If you’re still working on your culinary pan-African adventure, this is a highly recommended fine-dining restaurant at which to start. Epicure by Chef Coco cleverly combines the contemporary and the traditional from all over the continent to give us a feast from north, south, east, west and central Africa. All you have to do is pick the flavours you’d like to explore. Epicure is open for breakfast, lunch and supper and the menu is divided into breakfast, share-share plates, mains and desserts. Regardless of what mealtime it is, make sure you sample a bit of everything.
Familiar favourites from the south include umphokoqo with amasi, vetkoek fritters stuffed with savoury mince and chakalaka relish, ostrich fillet with butternut mash and venison loin with biltong butter and sweet potato. From the north, the lamb and chickpea tagine is superbly tender and full of rich flavours, served with couscous and microgreens. The Moroccan duck samoosas with dried fruit chutney are tiny triangles of crispy delight. And the Egyptian dukkah-spiced rib-eye beef steak, served with bulgar wheat and roasted aubergine baba ganoush, is aromatic and not to be missed.
For West African fare, it’s a very welcome surprise to find goat meat prepared in pepe-spiced broth and served with plantain mash. Also not to be missed is the Senegalese-inspired tuna loin with okra, tamarind sauce and aromatic rice. To the east, Epicure offers a spicy Ethiopian chicken or cabbage stew with injera pancakes and, from central Africa, Congolese guinea fowl with palm nut sauce and cassava leaves.
Finish off your meal with some couscous pudding with tea ice cream, caramelised plantain or sweet fritters with peanut-butter ice cream. It’s almost impossible to order incorrectly here.
The wine list, which is more like a wine encyclopedia, is close to 100 pages long. There’s an extensive mix of local and international wines to consider, with sommeliers and wine stewards available to assist if you feel overwhelmed or lost. Try not to collapse when a bottle for R55 000 catches your eye.
Attentive and efficient, but not so well-versed in explaining what goes into each dish or how it’s prepared, beyond what’s listed on the menu.
A comfortable balance between sophisticated and relaxed, thanks to the décor and furnishings. The floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows lift the space with natural light, setting off the warm navy blues and pumpkin orange fabric of the seating, plus striking standout details such as woven chandeliers and chairs. Adjacent to the beautiful restaurant space is an elegant and contained bar, divided from the restaurant by a walk-in glass cellar. There’s outdoor seating overlooking a well-manicured lawn, too, for warmer days.
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