Homage 1862 is only in its second week of service, but is already serving fantastic food, complemented by clever design and décor. This spot caters to everyone but is sure to appeal especially to vegans and vegetarians who are looking for something different and delicious.
Cost: Average main course is R140
Serves: Fresh food from the earth cooked over the fire
Parking: It’s on Loop Street so there’s limited parking space
Best for: Weekday lunch dates, small plates with coffee or a casual business meeting
Star rating: Food 5, Service 4, Ambience 5
Homage 1862 is currently serving the Summer Closing menu, which exalts the humble vegetable.
Each component of the dish lovingly named Fresh from the Earth deserves a spotlight: braaied mielie (rubbed in a warm spice mix and served with lime and house mayonnaise); smoked aubergine (with roasted garlic tahini, shards of pita and pomegranate seeds); a divine slaw of root vegetables; a gomae (sesame) spinach salad strewn with spring onion; and a gloriously charred sweet potato topped with fynbos honey and thyme butter.
With a base of julienned beetroot and carrots and a subtly tangy dressing, the slaw is customised to suit the main dish you order: With Fresh from the Earth, chickpeas and a variety of seeds are added, and it comes topped with quinoa; with a chicken dish, it’s mixed with sesame seeds and crowned with pomegranate arils. These combinations of flavours and crunchy textures elevate this simple concept to the star of the show.
The fresh spinach with the gomae sauce is equally delicious, adding an Asian flair to the dish. The sweet potato arrives piping hot and bulging with its perfectly cooked flesh. It’s neither too firm nor too soft, and a second serving of thyme butter arrives helpfully, serving as seasoning as well as to coat the interior with a delectable gloss.
A beautifully plated aubergine dish is served cold, leaving you wondering if it would benefit from a hit of heat, but the accompanying tahini comes through wonderfully, and it’s cleverly paired with shards of pita for texture.
Perfectly seasoned, the butterflied chicken breast seems to melt in the mouth. It’s surrounded by the slaw, nutty spiced oil and a braaied mielie with labneh. If you’re after a more meaty bite, the rib eye is seasoned with rosemary and thyme, and served with vegetable ribbons, mushrooms, beetroot and the herb salsa; else you could go for salmon with miso and fynbos honey, gomae spinach, yuzu mushrooms and red chilli.
The Homage salad is rather traditional for an eatery like this, so does not rival the slaw or any of the vegetable dishes, as beautiful as it is.
The staff will also likely offer you chilli oil no matter what you order. Say yes – you won’t regret it. They seem hopeful about a dessert menu in the future, but as yet there are no sweet options available.
The selection is small but thoughtful. The usual coffees and teas are available as well as a fresh juice of the day. The house cordial appears at the top of the menu in three different flavours: fennel citrus, cucumber and lime, and rosemary orange. The aptly named Grown Up smoothie is made with bananas, Greek yoghurt, a shot of espresso, vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa nibs and coconut, and provides a pleasant mid-afternoon kick without being too filling. They have red and white house wines and are eager to find one to suit your tastes. (There’s no wine list just yet.)
Staff are eager to please and are almost too attentive, with several members checking in constantly. There’s evidence of growing pains, such as some confusion about the division of labour. Empty plates are ignored by a waiter who removes our menus instead, but the manager eventually comes around to remove the plates. However, every staff member is considerate and friendly, going out of their way to make your experience a good one.
The restaurant has cleverly been divided into various sections that flow into one another effortlessly.
If you are concerned about going to a live-fire eatery on a warm day, don’t be. The Homage 1862 building itself is cool, with light draughts of air coming from upstairs as the pleasant waft of the fire greets you. If you don’t fancy sitting at the café-like section by the window, try to nab a seat in the conservatory. The natural light streaming inside illuminates various plants and herbs, the exposed brickwork and light green velvet booths. Interesting knick-knacks provide for conversation starters, and the emerald wine glasses on bare wooden tables add to the impressive air. Upstairs you’ll find the bar and an elegant lounge with more seating that leads out to a deck. You get the idea that you could dine at Homage 1862 several times and would still want to keep going back to discover more.
Go soon to try the Summer Closing menu before it makes way for the autumn offering, which promises to feature hearty stews and soups.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.