We recently dined at the newly opened (October 2018) Salsify restaurant at The Roundhouse, a Luke Dale Roberts venture co-owned with chef Ryan Cole.
The name Salsify is derived from Ryan’s love for the root vegetable itself that has an oyster like flavour and is widely used in old French and modern British cuisine and that’s exactly what the restaurant reminds me of. Classic with a twist, old meets new.
It’s fine dining with all the fuss yet without the frills.
Ryan really pushes boundaries with regards to flavour and techniques particularly with regards to his use and choice of vegetables. Be it a pesto inspired by sunflowers or a crisp created using his favourite root vegetable, salsify, each dish is carefully curated and created with accordance of what suppliers have available during various seasons.
Salsify’s menu evolves with the seasons and the inspiration of chef Ryan Cole, however I’ve attached an example of our seven course tasting menu we experienced while dining at Salsify.
Two amuse bouches – Kapokbos puff with Stanford cheddar & a Salsify fish braai
A cider bun and hemp seed loaf with fig leaf butter.
Miso grilled octopus with cured tofu cream, celery heart and salsify crisp.
Fire roasted asparagus with sunflower pesto and egg sauce.
Roasted quail breast with a scotch egg, black garlic and lentils.
Scallop with curry, pomegranate and fried onion.
Peking duck breast with salted and sour plum with a walnut salsa.
Lavender peaches served with a macadamia nut ice cream and peach fool.
The Salsify chocolate bar with peanut, salted caramel, malt and orange.
My personal favourite dish is a tie between the fire roasted asparagus and the Peking duck breast which I found strange as I am not usually a duck fan. However Ryan has carefully balanced both the flavour and the textures of the dish ensuring the richness of the duck isn’t overpowering but rather a pleasing surprise balanced out with a sour plum sauce and the crunchy texture of the walnut salsa.
The Roundhouse itself has an interesting history dating back all the way to 1786 when it was first built as a round guard house, then later used as a hunting lodge for Sir Lord Charles, the governor of Cape Town at the time.
There are two main dining areas. The first an exquisite room with floor to ceiling leather walls situated in the inner ring. Masculine tones with original oak floors softened by glass chandeliers.
The second dinning area is situated on the outer ring, a light space filled with vintage Persian rugs and modern upholstered chairs in a mix of patterned velvets and fabrics to emphasise the marriage of old world and new.
The attention to detail is miraculous with each table cloth ironed in place and every glass polished to perfection. The service does not disappoint either – professional yet friendly creating a relaxed environment to enjoy one’s meal.
To quote Luke Dale Roberts “We’re ready for something new and we think the city is ready too.”
Salsify at The Roundhouse will be open from Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Bookings are open one month in advance from 08h30am (South African time). They do not take reservations via email, however, they will still be able to assist telephonically + 27 (021) 010 6444.
* All photo’s taken by myself.
First of all, greetings from London, I’ve been here for just over a month now and I am still busy adapting to it’s fast paced lifestyle even though I’ve been coming here for the past 10 years. It’s the complete opposite to Cape Town in so many ways which has me feeling overly excited and eager about things but at the same time anxious and homesick. I guess I’m a true gemini.
I’m a bit late in posting this look to the blog – as I am with most of my posts to be 100% honest – hashtag #priority – it’s the one major problem I face since my blog isn’t my only job, more of a hobby really to explore creative fields and learn new things about myself but I’m not going to get too deep into that topic just yet.
Throwback to our blissful stay at Bosjes Farm out in the Breede Valley in South Africa, a 2 hour drive from Cape Town offering the perfect weekend getaway filled with hearty meals, bottles of wine and plenty of peaceful bird watching. (I wrote a full blog post about it, see here.)
I packed my vacation suitcase in such a last minute flurry that I ended up with an eclectic mix of prints (polka dots and leopard print), brightly coloured jackets and plenty of straw items. It worked out well in the end, I mean maybe a bit glamorous for ‘farmyard wanderings’, but I’ll take a page from Beyonce’s book and own that sh*t.
