Steve Steinfeld takes his first post-lockdown trip to the Cape and eats his way through the city — here’s what he recommends.
THE FINE DINING DESTINATION: Salsify at The Roundhouse
Chef Ryan Cole is undoubtedly one of the country’s most promising young chefs. A protégé under renowned chef Luke Dale Roberts, Cole headed up The Test Kitchen before opening Salsify at The Roundhouse.
It is here where he has grown from strength to strength — his spring menu is perhaps one of his best yet. An incredible study in flavour, showcasing top-notch ingredients to the best of their abilities. Its refined, elegant, and deceptively simple cooking. From the welcoming bite of slow-cooked pig head, daikon slaw, and vinegar jelly — a fabulous mouthful of salty, sour, and tangy — to the steamed crayfish with miso butter, roasted baby corn risotto — an exceptional exercise in umami — and everything in between, it is certainly a meal to remember. Concise and carefully considered, this is very clever cooking indeed.
THE CONTEMPORARY FAVOURITE: The Pot Luck Club
A visit to The Pot Luck Club is always a good idea. The glass box atop The Old Biscuit Mill not only serves up stunning panoramic views of Cape Town but it’s also where chef Jason Kosmas (under the guidance of Luke Dale Roberts) is serving up fine fare to match.
The famed small-plate eatery has re-opened with a reduced menu. However, rather than taking away from the experience, the new streamlined offering is an incredibly focused showcase of what Pot Luck does best, and it shows. Guests can expect the long-held favourites of Pot Luck fish sliders and smoked beef fillet with Dale Roberts’ legendary truffle café au lait sauce. Then, there are the classics that have been given a twist that, dare I say, make them tastier than the original iterations — Taco 2.0 is a prime example. Newer dishes, equally delectable, include the likes of langoustine and prawn tortellini, as well as a stellar chirashi. Its big, bold, flavour-forward cooking. Exactly what good food should be.
THE STREET FOOD FIX: Tjing Tjing Torii
Last year saw chef Christina Semczyszyn make waves for her fine-dining take on Japanese cuisine at Tjing Tjing Momiji, however the downstairs Torii — drawing inspiration from Japanese street-food alleyways (yokocho) — proves nothing to scoff at either.
It’s simple food made incredibly well. Hirata buns are not to be missed, packed full with katsu chicken and daikon pickles — the soft bite of the steamed bun, the crispy, slightly oily, fried chicken cut through with the tangy acidity of the pickle — nor are the gyoza (pan-fried dumplings with an array of fillings). My highlight was the gyoza stuffed with soft slithers of wagyu beef tongue, cooked to perfection. End your meal with the legendary Japanese cheesecake with miso caramel and a few of Torii’s signature moshi. It’s best to get dishes for the table to share, as the food lends itself to that style of eating.