The first of our nominees for the Boschendal Style Award, an annual prize bestowed on the most stylish restaurant in South Africa, has an owner who’s as creative with design as he is with food. And, as its name suggests, Cape Town’s constantly evolving Hemelhuijs is a heavenly house for the senses.
Owner and chef Jacques Erasmus opened Hemelhuijs in 2010 for the love of food and beauty. Centrally located along the Fan Walk in Cape Town, the elegant eatery turns breakfast, lunch and coffee into decadent escapes for city dwellers and office workers.
The indulgent bistro-style food is inspired by childhood favourites, world travels and seasonal ingredients. As with the decor, the menu evolves with each season, but perennial favourites include Szechuan pepper calamari and the open beef burger.
As an artist and designer, Jacques is particular about rejuvenating the décor with each season as well as the food. Past themes have included Delft revivals, vintage botanicals and floral art, and are often accompanied by an entirely new bespoke crockery and linen range developed by Jacques (also for sale to patrons). The look and feel of winter 2014 evokes a flavour apothecary with a burnt-orange-hued feature wall displaying gold-labelled bottles. Each one is filled with intense tastes that have been distilled in the kitchen. Extending the alchemy theme, the handcrafted tableware is embellished with liquid gold glaze.