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.
The Pot Luck Club has a lot going for it. Its membership to the Luke Dale-Roberts stable and its proximity to The Test Kitchen pretty much guarantees perennial popularity. Its location – on the top floor of the former silo at the Woodstock Biscuit Mill – displays the urban landscape to its best advantage, fringed by the train tracks on one side and the iconic mountain on the other. Add to the mix a menu of great cocktails and tapas, and it would probably be a winner without even trying.
The Pot Luck Club, however, is not one to rest on its laurels. At this eatery, easy does not do it. It might feel bright and edgy and modern and effortless inside, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
A menu of seemingly simple tapas belies the complexity and techniques layered in each dish. Unique ingredients, flavours and methods are borrowed from Asia, South America, South Africa and flipped on their heads. Street food turns fine dining, but it's accessible, sensational, thrilling food.
The menu – divided into sour, bitter, salty, umami and sweet – is very understated, a few words barely hinting at the magical dish to come. It doesn’t shout about its incredible produce, or the time-consuming and pain-staking methods involved in preparation. The waiter will tell you more if you look interested; the provenance of this, the type of wood used to smoke that. South African ingredients come to play too, offering some smokiness and depth here, and earthy nostalgia there.
Ciabatta made from masa (corn flour treated with limewater and dried, also used to make tortillas), is served with chimmichurri, braaied cauliflower dip and anchovy-and-kelp butter. It looks rustic, and is, but the execution of every element is flawless, from the crusty hot bread, aromatic with corn, to the zingy, smoky and salty accompaniments. You could eat just this and walk away happy.
The now-famous fish tacos live up to the hype. And how clever: the portion now comes in two bite-size tacos to make devouring – or sharing, if you really, really care about your companion – all the easier. A dish for the perhaps less adventurous is the amasi-battered fish sliders served on soft and light steamed buns. A crunch of lettuce and blob of mayo inside make for an irresistibly simple and tasty burger bite.
Then there’s the springbok carpaccio with smoked pine nuts, burned honey-soy dressing, and impasto-style layer of creamy goat’s cheese. The ceviche with jalapeño tiger’s milk, quinoa, and a tuile of samp and masa. Duck with naartjie segments, yuzu dressing, fine strips of sweet potato, and delicate yellow viola flowers. The steak tartare, polka dotted with avo purée on a slick black plate. The sensational smoked beef fillet with black pepper and truffle café au lait sauce that you will scrape up with your fingers until the bowl is clean.
A fascinatingly complex dish – and a treat for vegetarians – is the ash-baked celeriac with tahini, lentils, mint, goat’s cheese, hazelnut oil and roasted hazelnuts and 25-year-old balsamic vinegar. The plating is an exquisite mess, with artful dots, drizzles and smears in the best way possible. A must for the daring of palate.
Amidst all this seriously fine food, things can be childlike and fun, too. Chickpea fries are served in a charming cardboard box à la takeaways. But don’t expect a potato flavour: the interior is very soft and creamy, with a crispy, textured shell that’s ever-so-slightly bitter to complement the smoky tomato ketchup and aioli accompaniments.
To end off this flavour and texture adventure, you might want to go for the comforting strawberry-and-champagne-poached rhubarb with toasted oats ice cream and vanilla ricotta, rusk crumbs and shortbread, or the more airy and refreshing ‘poached egg’ of granadilla curd ‘yolk’ nestled in a soft and glossy Italian meringue ‘white’, on lime and elderflower set cream with little cubes of white-wine-and-strawberry jelly, resembling tomato salsa. Tonka-bean churros with malted chocolate sauce and malted chocolate fondant soufflé with halva ice cream round out the smart sweet offerings.
If you feel unable to deviate from your favourite pineapple-vanilla cosmo – could any cocktail ever taste better? – you might be persuaded to try a sip of the green Thai curry cocktail. The chilli-ginger warmth will spread through your mouth, nose, head and entire body, tempered by the cooling litchi and coconut water – and who knows what else. These are drinks you won’t want to put down: the glass remains against your lips until the liquid is gone. The generous wine menu boasts a well-considered selection per varietal, with some special bottles, affordable house wines and plenty by the glass.
Emerging from the glass elevator, dizzied by the height and drama of it all, you’ll receive a warm welcome at the front desk before being shown to your table. Guests place their orders on a little paper sheet and the kitchen sends dishes in the order they’d recommend so as to avoid clashes or delicate flavours coming after bold hits of chilli and smoke. These guys are pros.
Cutlery is discreetly replaced after each of the many dishes, water topped up and tables wiped down of any errant crumbs. It’s very casual and young, but still razor sharp. If you’re interested in hearing more about any of the elements, the waiters have impressively in-depth knowledge about how the dishes are prepared and cooked.
The Pot Luck Club is almost better during the daytime, showing the 360°C views off to their best advantage. You’re teetering at the top of a burnished golden tower. Nothing has really changed décor-wise in the last few years, but it’s unfussy, uncluttered and ultra modern, so it doesn’t need to.
