Henry Vigar, the chef patron of La Mouette, spent a number of years making a name for himself as an up-and-coming young chef in fine cuisine in London. After also working in Australia and France, and a number of other UK based top-ranked and Michelin starred establishments, Henry settled as head chef at Kensington Place in Londons affluent Notting Hill. It was here in 2008 that he met Mari Vermaak (now Vigar), a colleague with a passion for the industry and a dream to one day own her own restaurant. Two years, two resignations, one engagement and two one-way tickets to South Africa later, saw the couple settle in the sunshine of Seapoint, Cape Town, to begin their new venture. The couple fell in love with a beautiful old building on Regent Road which once belonged to the mayor of Cape Towns family. Captivated by its size and beauty, they quickly decided to make the building, home to their dream of owning their own restaurant. Calling on their good friend Gerrit Bruwer who also had a dream of being a part of the restaurant world, they signed the lease for 78 Regent Road, Sea Point in February 2010 and quite suddenly the dreams of all three were realised where they opened to trade on the 6th of May 2010.
Chef Henry Vigar, his wife Mari, partner Gerrit Bruwer and sous chef Themba Bawuti have established La Mouette as a stand-out on bustling Regent Road in Sea Point, known for its good-value tasting menu. In summer diners choose the tranquil, cosy courtyard, in winter they sit indoors and feast their eyes on contemporary art showcased in the heritage building before experiencing Henrys talent. The team know their wines and the menu, so will gladly guide your pairing. After having your appetites whet with a platter that includes cured sea bass and Malay pickled aubergine, look out for the ostrich with fermented cabbage, a BBQ carrot puree and bolognaise sauce. Worth a mention is the lemon meringue with mascarpone, lemon leaf snow and sorrel. Henry does many things well, but his signature is scribed in sauces. “I want diners to depart feeling satisfied having had a delicious meal. It must touch them emotionally without being exuberantly extravagant. Food is all about the ingredients and suppliers – I love cooking with game, and onions,” states Henry. From childhood he watched his mum, a great cook, and from age 14 had a job washing up in a kitchen. Working in France and a stint with a French chef in the UK taught him French cuisine with a modern twist. He honed his fine dining culinary skills at top restaurants in London. At home Henry and Mari eat healthy and Mediterranean foods. “When I braai I have a theme, like Mexican. I continue to get inspiration from local ingredients and I like to forage for ingredients like sour figs.” “Seasons dictate.” Chef Henry Vigar