News just in that chef Luke Dale Roberts is about to embark on another culinary quest. This time, he’s delighting diners with a concept inspired by his experience of travelling and cooking around the globe. The celebrated UK-born chef has garnered international recognition over the past two decades for his innovative culinary creations. SALON is the latest addition to his restaurant group and will open in late April at the Silo building at Cape Town’s Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock (not to be confused with the Silo District at the V & A Waterfront).
Luke’s other restaurants include The Pot Luck Club and The Test Kitchen Fledgelings in Cape Town and The Shortmarket Club in Johannesburg which all won Eat Out stars at the 2022 Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards.
Luke says: “From the start, I wanted the feel of this new restaurant to draw on the concept of a traditional European salon. It’s created a space that is as much about the food and drinks as the people around you.”
The stylish space was conceived by interior designer Maurice Paliaga, who contrasted contemporary elements with tones and textures that resonate with both the heritage of the building and the traditional salon concept.
The SALON menu marks something of a return to the heady days of Luke’s seminal restaurant, The Test Kitchen.
“The ‘Dark Room’ experience was, for me, the high point of The Test Kitchen at the time,” he says. “So I decided to emulate that here at SALON.”
The Journey menu takes guests to each country that Luke has worked in and showcases his evolution as a chef and his various influences along the way. Part of that journey, he says, has been building teams of talented people, and working alongside Dale Roberts in creating the menu was Carla Schulze, Head Development Chef for the LDR Group, who has been instrumental in creating the experience.
The nine-course Journey menu begins with a dish that was a crowd favourite in The Test Kitchen’s Dark Room: pork scratchings with Guinness foam. This is the only dish rebooted from the original Dark Room menu, with all other courses being brand-new creations. The inventive take on a classic Sunday roast celebrates the chef’s English roots, while Luke’s time in Asia is expressed in the fragrant “Singapore chilli”, Malaysian-style laksa and Korean beef “kalbi”. Then there’s his playful take on a shisanyama staple, and the menu ends off with a traditional South African dessert.
The Journey menu is priced at R1100 per person, with a condensed version of four courses – The Explorer – available at R550 per person. These menus are also available as a pairing menu with dishes matched to one of the small-batch wines, beers and sake.
SALON is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, and guests can reserve their “Journey” or “Explorer” timeslots between 6pm and 9pm. Bookings can be made online.