We opt for the à la carte menu, in the interest of tasting the greatest possible variety of dishes. To start, there’s a beetroot amuse-bouche – a little scroll filled with mustard cream and lovely sprouted mustard seeds that pop in the mouth, and another one with the lovely fresh flavour of celeriac.
For starters we try the assiette of suckling pig, which pairs well with morsels of salted apple and num num. We also order the roasted quail breast, which comes with a perfect jammy Scotch egg made with a quail egg.
For mains, the pan-seared springbok is beautiful, while the Peking duck breast has some great complex flavours from salted sour plums and walnuts. For main courses, the portions are rather small. While I do prefer leaving a restaurant wanting more rather than being overstuffed, those with hearty South African appetites may wish that they had a little more to line their bellies with.
For dessert, the dark chocolate soufflé is impressive, served with a gorgeously creamy quenelle of milk chocolate ice cream. My favourite pud, though, is the roasted pineapple. It goes beautifully with the tiny coriander sprouts, tangy kefir snow and torn crumbs of dense coconut cake.
All the dishes are fairly complex, with several elements, gels and shards. I’d like to see them simplified a little – distilled into their tastiest quadrants – but this is day one, and there’s plenty of time for evolution.
Sommelier Nash Kanyangarara is a great new addition to the team. His one-page wine list will expand with time, but already has some wonderful interesting bottles to try, with a by-the-glass option for each varietal. There are also two cocktails.
Perched on the lower slopes of Lion’s Head, the Roundhouse building looks out over Camps Bay’s leafy glen to the ocean and Twelve Apostles mountains. At sunset, golden light streams through the trees, the mountains turn purple and the sea glows. The space overlooking the incredible view has been kept beautifully classic – featuring white tablecloths and Persian rugs – but the entrance room and back lounge have been given an electric shock with some more modern graffiti by Louis de Villiers (AKA Skull Boy). It’s a fun entrance that paves the way for the team in the kitchen to do something slightly more pared down and modern in the future.
Despite it being day one, everything works like clockwork. The staff, led by former The Test Kitchen general manager Markus Fiedler, are warm, well-informed, and evidently excited to be there. It’s infectious.
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We were warmly welcomed into the restaurant and given a brief history of the building and a tour of restaurant. We decided to skip the selfie booth as this is not really our thing but for many I'm sure it would be.
We had the 6 course tasting menu with wine paring.
The starter of Octopus and Oysters was outstanding. The Octopus had been done with the sous vide method and was the most tender Octopus I have eaten. It literally melted in your mouth. The oyster was nestled in a beautiful sea of herbs and was fresh tasting.
The spiced tuna was seared to perfection and came with a beautiful chickpea lace biscuit and subtlety smoked tomatoes. The addition of pearls and fresh vegetables gave a burst of flavour when you bit into them.
The third course was Ethically caught linefish with peas and beans and yeast brown butter. The fish was laid on a bed of perfectly cooked vegetables with a mussel veloute sauce and one soft moist mussel on top. The fish had a crispy skin and the rich butter sang through the dish. It is probably one of the best fish dishes I have had at any restaurant. For me it was the highlight of the meal.
The fourth course was a Peking Duck breast with salted sour plum and walnut salsa. The duck was cooked two ways, one as a perfectly crisp spring roll and other was a perfectly cooked breast on a bed of walnut salsa. The plate was decorated with plums which gave a good tang to the dish.
The pre-dessert course was Strawberry scone with blueberry jam and champagne jelly. This was a deconstructed scones with strawberry and jam which had delicate flavours and a light crisp meringue on top. The dish was well balanced with sweet and sour and an unusual take on scones and jam.
The final dish was roasted pineapple and coconut cake with goats ice-cream. It was tangy and sweet with a good balance of flavours. As I don't eat coconut they substituted my dish with their cheese platter. The platter came with dense home made seed bread and rich and creamy blue cheese with figs and a orange gel.
The setting of the restaurant is beautiful looking out to the sea and camps bay and the Twelve Apostles mountains. This gave the restaurant a great ambience. The service was very attentive and as we are very serious about our food we wanted to know how each dish was prepared. The staff would go and ask the chef if they need be to ensure we got the correct information.
I would highly recommend the restaurant and I'm sure as they will be around for longer they will get improve on a perfectly good meal.