Henry Vigar had been making a name for himself in London for a number of years as an up and coming young chef and serious contender within the fine dining genre. It was after working in various Michelin starred establishments and also working in France and Australia that he decided at the age of 28 to take the position of head chef at Kensington Place in London’s affluent Notting Hill.
The arrival of a new employee and certain South African Mari Vermaak with a passion for the industry and a dream of one day owning her own restaurant, soon had the English chef under her African spell.
This was January 2008. He wooed her with chocolate ganache and warm macaroons delivered to her office and she made him coffee in the mornings. Fast forward 2 years, 2 resignations, 1 engagement and 2 one way tickets to South Africa and they decided to make a life in the sun in Seapoint, Cape Town.
Seapoint sunsets are the best
They found a flat in Bantry Bay and one afternoon in February, strolled down their new main street only to stumble upon a beautiful old building in Regent Road. A ‘To Let’ sign, a phone call and a viewing the same day with our soon to be new landlord was all that was needed to fall in love with the future La Mouette. Upon opening the front gate they were immediately hit by the sheer size and beauty of what they now refer to as the Mayor’s lady. She was gorgeous! Given – a little tired and neglected by a 10 month emptiness, but she still won their hearts. After all – she used to be the mayor’s house you know. The mayor of Cape Town for 1977 – 1979, Edward Mauerberger resided in what is now called La Mouette.
See the link;
All eggs in two baskets
They approached a good friend, Gerrit Bruwer from Johannesburg who has been himself looking to move to CT and embrace a new challenge as he had told Mari over a wine tasting lunch in Hermanus over the Christmas holiday of ‘09. He had said at the time that he was happiest in the restaurant environment and that he could always see himself being part of the restaurant world. He was called immediately and a week later he flew down from Jhb to look at her, the lady in Regent Road. A business plan and forecasts were presented, but no need as Gerrit had fallen in love too. The lease was signed and the dream was born.