One look at the ingredients piled up on the pass hints at the globetrotting menu in store. Packets of panko crumbs — or perhaps “crumbz”, if Skullboy had his way? — are piled atop atchar masala. Tamarind paste jostles for space with tom yum noodles. Pani puri balls wait their turn for the deep fryer, while a jar of chilli paste has even the hardy palates of the kitchen crew on fire.
The Korean fried chicken is especially good: a hit of garlic and spice tamed by a Thai-style condiment of fish sauce, chilli, and lime. The hazelnut beef tartare is also impressive; inspired by meals eaten in Paris, it is fine-textured and topped with toasted nuts, burrata, and a hazelnut dressing. Also look out for the collaboration with baker Jason Lilley, a sourdough “pizza” revved up with burnt aubergine.
“Nothing about the menu is subtle — it’s all fucking in your face,” smiles Randles, necking a plump West Coast oyster with Asian dressing.
That’s about as fancy as it gets at The Commissary. Few dishes cost more than R60 a plate, but if you do want to push the boat out, there’ll be lobster rolls on the cards.
PLAYING IT COOL
“We want people to be able to come in here, grab a quick bite, have a great glass of wine, and head out again. And it’s cheap,” Randles says. “Or you can come in, have all 10 dishes, order a great bottle of wine and blow it up for the evening. It’s up to you.”
The presentation fits that no-frills approach: sliders on cardboard trays, and chicken wings in paper-lined baskets. “And everything is biodegradable,” adds Widdison. “We take that stuff seriously.”