This past Sunday Jeanne and I were invited to have lunch and sip on a cocktail at Incognito Bar, a tapas bar situated at the Alphen Hotel in Constantia with a very small but scrumptious sounding menu.
Their menu, which is split into three sections, includes: Light Bites, Bruschetta and Pizzette (15cm).
The light bites section includes everything from Fried Stuffed Olives to a Caprese Stack and Grilled Sirloin, while the Bruschetta section includes three types of Bruschetta topped with tomato, rocket walnut pesto or smoked salmon, and the Pizzette section includes mini pizzas topped with everything from asparagus to pancetta.
Of course, in order to figure out what one of the many cocktails I want to sip on while we indulge in all the foodie goodness, I checked out their cocktail menu, too.
When it comes to their drinks list, they have everything, including bottles of fancy champers (think Louis Roederer Cristal at R5k a pop, and more), a list of incredible local wines as well as a signature cocktail list, G&T’s, classic cocktails and for the drivers, a virgin cocktail list, too.
On arrival, we were greeted and shown to our seat inside (it was a bit too gloomy to be sitting outside) and ordered our cocktails. Jeanne chose to sip on a Virgin Sangria (Passion Fruit & Cranberry Juice, Sparkling Red Grape Juice, Fresh Kiwi, Orange, Lemon, Limes & Apples – comes in a 1l carafe) and I chose the Melon Gin Lemonade (Tanqueray Gin, Melon Syrup, Lemon Juice, topped with Sparkling Wine).
We then had a good look at the menu and I asked the waiter how many dishes would be enough (including a pizzette) for one person. His answer: three (including the pizzette).
We decided to take his advice (I always find tapas portions hard to navigate as I have experienced both really tiny portions and portions much bigger than expected) and ordered a pizzette each and two ‘small bites’.
I chose the Asparagus pizzette ( Pecorino, Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Olive Oil & Black Pepper R100) while Jean chose the Salami (Mozzarella, Caramelised Onion & Wild Rocket R75), both of which were delicious. Jean’s just stood out for me as it was a little less dry (it had more of a tomato base, whereas mine had more of a cheese base) and the oily, spicy salami was out of this world.
In addition to the pizzette, Jean and I both ordered a Caprese Stack (Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil R45) because we are obsessed with mozzarella and this is my fave ‘salad’, and Jean ordered the Grilled Sirloin (Sliced, Walnut Salsa Verde R95) and I ordered the Calamari (Lemon, Salt & Black Pepper R80).
I am not over exaggerating when I say that ALL of those dishes were nothing short of perfect and exactly what we needed. The steak (cooked medium) was soft and full of flavour, while the calamari, which was lightly coated with flour, salt and black pepper and then fried, was crispy, delicate and cooked to perfection.
Once done, we were stuffed. Meaning the waiter’s recommended 3 dishes were enough for us. However, the manager spotted us, came over for a chat and insisted we ate some more! And I am so glad we did…
He said that we couldn’t possibly leave without trying his two favourite dishes: Arancini (Risotto Rice, Parmesan, Breadcrumbs & Mozzarella R70) and the Grilled Chicken (Sage & Gremolata R65). And, he was right…
The Aranicini was to die for and anybody who loves cheese would think they were eating cheesy clouds. They were light, soft and jam-packed full of cheese goodness. As for the grilled chicken, I don’t think I have had such juicy pieces of chicken breast in my life. And that gremolata… just wow. It’s indescribable and I think everyone should go and try it out.
What I really liked and appreciated the most about Incognito’s menu was that there were very few fried items. I find tapas restaurants/bars almost take the easy way out, so to speak, when it comes to how they cook their tiny portions, opting to fry a lot of what they offer. Incognito, on the other hand, tried their best to limit the amount of fried food on their menu, making it less heavy and healthier, too.
In addition to that, their small menu packs a lot of punch, offering a bit of everything – from meat to veg options – that will please the whole crowd. Plus, their drinks and cocktail menu is jam-packed with everything from gin to virgin cocktails (Jean would not stop raving about hers!), making it hard to choose just one.
I also wanted to touch on the decor and vibe, as I was floored by how gorgeous the interior of Incognito is. From the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that ensure you get an eyeful of the beautiful views, to the patterned ceilings, light fixtures and colour scheme, it’s a luxurious space I wouldn’t mind spending most of my time lazying around and enjoying the finer things in life (like their extensive cocktail list).
Once we were done, we had a walk around the grounds, too, taking in the unreal silence and luscious greenery; the perfect way to end a delicious lunch.
Thank you very much for having us, Incognito. We’ll be back really soon!
Disclaimer: Although I was invited to Incognito, all thoughts and opinions are my own.