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Cheyne’s

Cheyne’s
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Cost
avg tapa R85, R300 for Yum Cha Dining Experience (any 5 dishes)
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Family friendly
Food
Asian, International, Modern, Tapas
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Raphaella Frame-Tolmie

Food
Chef-proprietor Cheyne Morrisby has a knack for creative combinations and beautiful plating. The menu here is divided into four self-explanatory sections, namely sea, land, earth and the amusingly-titled happy endings. The dishes are all starter-sized with the intention of sharing. There’s a strong Asian influence, so you’ll see plenty of exotic-sounding dishes such as firecracker crayfish with beetroot kimchi, or baby back ribs in a sticky mandarin caramel with crispy shallots. There are also interesting internationally-inspired interpretations using Asian cooking applications, such as the teriyaki pulled lamb pie with Greek yoghurt and aubergine tempura.

It’s best to order something from all sections of the menu to get a broad taste of what’s on offer before honing in on your favourites for follow-up visits. For dessert, the double-thick peanut butter shake with miso butterscotch and chocolate soil should be compulsory.

Drink
A good selection of local wines at fair prices, as well as a short list of interesting cocktails.

Service
Waiters are enthusiastic and efficient.

Ambience
This is a great venue at nighttime or for winter dining, as it’s intimate and softly lit; decorated in jewel tones with plush seating. Popular with the locals, it’s advisable to book if you want to avoid disappointment. Opt for an outdoor table in summer.

And…
Chef Cheyne also owns Lucky Bao, right next door.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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  • Linda Scarborough

    Food
    Cheyne Morrisby’s menu is very exciting. Don’t be intimidated by the title of ‘Pacific Rim cuisine’ or the enigmatic lists of ingredients: this is attractive food that’s easy to like. Inspired by flavours from South East Asia and Japan, the menu is divided into tapas portions of sea, land, earth and happy endings, making it fun to navigate. The Tokyo beef slider with szechuan pepper and king oyster cream (our waiter’s recommendation) arrives topped with mini tempura onion rings and a sliver of dried Wagyu. It’s bold and beautifully textured, with the punchy pepper-cream sauce taking centre stage. The chicken yakitori is perfectly cooked and served on a ring of grilled pineapple – a playful, tangy touch – but its sweet, sticky marinade tends to overwhelm the delicate cardamom and pear jelly cubes served alongside. Gorgeously presented, the pan-fried shiitake and king oyster mushrooms are laid out along a curved wooden platter to show off their shapes. The expected cashew-garlic purée seems to have been replaced with the same (or similar) pepper-cream sauce from the beef slider, which we find a bit too rich for the delicate fungi. Our curiosity is rewarded, however, when the signature ‘deep-fried milk’ arrives: fragrant coconut cream cubes are scented with Thai curry flavours, battered and fried, and served with green chilli caramel. As for the happy endings, the yuzu crème catalan dessert is a masterstroke. Adding the tartness of that Japanese citrus fruit to the creamy custard – with its crackable crust – is a clever move, and delicious with the ginger-cinnamon tuille and butterscotch sauce. If Irish coffee is your thing, the Kyoto coffee delivers an Asian twist on the original, with a hit of Nikka Pure Malt Black whisky, espresso, and lashings of hot coconut cream.

    Drinks
    Now licensed, guests have the option to enjoy what is available on the wine list.

    Service
    The staff are all friendly and accommodating.

    Ambience
    It’s a smart and edgy space, with dark walls decorated in modern art with witty pop culture references. The many dining rooms of the converted house are pretty full for a chilly weeknight, suggesting it’s popular with Hout Bay locals as well as the town-side travellers.

    And…
    Take a peek into the open kitchen to see the row of white-clad chefs tending their plates and pots.

  • Linda Scarborough

    Food
    Cheyne Morrisby’s menu is very exciting. Don’t be intimidated by the title of ‘Pacific Rim cuisine’ or the enigmatic lists of ingredients: this is attractive food that’s easy to like. Inspired by flavours from South East Asia and Japan, the menu is divided into tapas portions of sea, land, earth and happy endings, making it fun to navigate.