Being able to see the bright young chefs manoeuvre expertly around the kitchen adds an extra frisson to the experience, with head chef Wesley Randles running a tight ship.
This is crowd-pleasing food and boy, are these crowds pleased. Sticking to what works for them, The Pot Luck Club’s tapas-style menu is still divided into sections (sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami), and abounds with extravagant flavour and edgy dishes devised by Luke Dale-Roberts and executed by head chef Wesley Randles. The fish tacos have become something of a legend, and for good reason. A serving of mussels steamed in bourbon and served in a chowder-esque broth with wood-fired corn is fantastic – the sweetest, plumpest bivalves you ever did see. And then there is the dish that can do no wrong: smoked beef fillet with truffled café au lait sauce – a decadent delight of pinkly smoked meat and rich, smooth truffle sauce. Desserts are not neglected; the pecan nut pie with celeriac ice cream is a knockout. No matter how often you go (that is, if you can manage to get a table), there’s always more to discover at this restaurant.
Expect an excellent wine list with unusual varietals and plenty of choice. Recommended wine pairings work like a charm with the Asian flavours of the food. And don’t forget about the cocktails – there are some very innovative choices on offer.
Attentive and well-trained staff members are clearly pleased to be working here, and are eager to ensure diners’ satisfaction.
Edgy and very stylish, sporting fantastic views over Cape Town and the harbour, this is undoubtedly one of the best settings in the country, with an energetic energy to match. It feels like going to New York for the night – well, maybe Brooklyn, which is perhaps the bigger compliment.
What a stunning place - lovely atmosphere, so much passion, attention to detail and care. Service is efficient, professional and mindful. The layout of the place is wonderful to see and experience. The food...interesting and very well presented. Personally I really would like more healthy options. A lot of the food is deep fried, extremely rich. I can do rich but limited - not all the dishes. No salad - one really needs green stuff to eat with every meal. At least I do (really). Wine list excellent. The better options - sorbet and jellies - wow this was the best part! All in all an amazing experience. One has to acknowledge and appreciate the effort to attention and quality.
I've been to the Pot Luck Club three time and really like the place. The vibe, staff and concept are spot-on. The food, well... not so much. While I'm a fan of Luke Dale Roberts and the Test Kitchen, the food at the Pot Luck Club remains very hit and miss. The truth is whenever Dale Roberts veers too far out into his Asian-inspired flourishes, he simply misses the mark.... and not by a little. I twice tried his Korean fried chicken (I thought it fair to give it a second try) and found it one of the worst I've ever tasted. None of the snap-crispiness associated with better versions. The pulled short ribs with Korean doenjeong was far too viscous and one-note for me (It could have used a note of citrus or makoli to lift it), and his kimchi was simply chili sauce on lettuce. Same with his calamari, which was totally overwhelmed by a mussaman-style curry sauce. Love the elfin salad, the pork belly, the mushrooms on toast, gin and campari sorbet with compressed apples, the desserts. But I'm truly hoping Dale Roberts will rethink the direction he is taking with the Asian inspired dishes. They are at least three to four steps below what they should be. Bottom line... unless you have some clear reference point to the cuisines you're meant to referencing, it's best to avoid. Or get a plane ticket and learn how others are doing it right. Otherwise you're going to continue to mess up and leave diners feeling half-in and half-out.
Managed to get a last minute booking for dinner on Wednesday evening. They say often great dining is about more than just the food. The service, atmosphere, the overall experience. We eat with our eyes! And how true that is. Your Pot Luck experience starts with the elevator trip to the 6th floor, a glass encased Bond like elevator. The very first thing we noticed on walking into room was the warm welcome from every member of staff. Then the beauty of the room, the position, the view, the decor. Everything works, it compliments, it speaks of harmony. And this is all before we have even tasted a thing! We had the mussels, calamari, beef and pork belly.
We were served by one of the most professional waitresses that we have ever met. She was a pro, not some student earning a buck so she can go party later. But somebody who took pleasure out of serving. The wine list was short but clearly well thought out. Prices were more than fair. We chose a bottle of Sacetuers Chenin at R150 per bottle. Overall a wonderful experience. A visual and sensory treat.
Great views and vibe. Felt like you are being forced through a factory. We were constantly reminded that we should leave at a certain time for a next group to use our table. Food is disappointing with very harsh flavours. The wine is rediculously expensive.
As wonderful as Luke Dale Robberts Test Kitchen is...so disappointed we were on the 14th June for lunch. I love adventurous menus but we found most of the dishes over salted, spiced and sour. The steak and mussels saved the day.
We had lunch at the 4th of June. We visited The Pot Luck Club for the first time. We came to eat and not to nourish our selves and ordered 7 different tapas sized plates and it was delicious. The varieties of unusual ingredients was hard work for our taste senses, but it's worth it. We had wine by the glasses, some of the reds were a bit too warm. Unfortunately that happens at 90% of the places we visit. Otherwise well done, we like the concept and will come again.
Amazing food and vibe at The Pot Luck Club! Service was excellent!
