It’s a Saturday afternoon in the Cape, the wind howling ferociously as we wind our way along the mountain-hugging Chapman’s Peak Drive, down below the swells are ceaselessly beating against the rocky shore as above the sun fights to break through the clouds above. None of this really phases me though as in addition to the view still being pretty spectacular, I’m quite chuffed to be on my way to lunch at Chef’s Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic, weather be damned!
It is perhaps one of the most magnificent locations along the coastline, situated within Table Mountain National Park at the foot of Chapman’s Peak on a stretch of pebble beach overlooking the Western end of Hout Bay — which is bookended by the majestic Sentinel Mountain peak. The postcard-ready panorama has quickly become synonymous with the fine dining eatery since it opened in 2020.
Despite initial trepidation of the wind perhaps moving our party indoors, the outside area has been cleverly designed and adequately sheltered to ensure that though the weather may be inclement, seating still allows for breath-taking ocean views and utmost comfort whether inside or on the covered deck.
As is the winning-formula for Chef’s Warehouse restaurants, the menu takes shape in a tapas for two offering. Chef Braam Beyers and team serving up an exceptional eight dish menu split into four-courses and designed to be shared. It’s a menu which is very much aligned to its natural locale, drawing on the ocean for both produce and inspiration.
A glass of Colmant MCC in hand, it’s time to start lunch. A gorgeous enriched “kitka” bread glazed with honey and rosemary together with curry leaf, tomato and beetroot dusted butter makes for a superb bread course with which to start the meal.
It’s then onto the tapas, first there’s the sashimi with Natal plum, pomegranate and coconut dressing, verjuice jellies and Thai basil, the vibrant pink sauce adding layers of complexity to the finely sliced line fish. Next is the aged sirloin tartare, the finely diced steak accompanied by a barbecued shiitake mushroom, topped with a layer of miso cured egg yolk and generous shavings of black truffle. It’s served with miniature English muffins and a gruyere and truffle custard on the side. It’s a fantastically conceptualised and well-executed dish: rich and creamy, earthy and textured — it’s all the flavours you look forward to going into winter and then some, and it sets the bar for the rest of the meal.
The second course follows: here we have the confit cape salmon topped with a chunky Mediterranean-style tomato and olive mix and paper-thin layers of daikon before being finished table side with a light and airy yet deeply flavourful tarragon sabayon. There’s also the seared tuna, the four slices fanned atop a sauce of north African aubergine and finished with a goat’s cheese mousse and a thin and crisp sumac brick pastry hexagon dusted with dehydrated goat’s cheese. It’s a dish of big flavours and balance, the chef expertly managing to rein in each ingredient, finding harmony of both texture and flavour among the bold ingredients.
It’s then onto the confit course, featuring both confit east coast rock lobster dish and one of confit carrot. The lobster dish is of course delicious, the decadent shellfish served with a creamy cashew and coconut curry split with a shellfish vinaigrette and texture in the form of a chickpea crumb. However, on this occasion, it’s the carrot which seriously impresses, it’s one thing to wow with crayfish but to do so with carrot is an even bigger achievement. The perfectly cooked and cubed carrot topped with a burnt thyme foam, and served with a fragrant caraway sauce, smoked walnut and pumpkin seed crackers, which are to be lathered with ricotta and generous helpings of the carrot. It’s incredibly clever cooking, here the humble root vegetable is elevated to a delicacy.
The main and final course includes another confit dish: here pork belly with textures of nectarine, and their signature seasonal risotto - it wouldn’t be a Chef’s Warehouse menu were it not featured. This one, once again looking towards winter ingredients, is a superb celeriac and black garlic one, the chefs building on the glorious umami rich dish with the addition of a barbequed oyster mushroom, garlic beurre noisette and contrasted with a dose of acidity from the shavings of preserved lemon. It’s a cracker of a dish, but then again, I’d expect nothing less from the group’s famed risotto. While those who opt for the pescatarian menu can look forward to a beautiful hake and bok choy dish.
Supplementing the multi-course menu are starters of oysters “mignonette” and a selection of Imperial Heritage Caviar with potato waffles and crème fraiche, perfect for seaside indulging. As well as dessert of rooibos yoghurt parfait, vanilla panna cotta, manjari mousse and a chocolate truffle selection.
A seriously stunning meal and, given that Beyers and team have only been operating for just short of a year and a half, it’s not only beyond impressive what they’ve achieved but also inevitable that we can expect big things from both the chef and restaurant as they continue this culinary journey. So come rain or shine, or perhaps wind or calm, wind your way down to Chef’s Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic — you shan’t be disappointed.