some of its Camps Bay neighbours. Understated detail comes through in the slatted wood ceiling and wall finishes, and an elegant, neutral palette with biscuity beige tones is offset by white, gold and black. It’s chic but never over the top, and the armchairs are very comfortable, inviting you to linger for a long, lazy luncheon.
Savour a few plates on the starter menu first, offering delicious combinations such as asparagus hummus with feta and tahini, served with a delicious flatbread to scoop it all up. There are salad bowls brimming with fresh medleys of produce such as crayfish, fennel, grapes and citrus, or a verdant bounty of garden peas, asparagus, cucumber and avocado.
For the main courses, group head chef Amber Deetlefs conceptualised a list of speciality dishes with Levantine influences, such as the excellent salmon with quinoa, dukkah and Lebanese pickled cucumber. Meat eaters will revel in delectable plates such as fillet with red chimichurri, flatbread and yoghurt or lamb ribs with za’atar, lemon and sticky peach glaze.
There’s an unashamed flourish to the service here, as if each item’s Instagrammability factor had been weighed up before presentation: a margarita is garnished with a lime rind with ‘Bilboa’ carefully singed into it, and dishes are garnished with edible flowers, a touch that doesn’t have much impact on taste, but certainly makes for lovely photos. It’s these little nuances – on top of the excellent food and decor – that will burn the name Bilboa into your holiday memories.
Visit bilboa.co.za for more details or to make a reservation.