Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg (previously of The Kitchen at Maison) finally answered the long-awaited call for a fine-dining restaurant on Kloof Street. The much-anticipated restaurant ticks all the boxes, and Janse & Co has quickly entrenched itself as one of the best eateries on the bustling Kloof Street strip.
What sets Janse & Co apart is the use of ingredients that you won’t spot on the menu of many other restaurants. Expect the likes of num num, klip kombers, custard apple, soutslaai and much, much more. If you’ve never heard of some of the ingredients, flip over your menu: a concise glossary explains the more unusual ingredients.
Janse & Co offers set menus, starting at three courses (R385) to seven courses (R785). Pick and choose from an extensive list of menu options. Liase with a partner to ensure that you cover all possible bases.
Start with the home-made charcuterie, served with six types of home-made mayonnaise. Dusted chokka with klip kombers (seaweed) is a highlight. Paired with a nasturtium aioli, the balance of sweet and saltiness is extraordinary.
The octopus is worthy of its Instagram fame. The subtle sweetness of persimmon pairs with the smokiness of charred, perfectly cooked octopus.
The trout is another highlight. It’s served with num num, the fruit of the Carissa tree, which adds not only a lovely tartness but a beautiful pop of colour. Crunchy fennel rounds off a delightful dish.
When planning your menu, don’t forget to account for one (or all) of the three desserts. The 55% milk chocolate coulant is a rich, sultry end to an outstanding meal.
An interesting wine list of Cape wines complements the menu. Whites start at R230 and reds at R300. A small variety of wines are available by the glass (R65 for white, R90 for red). For the teetotallers, kombucha and kvass are available.
The service is slick. The staff are well versed in the menu, and are able to effortlessly rattle off not only the elements of every dish, but the origin and background information of the more unique ingredients. They’re friendly and attentive, but never overbearing.
This is a seriously sexy interior. You’ll covet every element of the minimalist, all-black décor, right down to the crockery and cutlery. Staff are also dressed in black, and seemingly appear from nowhere the moment that they’re needed. It’s a big space, but has been cleverly designed for an intimate feel. A pleasant outside courtyard flanks the back of the restaurant, which will undoubtedly be a highly coveted section come summer.
A romantic date night or impressing out-of-towners
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg, previously of 2016 Top 10 restaurant The Kitchen at Maison, brings his culinary expertise to Janse & Co, a new casual fine-dining restaurant in the heart of Cape Town.
Arno heads up this new venture with partner and pastry chef Liezl Odendaal, previously of Weylandts and Ellerman House. The space, which briefly housed YUZU Kitchen & Bar, has been completely transformed. Arno’s attention to detail and authenticity shows not only through his food, but shines through in this impeccably decorated space.
The chef’s passion for seasonal and foraged ingredients is showcased in small dishes comprising two or three star ingredients. 20 options on the flexible tasting menu can be enjoyed in three to seven courses in a well-balanced range of vegetarian, seafood and meat dishes and desserts.
The experience begins with a bread course: ciabatta and cracker bread infused with whispers of the sea and earth. Local flavours like seaweed, buchu and caraway seed are subtly pronounced and served with a generous dollop of whipped olive oil. This sets the scene for the simplicity and clever play on flavours for the courses that lie ahead.
An opening plate of pressed and thinly shaved watermelon follows, topped with fermented cocoa nibs and beetroot kvass (a Slavic fermented drink) poured at the table. The dish is finished with duckweed and plays on the true flavours of summer.
An elegant plate of sous-vide trout arrives next, surrounded by home-made buttermilk and topped with trout roe and rose petals. This picture-perfect dish with floral notes and soft flavours delivers more on visual appeal and leaves me searching for more of a pronounced flavour.
In contrast, the 10-hour rolled suckling pig, with crispy crackling, bok choy, kimchi broth and lentil sprouts, is three mouthfuls of sheer joy. My only complaint is that there isn’t more of this sterling dish.
A sweet ending of local pecans and buttermilk ice cream with tart gooseberries is the star of the show, and a superb way to complete the experience.
The well-curated and reasonable wine list offers an interesting selection of Cape wines, including favourites like Fram chardonnay and Waterkloof Wild Ferment merlot. A range of cocktails, beers and non-alcoholic drinks like vanilla-peach kombucha and lemon-ginger kvass is sure to cater to every palate.
Warm, friendly and extremely knowledgeable staff members are in tune to diners’ needs without being intrusive.
The contemporary Janse & Co space has been designed with different dining areas. You are welcomed by a floral mural into the first area with a harvest table that can seat 18 guests. Here you can marvel at the house-made charcuterie display and wine selection. The main dining areas give a full view of the hot and cold kitchens. Summer days and nights are best enjoyed dining alfresco in the courtyard, under large trees and surrounded by a hanging garden of herbs used in the kitchen.
The restaurant is only a few weeks old, but holds great promise for an upscale experience on buzzing Kloof Street.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.