Getting Stuffed by Caveau Restaurant in Cape Town

It was like being kicked in the teeth by a French prostitute wearing Rossi boots. And this happened at one of my favourite Cape Town wine establishments.

Okay, a bit of background: I dig Caveau. Not the restaurant-wine bar next to Newlands rugby stadium, but the eatery in the city centre. Killer steak tartare. Very good sushi. Nice people, especially seeing as Caveau shares a space with Max Models and lunch-times seem to be a good time for leggy models to drop by with their portfolios.

But the best thing about Caveau is the wine. Great wine list. Diverse selection by bottle and by glass. The place makes no bones about its aspirations of wanting to be seen as a wine destination.

No problem. I enjoy it and spend good dosh buying wine there, albeit that some of the mark-ups are a bit steep.

Last week I drop in at Caveau for a late lunch with The Porra and Calculus. We order food and expensive beers. And then I haul out a bottle of Crystallum Pinot Noir 2008. It is not on the wine-list, so I thought I could pay corkage so as to allow Calculus and the Porra to experience what I perceive to be great wine. And Caveau being a wine emporium, I did not think this would be a problem.

Not. No wines from outside allowed. I explained the situation ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ it was not a BYO get-pissed-cheaply scenario. We merely wished to share a bottle of special wine in a special place.

No, sorry. Rules are rules.

I put the bottle away after muttering some delicate words about the waiter’s mother’s pink bits and continued drinking beer. A while later, we tried again. And this time a different waiter was more forthcoming. He opened the wine, poured three meagre tasting drops, and pushed the cork deep back into the bottle.

That was it. No it was not. Then the waiter had the nerve to come back to our table and ask us where the Crystallum can be sourced because a customer on an adjoining table wanted to know.

Two thumbs down.

-,,,,,,,,, Faizel van der Vyver

9 thoughts on “Getting Stuffed by Caveau Restaurant in Cape Town

  1. I’m not sure why you’d expect to be allowed to drink your own wine in a restaurant. You probably have a point given that they eventually opened it for you but I don’t see how you can complain if that’s the restaurant’s policy.

  2. We used to be good supporters of Caveau. Enjoyed the ambience, the food was good and the wine list interesting, especially the wines of the smaller producers. We went about once a month and spent +/- R1 000 a time (group of four). Then a fancy wine friend invited us one day to go there for lunch and he took along a special bottle for us to taste. We received the same treatment as Faizel (except that Caveau would under no circumstances open the bottle for us) and it was not only unnecessary but also embarrassing. We haven’t returned since. Good to know that in these tough times restaurants can still chase away customers, but as James points out it’s the restaurant’s policy. Similarly it’s my policy to not support restaurants that show such intransigence.

    In future, rather go to Chenin Restaurant in De Waterkant (the old Nose Bar). The owners are much friendlier, the food well-priced (and good), the wine list far more interesting with reasonable mark-ups, and if you take your own bottle the owner will demand a taste and, depending on whether its plonk or something special you brought along, decide to charge you a corkage fee or not.

  3. Me and a few friends also went to 95 on Keerom a while ago. Not knowing what they had to offer my wife went onto their website where they stated you can bring your own wine but you will have to pay a corkage fee.

    We therefore took 3 special bottles and on arival the policy was explained and we were only allowed to have one bottle. We called the manager, also feeling embarresed, and explained to him the mistake on their website. He went to the computer in the restaurant, checked it for himself, came back and as arrogant as can be telling us that their policy is only one bottle.

    I would assume he would have granted us the 3 bottles because they have made a mistake by stating wrong information on the website. Eventually I had to ask him if he was at least sorry for the inconvenience caused becasue he was like a general on a horse fighting a battle.

    We will never return

  4. Oh FFS, get over yourselves you bunch of arrogant, spoilt, McDonalds-driveby dumbasses! Caveau is a winebar; nothing less, nothing more. It’s food may be (barely) palatable, but the main source of profit comes from selling wine. W-i-n-e, not w-h-i-n-e, which you lot seem to be pretty damn well expert at. And of course bringing your own tipple won’t be welcomed, Emile, it’s pretty much like trying to do your own stripdance at a local Teazers.

  5. Thought I’d tale my own steak along to a local restaurant and ask them to cook it for me. But on reflection, maybe not.

  6. In Moscow in the 1980s, it was quite acceptable to take your own food along to a restaurant and ask the chef to cook it. Of course you’d never dream of taking along anything as wimpy as a bottle of wine – you’d drink restaurant vodka like everyone else.

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