After three years of being locked in our houses, the previous chatter about the projected death of fine dining couldn’t have been further from the truth. Post-pandemic people are seeking out experiences of all kinds, and this extends to dining too. Expect plenty of culinary theatre, table side trolley service and a whole lot of interactive dining experiences. The recently opened Dusk is offering this in abundance with the likes “wash your mouth out with soap” a palate cleanser in the shape of an expletive pressed soap bar, gracing their menu, while the acclaimed Pier at the Waterfront is dishing up their fair share of theatrics, with the likes of trolleys kitted out for tableside cooking.
As the world grapples with global warming, food inequality and the challenges of feeding an ever-increasing population, alternate sources of protein have been an area of much research and discussion. One of these sources takes shape in the perhaps unlikely form of insects, the tiny critters proving to be cheap as well as relatively quick, easy and space efficient to grow, while also packing a fair share of protein to boot. Chef Peter Tempelhoff and the team at Fyn, ranked 37 on the World’s 50 Best list and best in Africa, are incorporating crispy crickets within their Japanese meets South African tasting menu, serving it with a cheese catalan together with some wild honeycomb.
The international culinary world has its eyes on Africa (particularly West Africa) and it’s clear, our chefs here have been taking note too. From African exploration down to regional celebrations, expect to see myriad flavours, ingredients and techniques from the continent appearing on menus. Leading the charge are the likes of Chef Vusi Ndlovu – whose current menu at his pop-up EDGE at the Mount Nelson features tastes of Ethiopia, Senegal and South Africa - and Chef Johannes Richter from The LivingRoom at Summerhill Guest Estate – who has been making waves with his hyper-endemic cooking which draws from the bounty of KwaZulu-Natal produce.
Expect to see more seaweed, as we continue to embrace even more environmentally aware ways of living and eating - we’ll be looking to the ocean for greens like sea lettuce and kelp. These incredibly fast-growing aquatic plants are both sustainable and nutrient rich, and are slowly but surely making their way onto the menus of fine dining restaurants. At Salsify at The Roundhouse in Camps Bay, Chef Ryan Cole uses sea lettuce in his snacks from the kitchen, serving limpet with a pickled sea lettuce salsa, chipotle and salted lemon – in line with his hyper sustainable focus.
Sustainability is clearly an over-arching theme when it comes to up-coming trends and this extends even further than before. The next step in our move towards a more sustainable, green and more climate-friendly way of eating takes shape in the form of regenerative agriculture. This multi-faceted approach to farming involves both conserving and rehabilitating our farming and food production systems, with focuses on the likes of topsoil regeneration, rotational grazing, increasing biodiversity on farms, improving water cycles, creating resilience to climate change and generally working alongside (not against) nature.
The Werf at Boschendal – now under the helm of recently appointed executive chef, Eric Bulpitt - utilises ingredients sourced from the farm on which they’re based. Boschendal is one of the leaders in regenerative farming in the country, so whether it be the fresh seasonal vegetables or Black Angus beef steaks, you can be assured that it is sustainably and ethically grown on a healthy farm.