The look: New York opulence
The location: Shortmarket Street
The creatives: Interior and furniture design by Sandalene Dale-Roberts; artwork by Peter Eastman and Mark Rautenbach; stained glass doors by Anika van der Merwe
From the street, The Shortmarket Club is somewhat hidden; that is, until a brass manhole cover with the restaurant logo greets you at the door. The long corridor lined with metal screens leads guests up the staircase, which opens dramatically to the restaurant. The plush yet relaxed seating area, a bustling open kitchen and a beautiful bar welcome you before you move through to enter the main dining room. The dramatic space was designed by Luke Dale-Roberts’s wife, Sandalene Dale-Roberts, who is also responsible for the eclectic decor at The Pot Luck Club and The Test Kitchen.
Sandalene’s vision has created an uncompromisingly opulent feel for the new restaurant. From the vast banquettes that form the centrepiece of the dining area to vintage touches like military lamps above the pass and copper lamps hovering above the tables. “The space has the feeling of a club, and we’ve used leather and wood extensively,” she explains.
Artist Peter Eastman, who has also contributed to the décor elements at The Test Kitchen and The Pot Luck Club, has created wooden cut-out panels for the dining space, while the centrepiece of a wall of framed butterflies, conceptualised by artist Mark Rautenbach, whose work features strongly at The Test Kitchen, creates a striking visual focus. Laser cut from documents, photographs and architectural plans about The Test Kitchen and The Pot Luck Club, the butterflies are a nod to the success of those restaurants.
Striking black and deep aubergine colours form a fitting backdrop to the moody space, where two vast skylights allow natural light to pour in. Accents such as jewel-coloured stained glass made by local craftsmen are used in sliding doors from Argentina that separate the dining and bar areas. These have been kept as a nod to the feel of history and craftsmanship that the space evokes, while white table clothes and booths with scalloped leather add to the glamour.
The Shortmarket Club menu is slightly more conventional and bistro-inspired than that of The Pot Luck Club. Chef Wesley Randles presents classics that have been transformed and modernised with elegant touches. The breakfasts include the likes of Scotch eggs with truffle and shiitake brioche, while the signature dinner item is a show-stopping chicken dish. The sweet and smoky petit poussin arrives for a viewing on a smoking bed of prickly chestnuts, before being whisked back to the kitchen for plating.