Sidedish restaurant reviewThe Sidedish restaurant at Theatre on the Bay is perfect for a pre-show meal, as BEVERLEY BROMMERT found when she visited:

Theatregoers are generally more receptive to the fare on stage when they have satisfied their inner government with fare on the table, and it is sound policy on the part of theatres to include a dining facility in situ. This simplifies life for patrons who are not stressed by the need to find parking at two different venues if eating out before a show, and there is no question that an evening’s entertainment is enhanced by a pre-theatre supper prepared by a chef as opposed to a hasty snack at home.

Theatre on the Bay’s in-house restaurant Sidedish fills this need in more ways than one: its location above the theatre gives a sense of intimacy, and its west-facing elevation offers diners a spectacular view of sunset over the Atlantic. Since it opens at 6pm, this is an inducement to patrons to go early and admire the natural beauty of Camps Bay as well as ordering well ahead of curtain-up for a leisurely meal.

In touch with the seasons

Recently re-decorated in an eclectic style somewhere between tropical and traditional, Sidedish also reinvents its menus on a regular basis in keeping with the seasons, and the current array of dishes on offer is a well-conceived mix of sturdy standards (soup, salad, fish and chips, beef steak and potato wedges, pasta, and chicken curry) for conservative tastes, and more inventive inclusions like pea, almond and feta croquettes with mint sauce or chicken parmigiana for more adventurous palates. All are reasonably priced and the servings generous.

The wine list, while not extensive, has enough options to satisfy most diners wanting an aperitif or a drink to complement their food, and – more to the point – the price range is considerable, with wine by the glass at one end of the spectrum and a bottle of French Burgundy at the other.

The waiters are helpful and courteous (although they seem to lack the sense of urgency requisite in a pre-show dining venue). Aperitifs and a plank of delicious home-made bread arrived on the evening of our visit, and then the starters made their appearance: my companion opted for a trio of beef empanadas with red pepper aioli, and I tried the pea, almond and feta croquettes.

Sidedish restaurant review

Tucking in

My starter was irreproachable, its proportions just right (nothing is worse than a huge, appetite-sapping preface to the main course) and the combination of taste and texture, excellent. Presentation was understated but elegant. My friend found the aioli exquisite, but the empanadas were flawed by too little filling and too much pastry.

Finally, with 30 minutes to spare, the mains (butter chicken curry for me, and chicken parmigiana for my guest) reached the table. They were worth the wait, but had to be downed at speed, and it would have been better to have savoured them at more leisure. The curry was spicy rather than scorching, with minimal accompaniment (just basmati rice and a crisp poppadum). A dash of chutney or perhaps a fresh tomato/cucumber/onion sambal would not have gone amiss. The attractively-plated chicken parmigiana with mash and winter vegetables was, according to my friend, “delightful”.

Time constraints necessitated downing dessert at interval, and the choice of chocolate crème brulée, simply garnished with fresh strawberries, was more than satisfactory.

A pre-show supper at this pleasing, unpretentious venue is a definite recommendation to extend the evening’s pleasures – but perhaps a word to your waitron to keep the dishes flowing swiftly would help.

What: Sidedish Restaurant

Where: Theatre on the Bay, Camps Bay

Book: 021 438 8838

WS