Come for breakfast, return for dinner, stay for drinks
Claim to fame: Top SA chef, Luke Dale-Roberts, brings his culinary genius into the city
Reason to go: Sauces and sides have equal status to the main event on the plate
To look out for: Artworks by acclaimed local artists create a massive visual impact
It’s like a nightclub. Or a party for the city’s Swankies and Chicettes. Only better. Because you’ll really want to linger here. Because the food is actually good. How could it not be when big-wig chef, Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen fame is the owner? Also, the cocktails will make you look glam. Because: Hemingway daiquiri and other classic quaffs. The Shortmarket Club is Cape Town’s buzziest restaurant, but you don’t need a secret handshake to get in, there’s no bouncer to grease, you won’t even have to make a resy a month in advance. Dale-Roberts has created this winner with his wife, Sandalene Dale-Roberts, his top Chef Wesley Randles and Manager Simon Widdison, a crew that is hands down the hottest lifestyle collaboration the city has seen in a long while.
But really, we know, you didn’t come to this arty, lofty, skylight-crowned place for the scene, you’re here for the celebration of old classic dishes, made modern. Start with seasonal asparagus with a miso and hazelnut hollandaise, porcini puree, compressed wild mushrooms and parmesan wafers. Crispy octopus is punched up with a South African Indian condiment called atchar, dressed in sesame tamarind and textured with bonito flakes. Celeriac is ash-baked, accompanied by goat’s cheese, babaganoush, black sesame and aged balsamic. The braai (barbecue) section of the menu takes sustainable fish and crayfish as seriously as the meats sourced from the best beef farms in close-by Elgin and further afield Mooi River in KwaZulu-Natal. Experience the cheese trolley with a selection of cheeses from South Africa’s best small producers, before ending your meal with a Fernet Brotto or a complex, dried peach- and marzipan heady Mullineux Straw Wine from Swartland.
The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, though closed between meal times. The wine list has some special and unusual offerings and the inviting bar offers expertly mixed Tom Collins, Singapore Slings, Sidecars and other traditional cocktails served in slick and sexy glassware. Sipping and people watching is the main game in this seriously upscale space that celebrates all things gorgeous. Including you.