Salsify at The Roundhouse

Up and down the hill, a lot of green and a blue horizon melting with the blue sky, is the path to The Roundhouse, former hunting house of Lord Charles Somerset, former governor of the cape, and also a hotel, tea room, and some other activities… nowadays it hosts the new restaurant of Luke Dale-Roberts, the successful chef and businessman who dominates the restaurant scene of Cape Town (you can read more about Luke – here).

A historical building, of rare form, round as the name indicates, with one of the most beautiful views over Camps Bay, that was Sandalene’s inspiration to create a completely unexpected scenario for those, like us, visiting the restaurant for the first time.

 The view over Camps Bay

If the experience of a restaurant goes way beyond the food served, at Salsify that’s the case right from the entrance with the decoration. As we are accompanied to the table our host also explains the history of the building and the different areas created by Sandalene. From the Lady Salsify statue to the Lord Charles graffiti, everything makes sense and surprises.

Lady Salsify

Some decor details 

At the table, the show unravels, with the team being ready and with the service nicely prepared, despite being a recent restaurant. We chose the tasting menu, accompanied by the wine choices of Sommelier Nash Kanyangarara.

We are quickly introduced to the first snacks, with beetroot tempura with mustard seeds and celery biscuit with truffle tarragon pesto and parmesan. Both delicious in the texture and flavor combos, opening our palates to what was to come.

To go with, a cocktail is never too much, we started with a signature Gin&Tonic, prepared in situ, with grapefruit and cherry bitters, and a pineapple margarita and fava tonka.

Excellent Cocktails

And then, the bread moment, with an excellent worked butter with oil and dust of fig leaf, it’s hard to ask for a better start…

Spring Minestrone, Octopus, oysters, and herbs 
A clear broth taking us to a tomato water, with octopus bites, oysters, salicornia and some herbs. Very good in terms of flavors and textures, however, a little bit more saltiness would’ve been nice!

On the glass, a Pino Gris, Migliarina Grey Matter 2017. A rare caste in South Africa, here resulting in a cool and super fresh wine, with crunchy acidity and a citrus side that worked wonders in harmonization!

Grilled asparagus, sunflower and hollandaise sauce  
The Sunflower is the key element of the dish, present in different ways, from the seed to the oil used in the hollandaise and the frozen pesto that covers the asparagus. An excellent vegetarian dish, the magic of a good product and good cooking.

Harmonizing was a wine that I loved, Orpheus & The Raven Old Bushvine Chenin Blanc 2017 – demonstrating its stage in wood on the nose, in a good balance with the fruit. In the mouth it is rich and concentrated, resulting nicely with the fatty notes of the dish and the unique flavor of the asparagus.

Scallop, Curry, pomegranate, and onion bhaji 
A trip to the Indian influences on the African coast, with a perfect scallop and several cooking techniques that resulted very well. Fresh, spicy, crunchy and light!

To go with this dish, the sommelier went for a Chardonnay Domaine des Dieux 2014, complex wine with exotic nose and balanced palate due to its citric notes. A certain sweet side of the wine went very well with the scallop and the curry.

Line fish, peas, beans, and butter with yeast 
Kabeljou, a very common fish in the region, simply cooked, with its taste easily being beaten by the different elements on the plate. Mussels, peas, herbs, bottarga and a burnt butter sauce with the distinguished flavor of the yeast elevated this dish.

And another great harmonization, with a Fable Mountain Jackal Bird 2014, a blend dominated by Chenin Blanc, with a long stage with the grounds, resulting in a different wine, complex and insightful. On the nose, a citric, melon and spices side, while in the mouth we get a punch of fruit, with well-marked texture and a minerality that made all the combo work.

Peking duck, Bitter plum and wallnut cream
Far from a true Peking duck, the perfectly cooked breast, the delicious sauce with the plums, the pickles and the nut salsa, created a comfort dish, not heavy like many meat dishes tend to be in a tasting menu.

Accompanying was a Foundry Shirah 2012, with a nice aroma, with herbs, plum, and spices. Complex and intense, becoming a nice companion to the duck.

Strawberry cone, blueberry jam, and raspberry jelly
More a dessert than a pre-dessert, this combo of red fruits in different textures and cooking, sugar balanced and freshened by the ice cream, created a nice path to clean the palate.

Roasted pineapple, coconut cake, iced goats milk kefir >A dessert that perfectly represents the way I like to end a tasting, light and fresh, with a good contrast of flavors and the different temperatures making all the difference. Very good!

We ended the harmonizations with a Keermont Fleurfontein Sauvignon blanc 2017, a Late Harvest, of excellent quality, with dried apricot, citrus, and dried fruit notes, and nicely acidic.

A great ending to an already long lunch, to which would followa ling walk on top of the Table Moutain (without any incidents!!).

The service was flawless! Professional from the first contact, a fine dining ambiance with a relaxed vibe and lightness. Just a side note to the mise en scene, is it really necessary to finish every dish at the table?

In terms of wines, as you read along the article, the work of Nash Kanyangarara, contributed a lot for me falling in love with South African wines.

Final Remarks
Luke Dale-Roberts, his wife Sandalene, and this time the chef Ryan Cole, created the soon to be the “next big thing!” of Cape Town, after The Test Kitchen  and the successful and casual The Pot Luck Club and The Shortmarket Club, Salsify is already a great restaurant in any place around the world. A mandatory visit for those visiting Cape Town, and if you can, choose the lunch menu and enjoy the wonderful view!

I just hope I can get a reservation on a next trip to Cape Town. It won’t be easy for sure!

Salsify at the Roundhouse
Average price: 80€ without wines 
  The Roundhouse, Camps Bay – Cape Town
+27 021 01 06 444

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

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