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Number 10: The Pot Luck Club

The Pot Luck Club in Woodstock, Cape Town, was the first to crack the Top 10 in South Africa at the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. To find out why, watch the video and read the review below.

Food

Luke Dale-Roberts and Frederico Dias serve transformative tapas in this buzzing eatery, which came in at number 10 at the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.

The Lucky Lunch at The Pot Luck Club

The Lucky Lunch at The Pot Luck Club. Photo supplied.

Dishes are organised according to flavour: salty, sweet, umami, sour and bitter. The tapas-style dishes are prepared for sharing (two items, such as the fish tacos, are served per portion). Order between six and eight plates between two people – excluding dessert, of course. Write down your selection of dishes on the notepad and the chef will decide on the order of your meal, starting with the lightest and ending with the fullest flavours.

One cannot visit The Pot Luck Club without trying the iconic fish tacos. It’s advisable to eat them by hand. The tacos themselves have superb structural integrity: crispy on the outside with just enough softness. The black-bean purée and avocado add a subtle sweetness to balance the tang of the ceviche and sour cream. Two are served in a portion, and you’ll wish that both were for you.

The other must-try dish is the beef fillet with truffle café au lait. The smoky sauce is undoubtedly the highlight of the dish, and the steak a pleasant, succulent addition. Happily, the chef opts to serve the chickpea, goat’s cheese and parmesan fries alongside the steak dish. On the outside, the fries are crispy and oh-so salty, with a creamy interior. The accompanying tomato sauce is possibly a touch too smoky, but the truffle aioli is perfection. Be sure to keep a few fries aside to properly scoop out what remains of the café au lait sauce. No one’s judging you.

The fish sliders pay tribute to local cuisine: hake medallions are battered and crumbed in amasi and maize meal, and served on a soft, steamed bun. It’s crispy and flaky with just the right hint of sour undertones.

Other options on the extensive menu include the earthy, shredded confit duck leg with a fabulous addition of fresh plums; calamari with yuzu-compressed watermelon and fermented peanut-chilli dressing (the crispy, salty batter is perfection); or the springbok rump with earthy, ash-baked beets and tomato XO dressing.

Hibiscus poached pear, summer berries, black olive honeycomb and peach granita at The Pot Luck Club

Hibiscus-poached pear, summer berries, black-olive honeycomb and peach granita at The Pot Luck Club. Photo supplied.

For a sweet ending, you can’t go wrong with the famed s’mores: roasted, frozen marshmallows with peanut-butter ice cream and cacao nib biscuits. They are a sweet sensation, and with one bite, you’re instantly transported to a happy campfire in your childhood. A close second is the mint-and-chocolate ice-cream sandwiches, which you’ll happily dip into a decadent white chocolate sauce, coffee and crushed hazelnuts. Other dessert options include the hibiscus-poached pear (served with macerated berries, black-olive honeycomb and pear granita) and the almond-and-apple tart with burnt peanut butter, popcorn ice cream, apple gummies and maple-glazed bacon.

Drinks

It’s worth kicking things off with a renowned cocktail. The wine list is extensive, with a good range of local wines. There is also a good range of craft beers and ciders, as well as the usual suspects.

Service

Staff are friendly and attentive, and service is casual and cool, although a touch too chatty at times. Waiters are incredibly knowledgeable about the menu, right down to the flavour profiles of every wine on the menu.

The exterior of The Pot Luck Club in Woodstock. Photo by Michael Le Grange.

The exterior of The Pot Luck Club in Woodstock. Photo by Michael Le Grange.

Ambience

This is as trendy as it gets. Take a ride up the glass elevator to the sixth floor of the Old Biscuit Mill and watch as the views expand around you. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that you’ve stepped into an uber-stylish loft-style eatery in New York City. The 360-degree views of Cape Town harbour and Table Mountain are breathtaking. The Pot Luck Club is always full, and the crowd is vibey and festive. In spite of the palpable excitement in the air, acoustics are not a problem.

And…

Their Sunday brunch is a thing of beauty. Expect a set menu, which includes the likes of the famed fish tacos, arancini and burnt vanilla churros with dulce de leche. Add bottomless bubbly to your tab for an extra R200 per person.

It’s worth noting that bookings only open on the first of each month (8.30am South African time) for the following month.

See all 30 of the nominees for the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards here and the Top 10 here.

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