Me&B bodice top
Gucci Jordaan leather loafers
Bo & Luca Giza earrings
Lack of Color straw boater hat
Carry Ann Gracie woven bag
Missoma mini fang necklace
Gigi Hadid x Vogue Eyewear sunglasses
Just under a two hour scenic drive from Cape Town situated in the Breede Valley, lies a perfect little hideaway, Bosjes. You may very well remember me spamming your social feeds a few weeks back when we went to stay there for two nights. Named after the old Bosjesman’s Valley Farm which has been owed by the same family since 1831.
The farm had a complete renovation just over a year ago and is fast becoming one of the most popular wedding destinations in the Western Cape thanks to it’s architectural masterpiece, The Chapel, and it’s breathtaking views.
The old farm barn has been converted into a guesthouse comprising of five luxury suites and a shared swimming pool overlooking the nearby mountains.
After checking in we headed straight for the restaurant (obvs!), Bosjes Kombuis. A beautiful Scandi design with high ceiling, lots of wood and large glass windows offering you the best lunchtime views in the valley. The menu, which is created by Chef Pete Goffe-Wood and Chef Kim, is a combination of various bistro-style dishes. Think refined home cooking, with dishes like apple and plum crumble that take you straight back to your childhood.
We pretty much ate our way through the entire menu during our stay. Everything from the Moroccon style spiced chicken with cous cous and apricots to the tempura duck livers with pickled cucumbers (what a combo!) however our standout meal, which I still think about to this day, would be Chef Kim’s fillet medallions cooked to absolute perfection served with potato dauphinoise, sautéed greens and (yes, hear me out) crumbed exotic mushrooms. Paired perfectly with a bottle of Syrah.
Outside tables spill out onto the terrace besides a rather whimsical mural consisting of 366 blue and white hand painted tiles featuring over 100 species of flora and fauna by artists Lucie de Moyencourt and Michael Chandler. The inspiration behind the design is that of the old shards of porcelain that were dug up on the farm. Bosjes’ very own Tree of Life reminding me of my Portuguese adventures around Porto last year with all their blue and white Azulejos.
P.S it makes for a perfect ‘insta-moment’.
We spent a lot of time at the Bosjes Chapel in the mornings and evenings as it’s the most marvellous light study.
Designed by architect Coetzee Steyn of Steyn Studio, the Bosjes Chapel is hard not to gape at. Striking white curves and a seamless flowing roof that merges so effortlessly with the water that surrounds it. Once inside the chapel you are greeted by the Slanghoek and Waaihoek mountain range through the chapel’s large glass windows and a sense of serenity washes over you.
Alongside the chapel is a charming garden, complete with a meditative circular walkway and a sculptural water feature, and close by is the estate’s new sunken tea garden. Unfortunately the tea garden was closed for renovations during our stay but when it’s open you can expect to find all your favourite sweet and savoury refreshments in the garden’s amphitheatre.
TIP: Make sure when visiting to take a stroll up the hill beside the chapel for an overview of the farm. Best enjoyed at sunset.
Mornings on the farm start peacefully, with the sun slowly rising from the mountain range as the dew clears up from the guesthouse’s windows. A continental breakfast is served in the communal dining area which comprises of freshly pressed juices, various home-baked farm style breads, meats, cheeses and fresh fruit.
A stroll around the farm in highly recommended, you may even bump into one (or two) of Bosjes’ honorary residents – the black swans – enjoying their morning sun. Bosjes is a working farm which produces wine grapes, olives, peaches and proteas, so the farm is usually buzzing with activity in the mornings.
If you feeling a little more energetic the farm also offers 5km and 12km hiking trails which is home to some tame game such as bontebok, zebra and ostrich, if you lucky you’ll even spot some giraffes. Birdwatchers will be in paradise, the Bosjes’ website even has a full downloadable birdwatching list. See here.
If hiking isn’t your thing there are 27 wineries nearby and 4 craft beer breweries. Some of my favourites being the Stofberg Family Vineyards and Bergsig Estate and if you prepared for an hour drive, Springfield Estate in Robertson.
