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What to expect at Luke Dale-Roberts’s newest restaurant, The Shortmarket Club

“Hmm, I feel like eggs Benedict,” I say to B on our way to a pop-up breakfast at tiny new Naturalis restaurant in Woodstock. The meal was designed to showcase what will be on offer at The Shortmarket Club, the latest venture by award-winning chefs Luke Dale-Roberts and Wesley Randles from The Pot Luck Club, set to open in the city come June. (Read more here.)

A fancy creation from chefs Luke Dale-Roberts and Wesley Randles at Naturalis. Photo courtesy of Aileen Lamb.

Organic peaches on a goat’s milk ricotta with pancetta galette. Photo courtesy of Aileen Lamb.

“Not a chance,” says B. “It’s Luke Dale-Roberts, for goodness sake. You won’t find that on the menu.”

Of course I was thinking deconstructed, innovated, not-just-any-old eggs. But this is what we got:

  1. Specially brewed Puerto Rican light coffee (that you should drink black) whilst waiting for our party of ten outside.
  2. Plum and ginger juice. “You can have it straight from the bottle or pour it in the glass,” says chef Wesley Randles. Delightful.
  3. A granola pot like no other you have ever seen. It’s bite-size small, healthy, and bursting with flavour, with quinoa granola and slithers of sweet pickled carrots underneath the buffalo yoghurt and fresh plums. Delicious.
  4. Even tastier organic peaches on a goat’s milk ricotta with pancetta galette. By now we know this is serious stuff.
  5. Then for the third course, the highlight: hot smoked trout on fermented miso, organic poached eggs from Spier, wafer-thin slices of raw baby marrow, drops of snow kale leaves, pea shoots, and a couple of spekboom leaves that added extra zing to the whole dish.

After a meal like this, you can’t help agree that Luke Dale-Roberts and his formidable team deserve every accolade that has come their way. And I haven’t even talked about the freshly-made lemon eucalyptus madeleine, the toast, the innovative setting and, and, and…

The granola pot. Photo courtesy of Aileen Lamb.

The granola pot. Photo courtesy of Aileen Lamb.

The pop-up breakfasts at Naturalis end tomorrow –  not that you stood a chance to have cracked a seat this week, anyway. The two sittings per day were booked out within 45 minutes of reservations opening. You’ll have to wait to taste it all at the real thing when The Shortmarket Club opens in June.

The interior at Naturalis. Photo courtesy of Aileen Lamb.

The interior at Naturalis. Photo courtesy of Aileen Lamb.

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