It takes courage to do things differently, so when restaurateur Chris Stroebel decided to open Equinox in the space underneath his iconic beach restaurant, The Lookout Deck, it could have been very easy to replicate his upstairs formula – laid-back, all-day, affordable classics like burgers and baskets of calamari.
Instead, he brought in his cousin – author, international restaurant consultant and former Mount Nelson chef Garth Stroebel – to advise on a new strategy to really maximise the site’s unique location and make a strong impact on the dining scene. “We wanted to do something different, and the idea of a fire pit came up. It’s not something entirely new – we all braai – but it’s rarely done, and done well, in restaurants,” says Chris.
While this is a beach vibe, it’s hardly barefoot – cool white and blue interiors by Plett’s Petrus Maree complement a top-notch wine list and excellent service. Predictably, the menu has a strong focus on flame and flavour – prawns, calamari and line-fish all grilled on the open fire, plus simple steaks, Karoo lamb and ostrich. There are also classics – snails, avo ritz and a steak carpet bagger – that get an updated treatment, and deliciously decadent desserts, including home-churned ice cream in unusual flavours like salted popcorn and burnt honey.
A 100km sourcing radius and commitment to sustainable fare means everything is fresh and local. “Whether you like the sand or not you can get a 100% beach experience at Equinox,” says Chris, “plus eat as you would in any of the world’s top foodie capitals.”
Lookout Beach, Hill St, Plettenberg Bay
044 533 0637 / 044 533 1379