Ashley Moss is at the helm in the kitchen here after his stint at Greenhouse, where he and Pete Tempelhoff impressed the southern suburbs for many years. You can tell the shift to the city mood and mindset has inspired them, in this theatre where the interplay of Japanese and South African flavours, with the deft touch of skilled, experienced chefs, is expertly realised.
A series of bento boxes arrives first, inverting their origins as a convenient container for a humble home-made meal. A landscape of beautiful wooden frames, pebbles and trays presents artfully plated canapés such as Cape Malay-spiced guinea fowl lollipops, daikon wraps, enveloping spinach and warming sancho chilli, pinned by cherry-blossom-adorned forks that wouldn’t be amiss in a geisha’s hairdo. Kombu ‘spoons’ lend an incredible umami depth of flavour to just-cooked blue prawns with wakame and naartjie. Stark black buns filled with smooth smoked snoek are topped with delicate dried petals and sesame seeds for lightness. All the while, bone-marrow butter, rolled in caramelised onion ash, melts at the table, ready for dipping.
Next, a kaiseki tray features mini Wagyu-beef spring rolls served with pearly enoki mushrooms, finely chopped charred green beans and onion petals, with smoky truffley accents. The tender sea trout is a treat, with counterpoints in crunchy apple, crystalline dune spinach and tempura samphire. Sashimi slivers of game fish are draped over maki with ginger-and-avo mousse. Beautiful crockery resembles shells, rocks and wood, taking you to a shoreline.
Prepare for what is possibly the most memorable cheese sandwich of your life. It’s a masterstroke of frozen gorgonzola and white chocolate in warm, snappy brick pastry with a sticky port reduction.
Kaiseki-style dessert comes in three courses: strawberries, chamomile and little yoghurt flowers; blueberries with herbaceous buchu countered by soothing coconut; and bosveld cake with white coffee sauce, nut brittle and amarula.
Very polished and professional. Things move like clockwork. Waiters have excellent wine knowledge.
The wine list is an impressive 18 pages long, with plentiful options of anything you could possibly want in a glass of wine or Japanese whisky.
It’s like entering a theatre: moody, dramatic, breathtaking. The open kitchen is unlike any you’ve seen before, more down-lit performance art than hot, messy kitchen. While everything is calm, ordered and methodical – with the crew in neat, muted uniforms – the Japanese-inspired food is vibrant and confident. Windows let in the evening colours of blue, purple, silver and amber as the sun slips behind the mountain.
A spendy, luxurious night on the town.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
The FYN Cape Town.... the place ... in case you miss it you will regret for the rest of your life
... and it would be nothing without Jennifer.... just the best
All I can say that it is the best meal I have ever had. What an experience. Cant wait to go again.
Brett van Aswegen
Top class Japanese inspired tasting menu
This morning when I woke up I had no idea what I was having for dinner tonight, with my wife’s cooking I rarely do. When I got to the office though, I remembered that my daughter was sleeping at her school tonight, outside on cardboard boxes (seriously). Safe in the knowledge that she was set to learn valuable lessons about the less fortunate, I decided that without the burden of the third wheel, my wife and I could have a decent peaceful dinner.
Oh glory, what a pleasure walking in and instantly knowing you are in safe warm hands. I don’t have to tell you that the food and service is great, you just know you’re not at McDonald’s. The kitchen is completely open and we chose to sit at the kitchen counter to have an up close and personal view of the ‘wekes’. You can imagine my disappointment when instead of seeing slaves whipped and screaming and sweating into the food, I witnessed boring calm organization! You just can’t find good kitchen drama like you see on one of Gordon Ramsey’s shows.
The food is described as Japanese, but with a twist. There are some obvious SA flavors incorporated which provide some much needed love for our country (yay... go Proteas!)
And like paying tax, the bill arrives and you know that tomorrow is another day at the office where the big wheel turns, but at least you will have the blissful memory that your own sweat and screams are all for the purpose of a joyous night out on the town.
What a find ! an excellent addition to the city's culinary offerings, now Japanese with a South African twist. The Kaizeki selections are just superb with the best dish being the Squid Ramen, something I never tasted before. A beautiful restaurant that must be a stunning venue for lunch with excellent mountain views. Expensive, but must go back.
Unusual and very, very different - from the amazing building (industrial with flashes of luxury, entrance is amazing) to the extraordinary food its quite an experience.
Highly recommended, South Africa's finest chef talent in full-flight.
We will be returning.
From the moment we entered the lobby to the very last course, the FYN team didn’t miss a beat to make our experience truly memorable. As a vegan myself and with veganism being one of the fastest growing socially conscious movements in the world, I must just tip my hat to the chef for being ahead of the curve in the fine dining arena in South Africa, for curating a truly wonderful plant menu.
The ceiling piece, which is one of the most beautiful pieces of art I’ve seen, creates an amazing atmosphere almost mirroring both the delicate nature, and depth of flavor, of the food. The wine pairing was superb and the timing of everything was seamless.
A repeat visit is definitely on the card and I would absolutely recommend FYN as a fine dining experience not to be missed, especially to all those health conscious foodies out there.
Many restaurants’ interior decorators choose to have benches against walls, rather than chairs, probably to save money. Why they cannot simply google “standard chair and table height” before constructing these is beyond me. Fyn is not the first to get the ergonomics wrong - when you are seated at one of these benches, even if you are of average height, you will find that when sitting, the tabletop is above elbow height and this is going to get worse as the upholstery settle. One can see that a lot of thought and expense went into the interior of Fyn, but they got this wrong. Be sure to ask for a table with chairs (and with a view - some are hidden to the back looking into a parking garage).
If Fyn wants to distinguish itself from others in the tasting menu craze, it does so on two levels. It is pricy at almost R1000.00 per person and has an eastern slant. We had dinner and left feeling we have paid a premium for an experience which does not live up to Greenhouse standards. Don’t get me wrong, there is the Greenhouse theatrics, and the food is interesting, with me craving for more of some of the dishes. The canapés and kaseiki trays certainly showcased the skills and techniques of the chef, with the slighly seared tuna sashimi and the ramen noodles standing out. The two springbok “medallions” as main course were (since I started off talking dimensions) the size of two Oreos. Excellent, but gone in a second. Thus far I would have scored the food a 4, but then came the deserts - bland and not memorable at all. They could possibly take a leaf from other restaurants and offer this as an option. Fyn did fine in handling our one guests’ gluten and lactose fiemies.
The wine list has a good spread of wines, and will not break a broken budget more.
We found the service attentive and informed with some familiar faces from Greenhouse. Beware that they add a service fee to the bill without alerting guests - we paid twice but management corrected and apologised that when we discovered it.
Overall, not a wow! experience, expensive but maybe worth another try. I see they also do a watered down lunch tasting menu, with either/or options at half the price. If the portions are also half size, this will make you leave via Victoire bakery (downstairs - who supplies their bread). Victoire is not open at night.
To achieve this level of excellence after only a few days of being open says it all...the experience is pure class from beginning to end. The venue makes you proud to live in Cape Town, the food is different to to the usual tasting fare and is just brilliant, wonderful flavors that left me wanting more. The wine pairing is wonderful, small boutique outstanding wines and even a 2009 red to go with the Springbok. Congratulations to the entire team you really deserve every success, we had a wonderful vibey relaxed evening with superb food and wine...what more can you ask for. Can’t wait to return.