    Unfortunately, due to loadshedding, three of the dishes are unavailable. This is hardly a concern when the menu is this intriguing, but perhaps explains why there are some missing and repeated ingredients.

    The Tokyo beef slider with szechuan pepper and king oyster cream (our waiter’s recommendation) arrives topped with mini tempura onion rings and a sliver of dried Wagyu. It’s bold and beautifully textured, with the punchy pepper-cream sauce taking centre stage.

    The chicken yakitori is perfectly cooked and served on a ring of grilled pineapple – a playful, tangy touch – but its sweet, sticky marinade tends to overwhelm the delicate cardamom and pear jelly cubes served alongside.

    Gorgeously presented, the pan-fried shiitake and king oyster mushrooms are laid out along a curved wooden platter to show off their shapes. The expected cashew-garlic purée seems to have been replaced with the same (or similar) pepper-cream sauce from the beef slider, which we find a bit too rich for the delicate fungi. Our curiosity is rewarded, however, when the signature ‘deep-fried milk’ arrives: fragrant coconut cream cubes are scented with Thai curry flavours, battered and fried, and served with green chilli caramel.

    As for the happy endings, the yuzu crème catalan dessert is a masterstroke. Adding the tartness of that Japanese citrus fruit to the creamy custard– with its crackable crust – is a clever move, and delicious with the ginger-cinnamon tuille and butterscotch sauce. If Irish coffee is your thing, the Kyoto coffee delivers an Asian twist on the original, with a hit of Nikka Pure Malt Black whisky, espresso, and lashings of hot coconut cream.

    Drinks
    They are currently transferring their liquor licence, but you are welcome to bring your own wine at no charge.

    Service
    The staff are all friendly and accommodating. They look after us well, topping up our wine and clearing discreetly. This is an impressive feat in the loadshedding candlelight, in what must be awkward circumstances for them.

    Ambience
    It’s a smart and edgy space, with dark walls decorated in modern art with witty pop culture references. The many dining rooms of the converted house are pretty full for a chilly weeknight, suggesting it’s popular with Hout Bay locals as well as the town-side travellers.

    And…
    Take a peek into the open kitchen to see the row of white-clad chefs tending their plates and pots.

    (May 2015)

  • Richard Holmes

    Food 
    Cheyne Morrisby has long been known for his love of Pacific-Rim cuisine and his eponymous restaurant on Hout Bay’s main drag is, hopefully, set to finally put this under-rated chef on the map. For despite the humble surrounds and low-key décor, the food here is, quite simply, superb. You’ll find over two-dozen choices on the menu of Asian-style tapas divided into ‘Sea’, ‘Land’, ‘Earth’ and ‘Happy Endings’. Portions are starter-sized, but three or four plates will satiate all but the hungriest diner.

    The larger problem is simply deciding what to order, for in their layers of Asian tastes and textures every dish is delicious, and there’s little chance any will disappoint. Some plates may come and go with the whims of the chef, but expect the likes of chilli-salt squid with spicy mayo and shichimi [seven-flavour pepper]; or Korean pork belly with a tiny bowl of slurpable ramen noodles. The potato and coconut dumplings served with a delectable hot-and-sour coconut cream are also superb.

    Plating is artful yet accessible, with each dish offering a bold but balanced blend of flavours. If this restaurant were in the city it’d be booked out weeks in advance.

    Drinks 
    Available is a small list of mostly boutique wineries at a range of price points, alongside some fine bubblies and Asian beers. By the glass is limited to red or white, both of which are good though.

    Service 
    While service can be a bit patchy on arrival, once the waiters get going they are friendly and adept at explaining the finer points of the ambitious menu.

    Ambience 
    A dark, casually elegant restaurant with modern-art prints on the wall, it’s a space that works better at night than at lunch. Sadly the fireplace is hidden towards the back.

    And… 
    Alongside the sweets menu of 'Happy Endings’ there’s a tempting cheeseboard of artisanal cheeses.

    (July 2014)

  • Food
    The lunch menu is short and sweet and changes with the seasons. Expect casual beef burgers made more interesting with an Asian twist – perfect for power lunches. Dinnertime is when chef-patron Cheyne shows off with playful, modern Asian-inspired cuisine.

