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August 24, 2012

Supper Lounge brings new friends together in Cape Town

Canapés and Simonsig KaapseVonkel awaited Supper Lounge's Back of House Tour guests in the boiler room of the Westin Hotel.

Dining out in Cape Town is about so much more than the food – it’s how we socialise with old friends and new, how we celebrate important occasions or bond with loved ones.

Supper Lounge, the Mother City’s new social dining website gives locals and visitors the opportunity to meet and eat together with unique supper experiences around the city, all bookable through their site.

Since the launch in June 2012, Supper Lounge co-founders Elli Gorgievska and Katrin Starzmann, have been bringing people together through food, encouraging them to get to know each other and swap stories in an unusual environment.

I joined in on the fun for the Back of House Tour at the Westin Cape Town on the Foreshore. I had a great time with my 19 fellow tour mates and learnt an assortment of fascinating facts about the hotel, while feasting on delicious cuisine. Did you know that the hotel goes through 77 000 bars of soap per year? Or that the Old Harbour Conference Centre at The Westin is built under sea level and water is pumped out every 15 seconds?

In the boiler room we were served canapés, while a tantalising mezze platter (think seared tuna, glassy potatoes and red wine chips) was on offer in the Starter Thirty7 Show Kitchen, delicious mains (Braised and Grilled Rib Eye of Beef) awaited us in the maintenance room and we tucked into a trio of desserts (including banana tarte Tatin) along with Axe Hill Cape Vintage Port at the West Executive Club. 

Marinated Goat's Cheese Croquettes, Shrimp Bobotie Tomago Rolls and Mussel and Oyster Mushroom Miso Soup canapés.

I chatted to Elli and Katrin about their delicious new venture and what they love about Cape Town:

Tell us about Supper Lounge and what sparked the idea for this unique dining experience?

We both moved to South Africa from Germany a few years ago and arrived new in Cape Town. Both of us have been living in places such as Berlin, New York, etc. knowing our places, favourite spots and foodie friends. Moving to a new city on a new continent is exciting but you always want to know where to go, what the best spots are in town, find like-minded people, get in touch with other Capetonians, and share a love of great food, wines and good conversation.

There are plenty of networking events, which are great to meet people and exchange information and ideas, however, very often they are focused on a professional level.

We aim to create smaller events focusing on social dining, giving our supper guests the chance to meet others, exchange their professional but also social thoughts with no strings attached while enjoying great and interesting meals. You don't have to stay in touch or become best friends with the other supper guests, but you can if you’d like to. Supper Lounge is not a new Facebook for Foodies, it's more of a platform that curates unique and interesting supper events and offers Capetonians a new way to get in touch with others and meet new people over dinner.

The mezze platter starter served in the Starter Thirty7 Show Kitchen.

What is the one place in Cape Town you're dying to explore and host a Supper Lounge experience at?

We would love to explore more unusual locations in Cape Town to host future supper events. For example on a boat cruise at the V&A Waterfront, or maybe on a rooftop in summer in the city bowl. But also locations, such as the Aquarium, might be fun to explore.

Katrin’s dream is to have it on top of a mountain. Lion’s Head might be a little difficult unless we find eager people to carry up plenty of equipment, however, some parts of Table Mountain would be doable…

As you can see, the list can be extended endlessly!

What are your future plans for the Supper Lounge?

Our first plan is to position the brand as a foodie brand in Cape Town. Then we would like to extend the events in other South African cities, Johannesburg and Durban. We would only need creative, innovative and open-minded chefs and supper clubs who would like to become our partners and organise the events outside of Cape Town.

We have already started to investigate overseas locations and cities in which we are also planning to introduce the concept – cities where you can expect a lot of open-minded foodies who would appreciate a perfect dining option – aside from the "usual" restaurant events.

The main course, Braised and Grilled Rib Eye of Beef, served in the maintenance workshop.

Which are your top five socialising spots in Cape Town?

Uhm, that’s a difficult one: there are plenty of places, some of them are after-work drinks locations, other daytime weekend spots and others, going out spots… some amazing in summer and others in winter to escape the cold.

The markets (Bay Harbour Market, City Bowl Market, Neighbourgoods Market) are always great to visit and socialise. We also love the great mix of food, music and drinks at @Union, Orphanage on Bree Street and Alexander Bar on Strand Street. We also like to go to Power & Glory. And we used to enjoy going to Caveau in Bree Street, but sadly it has closed its doors and we need to find a new favourite wine bar with such a beautiful surrounding. Oh yes, and we love Bungalow for the perfect sundowner moments or The Grand Cafe in Granger Bay – what a nice spot to sit in the sand while drinking your cocktail and enjoying the beautiful view. We wish there would be more of them in Cape Town. We also like unusual, non-food related spots such as the Lido Karaoke Bar in the city bowl (lower Long Street) as they are always fun to socialise and step out of the comfort zone – sitting between strangers and singing along to your favourite songs.

What are your top foodie spots in the Mother City?

We love to go to Woodlands eatery and Sidewalk Cafe in Vredehoek. You can also enjoy great Mexican food at El Burro. For a great food and tasting experience you should definitely try The Test kitchen in Woodstock. If you're looking for great sushi, Takumi is a good choice, and Willoughby certainly has some of the best sushi in town. Tony's on Kloof is the cosy, after work, great, fresh fish spot. Oh and not to forget the truffle-infused fries at Loading Bay. Oh gosh... once you've started listing all the great spots in Cape Town it's really difficult to stop!

Sweet trio of dessert at the Westin Executive Club.

How does Cape Town inspire you?

Cape Town has a special aura – it's difficult to describe but once you've visited the city you immediately feel that there's something awesome about it. It catches your heart and never lets you go. We think it's the diversity, the openness and friendliness of the people living in this wonderful city, but it makes you feel home, where else can you find the best things such as beaches, the sea, mountains, urban city vibes, lovely vineyards all within a 30-minute drive?

For more information about the Supper Lounge and its events, visit www.supperlounge.com, follow them on Twitter @SupperloungeSA or join their Facebook fanpage facebook.com/SupperLounge.

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