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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.
Lisa van Aswegen
The menu centres around tapas bursting with flavour, and is divided into taste categories: sour, bitter, sweet, salty and umami with a sweet ending for desserts. It's best to go in a large group, to try as many dishes as possible, as the temptation is massive. With inspiration from all over the globe, there is an emphasis on Asian touches, with dishes such as moreish Korean fried cauliflower (chunky florets in a spicy, crunchy coating) and rich pig-head bo ssäm with chilli-pineapple kimchi on the side, and a creamy miso dressing. The mushrooms on toast are a hit of umami: a rich brioche, reduced mushroom sauce, truffle and fresh mushrooms pack a punch in a hefty portion for such a rich tapas dish.
Meat-lovers should order the Chalmar beef fillet with black-pepper-and-truffle cafe au lait sauce. One of the signature dishes, the melt-in-the mouth fillet, is perfectly paired with the rich, unctuous sauce. Another menu stalwart is fish tacos: fresh and zesty ceviche served with avocado, black-bean purée and sour cream. Dishes and combinations are intelligent, evolved and surprising, with depth of flavour and technique evident in every bite.
If you need respite or a jolt for the taste buds, the granadilla sorbet is a bitter and icy blast for the senses, served in hollowed-out granadilla shells on ice in a vast stone mortar overflowing with fresh granadilla tendrils. It's a sight to behold.
Sweets are a highlight: the s’mores are a decadent combo of roasted marshmallows, peanut-butter ice cream and biscuits with raw cacao nibs, making this a grown-up version of a campfire favourite.
No visit is complete without at least one of the original cocktails on offer. The Thai martini is a spicy hit of Bangkok in a glass, redolent with lemongrass and chilli; while the pomegranate caipirinha packs a zesty, fruity, alcoholic kick. The wine list has been carefully curated with a select range of big hitters and interesting garagiste options that will have wine fundis delighted. Expect craft beers and ciders, too.
Ebullient, personal and sometimes larger than life, the waiters here are fast, friendly and confident, with excellent knowledge of dishes. Note that there are two seatings for dinner.
There are few places with more spectacular views in the Mother City than the top floor of the Silo Building at The Old Biscuit Mill. Evenings see an almost 360-degree view of twinkling lights over the harbour and the city stretched out below. With the open kitchen, banquettes and minimalist modern décor, the focus is firmly on the stars in the sky outside and those working in the kitchen. For a real feel of the chefs in action, sit at the bar counter overlooking the kitchen.
For Sunday brunch, a host of favourite tapas and bottomless bubbles are served. Ideal for a special occasion.
Eat Out critics arrive unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.