You no longer have to drive down Beach Road in Sea Point to see enormous scaffolding enveloping what once was Winchester Mansions. The hotel, which was built as an apartment block nearly half a century ago, has a bold new look and, with it, a brand-new restaurant.
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The redesign of the hotel of the property was led by Mardré Meyer, Creative Director at SOURCE Interior Architecture, who said that in reimagining what the hotel could be, it was important for him to reference and respect its past while also creating a more contemporary experience that fits with the needs and desires of today’s global traveller. Many will be glad to see the iconic central courtyard has remained and has been enhanced with new tiling and the installation of a fountain. The vibrant magenta of the bougainvillea growing down the walls adds a major “Instagrammable” factor to the space.
“We’ve really worked hard to retain the heart and soul of the property, while giving this grand old lady a fresh new look,” says General Manager Michael Liffmann.
With a fresh look comes a new restaurant called Shoreditch House, which has been brought to life by well-known restaurateur Rory Jossel. Rory wanted to create a dining destination with a charm and character that dovetails with The Winchester Hotel, yet stands apart as a destination in its own right.
“Shoreditch House won’t only be a restaurant for hotel residents,” he says. “We want to be able to offer a food and drink experience that continues to attract the local Sea Point residents and diners from the greater Cape Town area to come and spend time at The Winchester Hotel.”
Heading up the kitchen is Chef Tim Pick, previously of Foxcroft and La Colombe in Constantia. The foundation of the experience is the open charcoal grill in the centre of the kitchen from which much of the menu is derived – where flame and smoke add a deep layer of flavour. The menu’s structure comes in the form of enticing sharable side plates and a handful of heartier mains. Think oysters with watermelon ponzu, crispy onion and Mexican salsa; chicken wings marinated with amasi togarashi spice; charred edamame beans with chilli and burnt lime; and, for the mains, dirty ribeye with chimichurri, charred linefish with fresh herbs and fennel butter, and vegetarian porcini mushroom risotto.
Guests can enjoy their meals in the restaurant itself, which has a cosy but sophisticated atmosphere where the curation of wood, greys and whites all create a soothing calm, on the terrace or in the famous courtyard. Visitors who just want to enjoy sundowners overlooking the ocean can head to Harvey’s Bar, which also has a décor, service and drinks menu update.
For those who enjoyed the popular jazz brunches for which the Winchester Mansions was renowned, you’ll be pleased to know that they will be back but with a refreshed and modern format. Be sure to get a table by making a booking.
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