The child of La Colombe’s chef-proprietor Scot Kirton and pastry chef Glen Foxcroft Williams, Foxcroft was destined for success the day it opened its doors, winning the 2016 Eat Out Retail Capital Best New Restaurant Award soon after it opened.
The first page of the menu clearly states its philosophy: treating simple everyday ingredients with the same care, attention and respect as you would those of rarity. This the chefs have achieved with a menu that, at first glance, seems remarkably simple, but delivers boasts bold, thoughtfully put-together dishes.
Dinner includes two tapas, one main and one dessert. With only eight tapas options to choose from, it’s surprisingly hard to narrow down the selection. The menu covers a broad range of flavours, from spring tempura vegetables with fermented chilli-mayo to lamb rib with harissa, smoked garlic and aubergine. The portions are generous: each plate has enough to share with a partner, without feeling as if you’re giving up a valuable portion of your dish.
The tuna crudo, served with green olive, chicory, roasted pork fat dressing and preserved lemon, is light and magnificent. The green olive is a tantalising addition and adds perfect bursts of saltiness to an already fragrant dish. The squid, served with ajo blanco and wild garlic, is tasty. It is tender and crispy, although the batter could do with a touch more seasoning.
The mussels are, quite simply, magnificent. Four mussels per portion, the dish is served with small pieces of crispy bacon, confit lemon and soubise. They are wonderfully smoky, the soubise is incredibly silky, and toasted brioche adds just the right amount of crunch. More, please!
The Korean fried chicken is a hit. It has been well and truly soaked into the batter, rather than just being shallowly coated in it. Served with butter espuma and a spicy sauce, it may well be the best Korean-inspired fried chicken in Cape Town.
For mains, choose from the likes of creamed millet with summer vegetables, goat’s cheese and hazelnut velour; pan-seared line fish with salsa verde, cauliflower and mussel chowder; or Chalmar beef with duck-fat chips and café au lait. The pork neck steak with glazed jowl and smoked fillet is served with sweet potato, roasted stone fruit and kimchi baby gem. The seven-day dry-aged duck is another standout, served perfectly pink, with accompaniments of turnip, fermented plum, gem squash and kale.
For vegetarians, there is only one tapas and one main option.
The dessert of rose-and-coconut panna cotta is pretty in pastel pink. Served with cashew and lime, it’s light, fluffy and a perfect ending to a decadent meal. On the other end of the sweet scale is the gypsy tart. It is undoubtedly the triumph of the night. Its texture is akin to molten lava: thick, sticky and decadent. It is remarkably rich and, though the passion fruit sorbet and citrus salt are there to battle the decadence, they come off second best (albeit a delicious second best). It is not a dessert you'll forget in a hurry – if ever!
The wine list is comprehensive but not overwhelming, with a good selection of interesting local wines. Expect a selection of one carafe per type of wine, ranging from an average of R65 for white and bubbly to R80 for red. The usual suspects appear on the beer list, plus a few craft beers. Otherwise choose from the cocktail menu, which includes classics and in-house specialities (including the Foxcroft – an appealing combination of spiced rum, granadilla and mint).
The service is swift and prompt, but casual. Staff are attentive but not overbearing, and are well-versed on the menu. The managers are ever-present and observant. They’re quick to step in where necessary, but never seem officious.
Foxcroft is stylish, yet casual. The smart open-plan kitchen runs the length of the room but isn’t a distraction. The goings-on are calm and mesmerising. The glass-walled cheese room also provides entertainment – watch staff slice majestic cheese and charcuterie for the cheese platters.
Mondays are #MacaronMondays at Foxcroft, where the new flavour of the week is featured. Think rhubarb crumble, coffee-and-doughnuts or raspberry-caramel. Bonus? Buy any three macarons and get one free.
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The short menu begins auspiciously with champagne-poached oysters for those who might be celebrating a special occasion – or just being here for a meal, which is worthy of fanfare in itself.
The tuna tartare is a winner, served with a neat stack of baby gem leaves to scoop up the cubes of fresh fish, pops of tangy onion and miso. Tofu in tentsuyu broth is decorated with delightful dancing bonito flakes. There are also tempting-sounding mussels, yellowtail ceviche and smoked pig’s head croquette, but the one tapas to rule them all is flash-fried squid with chorizo and ajo blanco. It defies description – order it whatever you do.
Options are somewhat limited for vegetarians. The only vegetarian tapas dish is of feather-light and perfectly crisp tempura vegetables, which play beautifully with fermented chilli mayo and house-made ponzu.
Choosing a main is quite straightforward, with one option per protein – beef, duck, pork, lamb and line fish – and old faithful risotto for the non meat-eaters. Ultra creamy and fragrant with celery and salsa verde, the rice dish is presented in a little copper saucepan with grilled cauliflower florets and somewhat over-the-top cubes of deep-fried camembert.
The beef rib-eye is served a tender medium-rare, accompanied by grilled Brussels sprouts and perfect baby carrots with a bit of snap to lighten all the richness. Dip your duck-fat potatoes in the cep mushroom jus for an umami party second to none.
All the prettily plated dishes show a keen eye for detail, with accents like delicate discs of radish, pickled red onion, curling pea shoots and petals.
For dessert, the rose-and-coconut panna cotta, dotted with froths and mini meringues, was Glen’s first dish to make it onto the menu at La Colombe when he was all of 20 years old – and one of Scot’s favourites. It charms with pastel-coloured delicacy after a meal of big flavours. The already-famous gypsy tart is gaspingly sweet with a gorgeous texture, cleverly paired with super-sour granadilla sorbet to cut the sugar. But the favourite sweet has to be elderflower doughnuts with their soft, nostalgic flavour of afternoon tea in the garden.
The cheese board – plated in the glass-enclosed cheese-and-charcuterie room – is swoon-worthy too, featuring the likes of cumin-studded Gonedsa, Cremelat gorgonzola, Dalewood Brie Superlatif, and Belnori goat’s cheese, accompanied by exceptionally delicious quince ‘butter’, crisp apple slivers and fresh bread from the bakery.
Begin with a glass of Steenberg bubbly or a cocktail – the Lemon Drop, with limoncello, gin, vermouth and mint is refreshing – and then move on to the wine list. It’s full of gems from the Cape’s wine regions – Swartland, Stellenbosch, Hemel-en Aarde, and Constantia itself – and has one by-the-glass option per varietal. The glass turns out to be a carafe, so the seemingly steep prices (R65 – R95) make more sense.
Well thought out but not overwrought, the design at Foxcroft features touches of wood, tan leather, copper and neutral hues, and a bar with mismatched tiles. Wooden bowls and grey plates reminiscent of lily pads feel very zen, and the little fox motif that pops up occasionally adds some fun.
The atmosphere inside is vibrant but not noisy, and a long oak counter at the sash windows offers an ideal spot for a date; you can spread out your feast and still get cosy with your knees touching. The open kitchen in the back is a hive of activity, so if you prefer a calmer setting, choose one of the outside tables in the serene country-courtyard space.
It’s still opening week, but things seem to be flowing smoothly already. Waiters are keen to impress but still charmingly real. Scot and Glen might emerge from the kitchen now and then to engage with diners.
Foxcroft will open for breakfast once the chefs are comfortable with the lunch and dinner menu.
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