Overall we had the most magnificent stay at Bosjes. A true space to slow things down and take a moment of two for yourself amongst the Slanghoek Mountains.
Photos by myself and Justin Polkey
Last week we headed out of town for a two day adventure in the winelands to celebrate my birthday. I’m a bit of an introvert and not big on parties but prefer getaways, particularly ones that include lots of food, as my birthday treat.
Our first stop on our mini road trip was Terroir at Kleine Zalze, a quiet vineyard setting overlooking the mountains of Stellenbosch where we were greeted by Chef Michael Broughton who has been running to kitchen at Terroir since 2004. I was completely blown away with my experience at Terroir. No fancy entrance or decor, no frilly airs and graces but rather a restaurant that serves exceptional food plated with a certain flare and refinement. The service is phenomenal with the perfect amount of small talk from the waiters and small touches like the refolding of our napkins each time we got up to take a stroll around the garden.
It’s hard to choose a favourite dish from our four course (more like eight because Justin and I shared each dish on the menu) tasting menu however the Malay style baby squid with smoked mackerel, aioli and coconut was a definite stand out, presented as a beautiful wreath and robust in flavour, I won’t be forgetting that dish anytime soon.
Each dish on the menu was paired perfectly with Kleine Zalze’s award winning wines. The perfect opportunity to sample and savour the the farms wines. In the end we stocked up on a case their 2016 Shiraz Mourvedre Viognier, a fruity wine with allspice flavours and floral nose. They also have a range of rather affordable yet sophisticated MCC’s.
Kleine Zalze are currently running a winter special which is valid till the 30th September – a 2 course menu for R295 or a four course menu for R450 p.p with each special including a glass of Kleine Zalze award winning wine. Booking is recommended.
Terroir’s menu evolves with the seasons and the inspiration of chef Michael Broughton however I’ve attached an example of what we experienced below in order of the images:
Comté onion soup with a poached hens egg and onion brioche
Malay style baby squid with smoked mackerel, aïoli and coconut
Prawn risotto with Broughton’s famous sauce américaine (This dish has been on the menu for 14 years!)
Lamb with parision gnocchi, kimchi, aïoli and jus
Duck with roasted kohlrabi, rhubarb jus and carrot crumble
Pan fried line fish served with coconut yogurt curry, bhaji, pak choi and confit onion
Sacher with caramel crunch and kirsch ice cream
Vanilla bean tart with honey ice cream and almond crumble
With fill and happy tummies we headed to Majeka House in Stellenbosch to check in for our night’s stay. Majeka House has been on my travel wish list for years now and was voted the best design hotel in the Condé Nast Johansens 2017 awards. The hotel is situated in a small leafy suburb of Stellenbosch surrounded by mountains and vineyards and a ten minute drive to the town’s centre.
The hotel went under a major refurbishment in 2011 by designer Etienne Hanekom who created a “neo-colonial look with subtle French and Moroccan influences.” A light and airy ambience is filled with hand crafted furniture and quirky design details such as a statue, carving or painting of a pig as a tribute to the owner’s love for the animal.
We were shown to our dreamy poolside room complete with flamingo wallpaper making all my pink and electric dreams come true. Majeka House has a total of 23 rooms spread across four room categories offering a wealth of experiences for a variety of travellers.
I spent the remainder of my afternoon between the hydrotherapy pool, sauna and swimming pool at Majeka House’s very own spa. A beautiful open space that allows for the flow of light courtesy of their sky light. With two single therapy rooms and a room for couples’ treatments, the spa offers a range of holistic facial and body treatments, unfortunately they were fully booked during our stay.
Makaron restaurant was closed so dinner was served in the cosy MLounge amongst the bookshelves of French novels where we dined on oysters and bubbles, a wagyu beef burger and calamari. We retired to our room early to watch the FIFA world cup from our insanely large and comfortable hotel bed.
I woke up on next morning a year older and a whole lot happier, the loviest of staff at Majeka House had baked me my very own birthday cake. A sort of carrot cake topped with a blue berry compote, fresh mint and layered in cream cheese frosting – yes please!
