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Venues

Tjing Tjing Momiji

Tjing Tjing Momiji
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Cost
R795 Set Menu (A deposit of R250 is required when booking)
Ambience
Special occasions
Food
Fine-dining food, Japanese
Payment
Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R80

Critic's review

Katharine Pope

Food
“This is going to be good,” I think as I swallow my very first mouthful. It’s a beautifully crumbly biscuit ice-cream sandwich that oozes with a sweet, spicy and umami-rich ice cream. According the info card, which our waiter thankfully leaves behind, it’s soy and wasabi ice cream – which might sound eccentric, but is perfectly balanced. It might be my new favourite flavour. Then there’s a single cube of homemade tofu with buchu pickled ginger. If you’ve only ever suffered bland, flabby tofu, this cube is a revelation. It’s creamy and anything but tasteless; almost smoky with buchu and the tang of pickled ginger. Then there’s a tempura quail egg – wonderfully creamy beneath the crunchy batter – with truffled mayo and trout roe for good measure. My dining companion is Linda Scarborough, editor of Eat Out, and she’s making that wide-eyed drowning look she does when something is too delicious and she can’t get the words out. And we haven’t even started the menu yet.

We proceed to the sashimi course, where there’s kob cured in yuzu – a little like ceviche – in lime-green wild garlic oil. The highlight is the hay-seared tuna, which has been smoked in the wood-fired oven on the rooftop until the texture has firmed. The flavour of the yellowfin tuna melds with the smoke to make something really special.

Then there’s a clear duck-and-daikon broth – with wonderfully tasty slivers of tender duck – a bread service, and then a little palate cleanser that makes us wish the lighting was better for photographs. It’s a water cake – mizu shingen mochi – a little wobbly dome made with water and agar powder and doused in molasses-like syrup. Christina’s version is flavoured with fermented tomatoes and basil; it’s like an invisible, impossibly light Caprese salad.

Next is Waygu and tongue – the most expensive and cheapest cuts served simply, side by side. The tongue, basted in a Japanese barbecue sauce, is richer and forms a foil to the lean fillet, sprinkled with salt crystals. We’re at a loss to decide which of the two we prefer.

Dessert is perhaps the course that takes us furthest from our comfort zones. Asian desserts are notoriously tricky to sell in South Africa. After having to throw out good ingredients, many Japanese and Chinese restaurants simply don’t offer them. Pastry chef Adri Louw, another Japan-ophile, has done her bit to translate them with local ingredients and ideas. The kumquat mochi – a perfect soft ball of rice flour surrounding a ball of kumquat ice cream – may confound with its contrast of textures and flavours, but the kumquat flavour is clear and refreshing. Then there’s an absurdly creamy, zesty yuzu posset that’s likely to convert most, and the custom-made Kit Kat mimics the multitude of flavours available in Japan. The fusion of matcha, raspberry and white chocolate has me in rapture.

The meal ends with a magnificent fresh herb tea brewed in individual cast iron teapots and a little box of bon bons to take home.

Drinks
Kick things off with a cocktail in the moody Momiji lounge. The cocktails are all named for Japanese fairytales and are equally artfully constructed. We’re dying to return to try the drinks pairing, which includes wine, sake, beer and umeshu – a liqueur made from the ume fruit. There’s also a list of options available by the glass around the R50 mark – including the house wine, specially made by Swartland star David & Nadia Wines.

Ambience
Each dish is served on carefully considered crockery. There are traditional wooden boxes to open, tiny dipping bowls and even custom porcelain chopstick rests in the shape of little animals. It all adds to the feeling that we’ve travelled somewhere new and are on some kind of odyssey. The space itself has been transformed into a serene white cocoon with pale maple wooden furniture, white shoji wallpaper, and acoustic panelling on the ceiling decorated with pale grey bunnies. It’s a thoroughly calming space, making the act of eating over seven courses feel a little meditative. Also, glory of glories – the acoustics are great – despite the busy rooftop bar upstairs.

Service
The courses are well timed and spaced and, considering it’s only week two of operation, the staff seem well trained and quite knowledgeable about the complex and nuanced menu. There are small hiccups – a dire shortage of cocktail menus and a staff member rushing around looking for keys – but those are easily sorted.

(October 2018)

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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User reviews

