MBCC dinner last night and we were tempted into trying a new venue, that being Bo-Vine in Camps Bay. Alarm bells ringing at the location already, but let’s overlook that and give the place a fair chance, shall we?
Bovine, because it’s steak, Bo-Vine because it’s wine as well.

Sometimes the local marketing wizardry just makes your head explode, doesn’t it? Sheer genius.

It’s going to have to be good. Firstly, you don’t take a place on the Camps Bay strip without some degree of restaurant know-how. It’s not for sissies down there. High risk, high turnover, short leases, high reward.

And secondly, a quick glance at the menu did seem to suggest that a 300g fillet was going for R380.

Wow. It’s going to have to be spectacular to justify that.

To put you in the picture, our regular steak haunt – Picanha in Newlands – isn’t cheap, but their 300g fillet comes in at R240. So was Bo-vine going to be able to offer something special for that extra, eye-watering 60%?

Well, it has Pete Goffe-Wood, local celebrity chef and well-versed restaurateur, who was doing the rounds and chatting to all the tables about the aging processes (for the meat: we’re all aware that we’re getting older, thanks) and suggesting the best cuts of the day. And you can tell that he knows his stuff and he loves sharing his knowledge and his food.

The service was very good. The ambience was pretty good as well, for a room with one open side onto a busy road (and the beach, obviously). The Stella Artois on tap was a joy (yes, with chalices), and the chips and the onion rings both excellent. Might seem like a small thing, but when you’re having steak and chips, it’s an important thing, too.

But the meat… Well, one of our six steaks (4 x picanha, 1 x ribeye, 1 x prime rib) was rather poor, and the rest were just… really good.
But not incredible. Not spectacular. Just really good South African fare. And certainly not worth the extra mark-up added on for the tourists with their pounds and dollars.

But I can totally see the appeal for those visitors. A decent steak, a local wine and that view out over Camps Bay after a hard day’s sightseeing. Affordable, too, when you convert it back from our Toytown money to your solid home currency.

It seems unfair in a way, to put any restaurant up against our favourites. They are our favourites for a reason, and putting it simply, it’s because their food is fantastic and the overall experience is repeatedly faultless. So it’s a hard act to follow. I get that.

But sadly – despite being a good night out – for us local boys, Bo-Vine just couldn’t match up on price or quality.

So it’s just the three stars. Sorry, Pete.