    Wine
    The few well-sourced, well-priced bottles chalked on a board change regularly.

    Service
    Cheyne is very hands on, with well-informed waitrons picking up the slack.

    Ambience
    The restaurant is a hole in the wall of restored Heritage Square. There are two tables outside and a communal table inside. The room is open plan, with all eyes on Cheyne cooking up a storm in the kitchen. The set-up has the feeling of being in a good friend’s house

    And...
    The entire restaurant can be booked for 12 people and a menu designed around your requests. (ML, September 2010)
  • Katharine Jacobs

    The tiny 25-seater restaurant opened up just three months ago, but already it’s earning quite a reputation for unique cuisine layered with the flavours of the Pacific Rim. Dishes are laced with miso, coconut cream, tamarind, mirin, sake, rice wine vinegar and star anise; and are all delivered in a host of textures and temperatures. You might recognise the name Cheyne Morrisby from Franschhoek Kitchen and the now-closed Cheyne’s on Bree Street, but it’s the time the South African-born chef spent living and working in Malaysia, Thaliand and Indonesia that defines his culinary style today. “I wanted to learn what makes Thai cuisine bang, to get those flavours right,” he explains. During this time he called Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Chang, Koh Tau and Ubud and the Gili Islands in Indonesia home. “There is definitely a language barrier, but once you learn the basics it gets easier.”

    The chef has been pleasantly surprised by the support for his new eatery, “Hout Bay was always overlooked, but in the past four or five months I’ve seen some big changes,” says Cheyne. “The restaurant has taken off massively.” Currently, he’s examining the possibility of expanding to hold 45 guests, with the addition of a Japanese-style bar.

    Food
    Imagine tempura coconut milk (if you can): perfectly crispy tempura batter with squares of soft, coconutty cream in the centre, served with pickled beetroot. Or a wonton ‘sandwich’ of tender crayfish layered between shards of wonton pastry, Japanese mayonnaise and spices you’d normally find on sushi.

    Meaty main dishes are done to a turn: the pulled lamb and teriyaki pie with aubergine tempura is sublimely succulent and richly flavoured; and the grilled pork belly comes with a sweet and tangy corn-and-cumin purée, coconut dumplings and sticky maple and soy sauce. There’s also a 48-hour beef short rib dish, which sounds incredible. The one downside to all this magnificent meat is that there’s not much to please vegetarians on the main menu.

    For dessert, try the intense white chocolate and toasted sesame semi freddo, which works beautifully with hot banana tempura. There’s also a buttery, fried apple pie dusted in cinnamon sugar so that it takes on the persona of a piping hot crispy pancake, with sour cream ice cream and hazelnuts.

    All in all, Cheyne’s serves up delicious and different food, and with mains ranging between R70 and R125, excellent value for money, too.

    Wine
    A surprisingly well-priced list, with the majority of the wines available by the glass, around the R30-R35 mark.

    Ambience
    This tiny hole in the wall has plenty atmosphere to go around. Low lighting (perhaps too low in the couch area) and candlelight make for a romantic mood. You’ll need to go through the tiny kitchen to get to the toilet, which is in a separate room outside. It may sound odd, but it kind of adds to the experience.

    Service
    Able and quick.

    And…
    Our bill came with a little ball of coconut ice, coated in white chocolate – a far cry from the usual desultory mint.

    (August 2013)