  • Its not often that the vegetarian dish has the meat eaters wanting to have a taste. Especially not at a fine dining restaurant. This happened when we ate at Momiji! I was sceptical going in, half expecting the vegetarians to be completely left out of the experience, but I really feel like I got an equal and comparable experience, as well as my money's worth. Well done Momiji! And I was told that they cater for all dietary restrictions. Great service from knowledgeable staff, and I am amazed at the tranquil ambience they have created. A hidden gem, just around the corner from the chaos of Long street, the pairing was an amazing culinary experience!
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  • MOMIJI- Tjing Tjing Last night, we braved the cold and rain, and opted for a luxury dining experience at Momiji. My partner has spent a lengthy time in Japan so intially going into the experience he was naturally sceptical, but WOW were we blown away. We opted for the current winter special , Kaiseki menu , 9 courses with drink pairing (with some additional surprises). Each dish is perfectly designed and you can see the attention to detail. The ingredients are perfectly paired with delicious drinks such as local Hemel and aarde valley Pinot Noir, a local CBC Weiss , traditional sake, and a Portguese crisp wine Some of the stand out dishes included Wagyu beef, pickled onion, fig preserve and crispy sage , the sashimi selection of oyster, tuna and trout (additional ponzu dressing ) as well as the fruit platter, a Bento box of sweet treats including a sake soaked pear, mochi apple ice cream and matcha Madeleines. The setting is tranquil( music is soft, the layout is perfect in terms of proximity to other patrons , and they have a great scent used within the space) ,the dishes included local and seasonal selections, and the staff are really knowledgeable about each course. The special is exceptional value for money if you're wanting to try something different and taste something spectacular. Only critique, is that the lights were extremely bright, and think that if there was softer lighting, it would contribute to a more comforting , relaxed feeling/setting. Momiji is one for the books. 🍣 Tjing Tjing
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  • This is an absolute find in Cape Town! Intimate, gorgeous setting with no costs spared in the smallest of details, making this a superb Japanese experience. Beautiful dining ware and presentation. The food is creative yet simple and produce true to itself. The kaiseki menu has a certain flow / balance which leaves you feeling very satisfied and not overindulged as many multiple course dinners might. The pairing option is a absolute treat and well executed. We loved the sunken lounge for a drink before dinner, and the music is something special. This is a very memorable experience and a definite must do in Cape Town!
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  • This is truly one of the top fine dining restaurants in Cape Town. The entire concept is unique with stylish Japanese inspired décor. The multiple dishes are beautifully presented, innovative and above all delicious! Service was excellent and I'll definitely recommend the drinks pairing - great value and compliments an already amazing experience.
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  • This is perfection! Elegant modern Japanese Zen filters into everything from the decor to the food. The wine, beer and sake pairing is an excellent option, delightfully presented by the sommelier and enhances every dish.Every sense is gently stimulated.Not a punch in the face but a loving caress.100% mark is reached due the faultless service. The staff is elegant and intelligent . A true compliment to the whole experience.
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  • We had a beautiful evening dining at Momiji. I loved the carefully thought through detail that enhanced every aspect of our experience, from the small dipping bowls, wooden boxes and other crockery to the beautifully decorated space and ambiance. The food was extremely tasty and well presented and the courses were perfectly spaced. I have to especially compliment the pastry chef on her interesting and tasty Japanese desserts. I walked away totally satisfied with new favourite foreign and local flavours lingering in my mind. I will definitely be back for more!
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  • A few months ago we had the pleasure of dining at Tjing Tjing Momiji. We chose to do the drinks pairing which was R395 on top of the R795 Kaiseki menu. Perfection from start to finish. The décor, atmosphere, sounds, smells and even temperature of this space brought an essence of pure tranquillity to the dining experience. Seating only 16 people, each table has their own pocket of privacy in the restaurant. The service has the perfect balance of attentiveness and subtlety. Each dish showed immaculate attention to the flavours and techniques involved. Being that it is Japanese inspired, the dishes often surprise you and push the limits with combinations such as soy sauce and wasabi ice cream sandwiches or the fermented plum tomato water cake palate cleanser. The Yakiniku-glazed Wagyu tongue with apricot pickle still plays over and over in my mind. Modern Japanese culture is a massive influence here, inspiring dishes such as the white chocolate “Kit-Kat” filled with matcha rice crispies, yuzu curd and strawberry gel. Without a doubt, every ounce of this evening was full of passion and a love for the culture and cuisine.
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  • Everything is a labour of love and careful attention to detail, from the chopstick holders to home made kit kat wrappers and that attention shines in the food: meticulously prepared, beautiful plates. I would definitely eat here again. Waygu tongue was a personal highlight for me as well as a delicious range of Sake. Service was excellent, relaxed but attentive. The space itself is beautiful, minimal decor and so intimate, it’s hard to believe there is a bustling street food style restaurant downstairs ( Tjing Tjing Torii- also would highly recommend) and one of Cape Town’s best cocktail bars upstairs! A true Capetonian gem.
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  • Had the privilege to have the kaiseki -(Kaiseki (懐石) or kaiseki-ryōri (懐石料理) is a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner.) experience with my family a while ago. Will go down as one of the greatest food experiences I have ever had. Never have I tastes such wonderful flavours and the paring of the different beverages was perfect. The ambiance and the service was 5*. Can recommend to anybody.-My favourite was the hay smoked tuna and the wagyu tongue.
