The Shortmarket Club

“Don’t change a winning team…”

The famous chef Luke Dale-Roberts (nº 44 of the World´s 50 Best Restaurants with his The Test Kitchen) joined his wife Sandalene, and his right arms, Wesley Randles in the kitchen and Widdison in the room to, in 2016, open another successful space, The Shortmarket Club.

The premise is at first sight simple, a restaurant in the center of town, in a bohemian, vibrant area, in a historical building, and a cuisine that combines comfort and creativity.

Randles and Simon, working with Luke since the first steps of The Test Kitchen, are in charge of managing the space while Sandalene shows the brilliance of her decoration.

Arriving at the door of Shortmarket Club for the first time, you can hardly tell what you’re about to experience, a narrow entrance and a hallway that take us to a staircase, that ends in a surprising environment. It could be an English club or speakeasy, but it’s a comfortable and luxurious restaurant in Cape Town.

Already installed we ask for some cocktails while looking through the menu and choosing dishes for a light and quick meal…

Saldanha Bay Oysters
Fresh oysters for the Saldanha Bay, next to Cape town, served with a great Leche de Tigre and lemon. A great start!
Accompanying was a good quality bread, homebaked, with butter and homemade ricotta with good seasonings. First impressions could hardly be better.

Sambal Oelek Tuna
With this first dish, finished on the table with hot coconut oil, we see the Asian influence in the creating process. The tuna, in a tataki style, was seasoned with sambal oelek (a typical Sri Lanka chilli spice), combined with coriander, basil and red onion. The contrast of the hot oil with the fresh texture of the tuna and the herbs created a nice flavor and texture symbioses in the mouth. Very elegant!

Springbok tartar, parmesan, walnut, and ponzu sauce
Springbok is the famous small gazelle, the symbol of the South African Rugby team. A very well presented and accomplished dish. With several elements and textures, with the meat as the highlight.

Tandoori cauliflower 
This vegetarian dish is a dive into India, where sambal, masala, jasmine rice, coconut, and chutney joined the party. Once again an excellent contrast of flavors and textures resulting in a vegetarian dish I wouldn’t mind tasting again and again.

Crispy pork cheek, endive, gorgonzola and honey
A signature dish that easily conquers us, the game of textures and the presentation follows the same line of the previous dishes, here with the contrast of the cheese, the honey vinaigrette and the pecan nuts working very well with the pork fat and the bitter side of the endive.

Roasted potatoes in duck fat 
As a side dish, we ordered these roasted potatoes, but in reality, this “simple” dish was probably the most surprising. Flavor and texture, lots of flavors, made of these potatoes the best ones I tasted in a long, long time!

Simple and well executed cocktails, here with the version of a Clover club

Peach, ricotta, pine nut ice cream, sponge cake and honey infused with mint, thyme, and lemon
A light and delicate dessert, very well executed in the combination of flavors, with highlight to the excellent ricotta and the cooking of the fruit. A beautiful ending!

The service could not have been better, seating on the counter, we had plenty of talking themes to go around with the bar staff, always ready to help and to answer any questions about the dishes.

Final Remarks
Despite the warranty of its owners I confess I didn’t arrive with the highest expectations at The Shortmarket Club, however, the surprises kept coming since entering the door (we arrived before opening hours and without reservation and they assured us two seats at the counter right away), to the decor, to the staff and obviously the gastronomic offer. The last one with a bistro concept, simple, comforting, and flavorful, Asian influenced, and fresh, full of herbs, spices and lots of textures.

A pleasant surprise in the center of Cape Town, the right space for a relaxed fine dining meal, in a unique, cosmopolitan environment!

The Shortmarket Club
Average price: 50€/pax without wines
88 Shortmarket Street – Cape Town
+27 021 447 28 74

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

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