User reviews

  • We were delighted to get a last minute lunch booking for a big table over the weekend. Unfortunately there was a bigger table next to us, and they were making it quite difficult for us to hear each other. The service started out a bit slow, and we discovered that although our booking had been made for 230pm, the kitchen was to close imminently. We felt a bit rushed, made some hasty decisions from an inspired menu, and hoped for the best. What we got was even better than we had expected. Tasty, fresh, creative, loaded with flair and flavour. One small criticism would be an overabundance of sauce (but often it's served separately, so next time I won't dump the whole lot on my noodles)! Everything was generous, which is often not the case with tapas. Loved the interesting wine list too. Can't wait to go back and try a few favourites, and all the others ...
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  • Still one of my favourite restaurants in Cape Town. They are currently running a great winter special ( any 4 dishes for R200). The only disappointment was the fact that they were running low on some of the ingredients so some dishes weren't available. However every thing I ordered was very delicious and I cannot wait to go back!
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  • We visited Cheyne's for the first time on Saturday - what a fab place to go with a group of friends. Despite being a bit squished, with two people having to sit at the head of the table, the food was delicious (if somewhat irregularly served). Standout dishes were the potato dumplings, the tuna tataki 'pizza', the ribs and the chocolate fondant. The tripled duck fat fried chips were a bit of a letdown. The menu is extensive - split into 'sea' (seafood), 'land' (meat) and 'earth' (salads and sides - which makes for some tough decisions. It does mean you could go again and again and get to try new things each time. They have a winter special on at the moment of R200 for 4 dishes, which is really good value for such delicious food.
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  • My husband and I have been here for dinner several times, either just the two of us, or with several groups of friends. The food, ambiance, service & wine have never disappointed and as this place was new to all of us, all of our friends have also been back themselves several times. I almost don't want to post this review, as I kinda want to keep this place my little secret!
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  • My Favorite Restaurant!! Cheyne's is a hidden jem in the heart of Hout Bay. The menu takes you on a food journey - be prepared to be blown away. If your a lover of Asian inspired food - you will love it! The flavors are fantastic and individual components on every dish are mouth watering!!
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  • This restaurant is NEXT LEVEL! Every dish on the menu is a work of art and something you have never seen in your life. I have literally gone more than 50 times, I've sent so many people there and every one of them had raving reviews. The prices are very reasonable for wha you are getting! its a no brainer, literally the best restaurant in South Africa by miles.
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  • One of the best spots in Cape Town!
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  • In my opinion Cheyne's is one of THE NICEST eating spots in Cape Town. The food is superb, his guys that work in the kitchen and the guys waiting tables are amazing, service is flawless, ambiance is amazing even to the young lady who looks after the cars outside - a 10 OUR OF 10 from me - Keep rocking Cheyne Morrisby Lawrence Goodman
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  • This is a special tapas restaurant and well worth the drive (in an Uber) to Hout Bay. Order everything on the menu and share with friends. A must try are the lucky pizza, deep fried milk and the beef slider. (The pork belly was a bit dry and the baby back beef ribs were nothing as special as most of the other items on the menu). Enjoy Cheynes, we did! It was reasonably priced at R300 a head. At the time we went in May they had no liquor licence but you can take your own wine/beer.
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  • Absolutely love going to Cheynes, been there twice now and everything from service to the food was fantastic! Highly recommend this place
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  • Cheyne's is a little gem in the Republic of Hout Bay. Understated from the outside, it is elegantly decorated and has some interesting local artists displaying their paintings for purchase. The wine list was minimal with expensive (average price of red wine was R240) but well chosen wine which was perfect for easy drinking, no decanting or airing required. Although the menu said that the waiter could suggest wine pairings, when asked about the various wines, he seemed unsure, so we opted for a bottle of Stoney Brook vineyards Shiraz. It was delicious! The Menu is a tasting menu so we chose 5 different dishes, all of which were plated perfectly and had interesting flavour combinations, I can't fault the food, it was exactly what I had wished for! I highly recommend popping in when you are next in Hout Bay!
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  • The food is honestly fantastic and I agree with Shelley, it is up there with the best! We eat there now at least twice a week and have never been dissapointed. The staff is great, friendly and efficient and the buzzy atmosphere at night feels like a trendy Californian restaurant. Well done Cheyne. We love you food and ambience!
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  • The best food i've had in a long long time in Cape Town. Pleasantly surprised by the fantastic quality and creativity, gives Pot Luck Club a run for it's money! In fact I can honestly say, after a recent visit to PLC, that Cheyne's has taken over. Haven't tried a dish that hasn't surprised and delighted me with its creative presentation and tantalizing tastes. Quite simply …. BRILLIANT! Am so happy it's just across the road from me, would definitely move in if I could!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • WiFi

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