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  • I'm always such a critic on an all sensory restaurant experience but Momiji just blew my mind. The food was so thoughtfully curated and prepared and the flavours were completely captivating. Our table opted for the pairing, so for a wine novice like myself, I found it quite insightful and REALLY enjoyed all of their recommended options (and added them to my Vivino app of course). As a conscious foodie - I love their approach to Kaiseki “respect for the patron, ingredients and the season”. The service was exceptional, the staff (Lerato was amazing) had a good understanding of all of the Japanese dishes, which was impressive. Oh and ask for their music playlist on your way out… that just stitched it all together for me. A really memorable night out, a must do in Cape Town. (I couldn't resist 'one for the road' at the bar upstairs, best cocktails in town)
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  • Honestly one the the best experiences I have had at a restaurant. The food was exceptional and the staff was just as good. I would recommend this to anyone looking for a the perfect fine dining experience.
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  • There's no other dining experience in Cape Town that compares with Tjing Tjing Momiji. You really get the sense that a lot of thought and effort has gone into the every aspect of it. The menu is well thought out and the execution thereof is incredible with every single element of the Kaiseki evident of meticulous attention to detail. Personal favorites include the amuse bouches, bread board (especially the mussels), Wagyu tongue and home made 'kit-kat' finger. I would also recommend opting for the drinks pairing which includes amazing wines, craft beer, sake and Umeshu (plum wine). Combine the amazing food with the simple, comfortable decor and a serene ambience and you have an unforgettable experience. And to top it all off: a take-away box of mini desserts to enjoy at home!
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  • Something interesting and new for the Cape Town food scene without having to rely on gimmicks? You betcha! What a fantastic experience to sit down to a Kaiseki menu where care is taken to showcase seasonality and simple but delicious food. You get plenty of food - 12 courses - but the beauty of it is the extremely well-judged portions and as you'd expect with Japanese food, it isn't overly rich. So you can actually get up from the table and walk out, instead of rolling out on your stomach. The first visit was so good, we promptly booked another and actually struggled to get a table. They are only open 3 nights a week and the restaurant is limited to 16 people, so best you book well in advance. It is absolutely worth it.
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  • The brand new décor at Tjing Tjing is such an experience! Each level has an entirely different look and feel. And entering Momiji was like entering a spa. The quiet atmosphere, soft music and welcoming staff were amazing. Each table is separated by a divider, and the sound dampeners work very effectively, to produce the effect that you have the whole retaurant to yourself. The very attentive staff also help to create this feeling. The 12 course meal is served in small portions, over the entire evening, with a few starters, mains, palate cleansers, and deserts. There were a number of items that I have never tasted before, one of them being the Wagyu tongue, which was tender and tasty. My favourite was the hay smoked tuna and the special sauce that went with it. The signature Kit-Kat with the restaurant logo imprinted in it was a surprise, and the little take-home box of deserts was appreciated, as by then I had had my fill!
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  • Entering the Momiji lounge was like entering into another world. The decor, the music, the whole atmosphere promised an experience that would be from another world. And it was! The Kaiseki menu was an exceptional experience in variety and taste. The different courses were beautifully and skillfully arranged and presented. I enjoyed every dish and found the pairing of wine, one craft beer and sake to go really well with the food. I was surprised at how well the sake complimented the food. For me the tongue was the favorite , something I never particularly liked. I was surprised by the way the chefs gave personal attention to each table during the evening to explain what the have created and to answer questions . They are clearly passionate about their food and highly skilled in what they do. I must say that explaining the different dishes with little cards adds to the experience and give it a bigger sense of adventure. What a great experience!
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  • The ambience created by the traditional low seating in Momiji Lounge set the scene for a memorable evening. On entering Momiji Restaurant, you are met by stylish but unpretensious decor. The staff immediately makes you feel like you are a special guest. The service of our waitress (Lerato) throughout the dinner was exemplary. Her explanation of each dish was fluent and spot-on. The "explanation cards" handed out with every dish, as well as a vist to every table by the head chefs added to understanding a true Kaiseki experience. It is however the food that is the star at Momiji. They have perfected the art of balancing the taste, texture, appearance, and colours of food. Dishes are beautifully arranged and garnished. Not only are they wonderful to look at, they are truly delicious. My personal favourite was the Wagyu and tongue. In true Kaiseki tradition this dish proves that cheaper cuts of meat can be just as delicious as expensive ones. The mussels accompanying the "Hassun" (Bread board) is the best I have ever had. Every dish was uniquely fantastic! The deserts clearly speak of a pastry chef that has a passion and knowledge of cooking. They are beautiful to look at and even more delicious to eat. The drinks/wine pairing is well thought out and added to a special evening. Thank you Momiji chefs and staff for a fantastic experience.
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  • My husband and I are big fans of Tjing Tjing Torii so we were excited to try the new addition, Momiji. We were blown away. Each element, from the décor and lighting, food and service, has been considered with such care and shows true dedication to creating an authentic Kaiseki experience. The end product is that you feel like you have been serenely transported to magical Japan. I adored each of the beautifully presented courses, but absolute stand-outs included the sashimi selection, duck broth with daikon, Wagyu tongue, and the mochi desserts. The drinks pairing took things to the next level and I enjoyed that it included a selection of drinks, including wine, beer and sake, that complemented the food perfectly. Service was excellent and I noticed that the chefs came to talk to each table – a special touch. I can’t rate this restaurant more highly – huge thanks to Chefs Christi and Adri (and their team) for a truly memorable dining experience.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Beer served
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • WiFi

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