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.