Bubble Wrap: Bombay Bicycle Club
168 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town. 021 423 6805
My last sprinkle of Madame Zingara magic in aid of Bubble Wrap was Bombay Bicycle Club: “Cape Town’s wonderfully wacky bohemian love den at the top of the hill, where everything is possible and always ensues.” If Madame Zingara is true to herself it is here that she is most prominent. If you are an original Madame Zingara orphan then you should head to The Bombay Bicycle Club to reminisce. It shares the same Zingara flair and extravagance, but is missing some of the sparkle: that special something that burnt down in a gastronomic catastrophe with her original Loop Street creation.
Bombay Bicycle’s ceilings and walls are strewn with vintage clutter; chairs and instruments hanging from the ceiling, black and white portraits of Victorian women, and everything else you would find in a bric-a-brac antique market. The waiters are equally diverse and creative with bubbly and extravagant qualities. They have their work cut out and are always on their toes; due to limited space and complexity of the layout, the service is not impeccable but their integrity and kindness overrules.
To be honest, our experience was not what we have come to envisage from a Madame Zingara love child, nor did it meet our expectations as return patrons. Myself and The Stunt Man had spent many wonderful evenings here but unfortunately this was not one of those. The normally exquisite ambiance was destroyed by awful unfitting music which set a bad tone for the evening.
Our waiter was extremely friendly and accommodating and gave great recommendations. The wine list was as come to expect; small but with a good variety of popular wines, 10 red and 10 white. A fabulous cocktail list on the other side, with the usual favourites as well as exciting alternative "Bombay Twists" cocktails.
For starters, I had Kataifi Prawns (R55). This was, to be honest, the highlight of my evening. I just wish I could've had more! The four queen-size prawns were delicately wrapped in crispy, paper-thin kataifi pastry and served with an apricot sweet chilli dipping sauce and a generous side salad. I had never heard of kataifi pastry before and I would be happy if I never had prawns served in any other way again.
For mains I struggled to decide what to have. The last time I had the Oven Roast Beef (R140) "whole fillet baked and served with cranberry, port, mushrooms and rosemary reduction, all this topped with sticky onion jam". Apart from an overly generous topping of onion jam this was delicious and perfectly cooked. I have had many a Madame Zingara Springbok Shank (R120) which would be my second choice, so I decided to try the meat-free "creamy wild mushroom risotto finished with parmesan, rocket and truffle oil" (R65). The overwhelming taste of garlic was from the truffle oil, apparently no garlic was used at all. The texture was perfect and the portion size adequate; it was a real pity that it appears all I could taste was the truffle oil.
The Stunt Man went for the infamous Bombay Ribs (R120) – "the softest, stickiest and yummiest ribs this side of town". I am really sorry to say, this is not what we experienced. I have heard many great things about these ribs and so, as a massive rib fan, was seriously disappointed.
I have faith and a lot of love in the Madame Zingara family. They are working hard to make Cape Town proud and to give more than just fine food when dining out: an experience and an evening which provides beautiful heart-warming memories. I know and believe that our last encounter was not one to expect from this decadent and extravagant restaurant, but instead it was a rare off night where the Zingara charm was tainted for one reason or another. So please don’t let this review tarnish your expectations or heaven forbid stop you from experiencing Madame Zingara’s magical charm at her most honest.
I will forever heart you Madame Zingara for all your gypsy charm and magic. Thank you for this wonderful journey of love and delicious delights.