Breakfast was served out on the garden terrace amongst the mosaic tiles and Moroccan inspired cacti. If there’s one thing Majeka House do better than most hotels it has got to be their breakfast. A selection of freshly baked pastries from classic croissants to mouth watering madeleines and french caramels and a selection of freshly baked breads. Bubbles and fruit jars adorn the buffet table with too many delicious dishes to choose from the hot menu. I was torn between the warm whiskey oats and the smoked salmon rösti. I vow to return to Majeka House just to eat every pastry on their breakfast table. It’s sublime.
Majeka House lived up to all my expectations and more. Such warm and welcoming service throughout our stay and I seriously hope to return one day soon.
All packed up we bid our farewells to Majeka House and took the scenic route to Franschhoek via Helshoogte pass for our next foodie stop – Haute Cabrière.
I’ve always been a fan of Haute Cabrière’s wines, particularly their Chardonnay Pinot Noir which pairs perfectly with sushi during those hot summer days, however on this particular chilly winter’s afternoon I was craving a big glass of their Reserve Pinot Noir – a fruity wine with hints of tobacco and spice.
Lunch was served inside, an elegant setting nestled inside a stone cellar beside a majestic fireplace. We opted for a two course meal from their a la carte menu, they also offer a 6 course tasting menu which offers an explosion of flavours such as pan fried sweet bread and venison ragout. The food philosophy of Haute Cabrière is courtesy of chefs Nic van Wyk and Westley Muller who inspire bold flavours while making use of classic techniques.
Haute Cabrière’s winter prices are seriously reasonable with a full 6 course tasting menu costing R450 p.p for both food and wine. (Valid till 31 August) As mentioned earlier we just opted for the two course menu which costs R290 for a starter and a main.
Pea and chorizo soup. Fresh peas, crispy chorizo, pork puff and pea velouote
Steak tartare. Hand cut sirloin with a quail egg (Is that not the prettiest steak tartare you’ve ever seen?!)
Prawns. Fresh tagliatelle, chill, garlic, parsley and parmesan
Wild mushroom risotto. Parmesan and truffle foam
See their full menu here.
Our final stop on our Cape Winelands tour was La Petite Ferme. “A destination for all local and international guests, offering award-winning cuisine, wines and accommodation” and the most spectacular view of the whole of Franschhoek.
The story behind this establishment is truly something quite beautiful. The 40 seater restaurant burnt down in a tragic fire back in 1996, what’s truly remarkable though is that it was brought back to life over the next 6 months thanks to the local community and staff who still work in the kitchen to this day.
La Petite Ferme offers a range of luxury accommodation with large rooms that boost the best of views. We had our own private liabary suite with (once again) our own swimming pool. Pity the weather turned on us otherwise I might just have spent my whole afternoon soaking up he remaining warmth like a lizard in the sun.
With the change in weather and the restaurant closed for the evening we decided to order some cheeky room service. My meal was outstanding and definitely the most plate worthy (read insta worthy) room service I’ve ever received which has only left me wanting to return to La Petite Ferme to experience their full on dining experience.
Breakfast was served the following morning in their newly renovated bright and elegant restaurant while fires blazed in each corner. Their full farm breakfast still makes my mouth water whenever I think about it. Edamame beans, foraged mushrooms and smoked bacon- simple, hearty and absolutely delicious.
After breakfast we had a wine orientation guided by a very charismatic Avron Williams to learn about the history of La Petite Ferme’s wine making and the growth of their vines. Every wine orientation is followed by a seated tasting of their beautiful wines in the bar with a story of how each wine came into fruition. We tasted a total of 6 of their wines – three reds and three whites. My favourite still being their Shiraz. It’s a truly unique and interesting experience that left me wanting to sign up for a mini wine course of sorts to learn more about wine.
The Cape Winelands are looking truly remarkable at this time of the year and most restaurants and hotels are running winter deals, it’s the perfect excuse to plan a weekend away with your loved one or friends. In my opinion Cape Town is actually more beautiful during the winter so why not embrace it and swap Netflix out for a lunch amounts the vineyards.
*All photos by myself and Justin Polkey.