Kloof Street is always a vibrant and often busy street in summer and even with the second wave of COVID-19 that has taken hold, you’ll still notice some semblance of activity. A new restaurant called Ëlgr has recently opened in the space that previously housed Janse & Co. Ëlgr is headed up by Swedish-born chef Jesper Nillson. Ëlgr means “moose” in Norse and is an iconic animal and symbol in Swedish culture.
Guests can expect a modern, casual and multi-cultural dining experience with a menu that draws inspiration from Jesper’s Nordic roots.
“I take inspiration from my Nordic background and combine it with my culinary experience from South Africa. I take pride in craftsmanship and strive to create dishes that are authentic, trying to understand not only the flavours but also the cultural background of each component in the dish,” he says.
Jesper is no stranger to the South African restaurant industry, having worked at notable establishments such as Grande Provence, Tokara Restaurant and The Kitchen at Maison. He has also spent time abroad in both New Zealand and his native Sweden.
The concept for his latest venture centres around easy-eating, small-plates fare. You might be enticed to try the raw beef with nasturtium, mustard aioli, rocket and capers, Mediterranean-inspired burrata with baby tomatoes, oregano and almonds, or the popular charcuterie board with meats from the in-house curing room – created in collaboration with Richard Bosman.
“I just love shared-plates dining,” says Jesper. “It’s informal and makes people feel connected, and when there are exciting things on the menu, you get to taste more and really experience the variety. We designed the menu to make people feel at ease – and also to complement our expertly crafted wine list by our sommelier Mario Salvato and, of course, the artisan-style cocktails we created with local experts SIP Exclusive.”
Sommelier Mario Salvato joined the Ëlgr team after spending a decade working on cruise ships. His wine list is concise yet varied enough to showcase some of South Africa’s hidden gems and local favourites.
The restaurant space offers a variety of dining hubs to suit your mood. There’s a straight-off-the-street, sun-filled spot with leather banquettes or a moodier section in the heart of the restaurant with beautifully dressed tables. Alternatively, you could find yourself in the airy, light, plant-filled courtyard.
Please note: The restaurant is temporarily closed and will reopen on Wednesday the 20th. Trading hours are subject to change according to curfew limitations.