Just a tip for Luke, when you have people coming through your doors in abundance appreciate that and treat them with respect! Your glory will change no matter how good your food might be but if your service is not up to scratch people will not return! Just a heads up... Your service and staff is disgustingly rude.
The Pot Luck Club is a busy establishment and we were lucky to get a table within a week of booking. It is housed a top the Biscuit Mill in a renovated Silo. The restaurant is tasteful with amazing views of the city and harbour - ask for a window seat. It is open plan to the kitchen - prep station so you can watch the talents sous chefs and their Master, Luke Dale-Roberts at work. The food was outstanding, the most memorable being the tom yum prawns, the braised short ribs in dark beer, the fig and chorizo salad, the pork belly was incredible and the fillet with Truffle Cafe au Lait sauce was OUT OF THIS WORLD! Service was good, and the food comes at a good pace. Order 3 tapas dishes each and share! It's amazing.
We arrived, our phone booking had not been recorded (although amends were made sharp-shoot), and the guests next to us were "scolded" for being a bit late. Two sittings, message? Eat and get out (sorry - the Censor probably won't accept profanity - but you will get the picture) so we can get the next tranche of suckers in. Never in my life have I come across such a pretentious place. The menu was pretty well indecipherible (unless you were among those who were In The Know). A feeling of nausea overwhelmed us. We decided that, instead of subjecting ourselves to this travesty, we would rather go somewhere else, where the food turned out to be excellent, and the total bill came to just over what the wine would have cost at The Pot Luck Club. Shared our feelings with the ponces at the door on the way out (not having ordered anything). They appeared not to understand the meaning of the word "pretentious".
Had heard that the Test Kitchen downstairs was pretty pretentious, and this was supposed to be kinda down-home by comparison. Well, we ain't going be going to the Test Kitchen any time soon. Or ever.
Pure 'wow'. A divine setting. Truly original food. Smack me on the ground cocktails. And perfect service. Luke and team - you truly rock.
Great new location, quality food, unfortunately very noisy.
Wow! What a dining out experience! We had such an incredible meal there on Saturday evening. Cannot wait to experience more of the menu. Loved it!
Finally got to try the 'new' Pot Luck Club - what a treat. We sat at the bar watching everything happen with precision in the kitchen - what fun! Our absolute favourite was the fish taco, followed by the pork belly. Want to go back to try the pig tails as I was not brave enough!
What a great space. Fabulous views of a lit up Table Mountain and the harbour. Lovely buzz and really good service. The food better than ever with really interesting dishes, the celery was a winner and the lamb was really mouth watering. You need to go with 4 people to enjoy as many courses as possible. Highly recommended for an evening with a difference.
Great night out. The views are amazing from the glass lift and from the restaurant. Sunset is lovely. The food was interesting and tasty, we were blown away by the smoked fillet with a truffle and black pepper sauce, and the fish tacos were fantastic.
Having had huge expectations on the relaunched Pot Luck Club - I can just say it is just as good as I hoped it would be. And the new Pot Luck is now in a fantastic venue on top of the silo in Biscuit Mill with a magic view. It is just as vibey as before, friendly, cool and great service. Cocktails better than ever. Food is same tapas style as always. Of all we had we found the sashimi, grilled fish on the bone and the all star porkbelly the most delicious. Thanks for being back!
ThePot Luck Club has totally sublime food but a few subtle touches wouldn’t go astray. I have eaten here now a couple of times and always had good service and even better food so was surprised that my last visit for my mother’s birthday fell a little flat.
When booking the table there were two things we specifically requested, not to have a table by the door – which we did end up having and secondly that it was my mother’s birthday. On booking they said that there would be some complimentary bubbles and dessert platter with a ‘happy birthday’ message, which we never got either. Perhaps I should have said something but the gesture was offered on booking and confirmation of our booking so assumed it would be organised.
We also had the later sitting and due to the table not being ready we were one of the last tables to leave and felt the pressure a little. Also, apparently due to the fact that there was a private function at Test Kitchen, we were not allowed to use the toilets that both restaurants share. This is totally ridiculous and don’t think it's appropriate to ask patrons of Pot Luck to head out into the freezing cold and try &and navigate the stairwells to locate a bathroom! I will of course be back as I do love the food and set-up and Luke checking-in our table was a really nice touch.
An absolutely exceptional dining experience. The service was relaxed yet very attentive and professional. The food was absolutely outstanding prepared with great respect for the ingredients. A very memorable meal! We tried 14 different items and every single one was outstanding. Cannot wait to go back!
We've been very big fans of Luke's menus for a couple of years now and didn't think it was possible to improve on any of our previous dining experiences with him but this was magnificent! I can't wait to get back. Beautiful delicious food matched with fantastic service.
What makes a great dinner? Fusion of good food, flavours, nice ambience, good service and excellent company accompanied with excellent wines. If you want a place to experience this you have to go to The Pot Luck Club.
Took my wife there for anniversary and absolutely loved it. Great service, wonderful food, great cocktails and a vibey atmosphere. Also got to try the new Yardstick wine for winemaker Adam Mason and Peter Templehoff. All in all a treat!