Head chef Wesley Randles has a deft hand around the skillet and a gleaming reputation to back it up – patrons flock here to sample his modernist take on ‘progressive cuisine’. Dishes such as the crispy pig cheek on red endive with honey, smoked nuts and gorgonzola or the butter roasted lobster on pomme purée, asparagus and butter bean with walnut oil, a velouté of quail, lobster and tarragon will convert even the most sceptical of diners.
Equally sensational dishes include the provenance-celebrating smoked springbok loin with roasted pears and Barigoule artichokes served with polenta, parsley salad, café de Paris butter and finished off with a caramelised pear jus. The plating is sparse and intentionally pared down, evoking the same sense of confidence and cheeky ease that can be likened to chef James Lowe of Lyle’s in London’s cooking style.
To end off, one is spoilt for choice – four sweet options include classics such as a crème brûlée and tiramisu. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, the cheese trolley with a selection of the best local cheeses from small-scale producers awaits.
A well-considered wine list with options by the glass and per bottle. The barmen are highly skilled and consistently churn out the finest negronis in the city. While the wine list’s starting prices may be on the steeper side, they plateau quite quickly. Kick off with fresh oysters and some bubbly or a refreshing G&T from the oysters and drinks trolley.
Consummate service, with all the bells and whistles of silver service. The white-coated staff are like a swarming orchestra, never dropping a beat or breaking a sweat.
The Shortmarket Club is hidden behind a rather unassuming tiny. The narrow alley transports one from bustling streets straight into a palpable upmarket energy of the open-plan kitchen. The banquette seating and striking wall feature by artist Mark Rautenbach give this sensory space a low-key speakeasy vibe.
Special occasions where no budget limits have been imposed.
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Highly underwhelmed by the food and the service we experienced. We were made to feel that we should hurry our evening and I was not blown away by the food. The stater ravioli was delicious. The main meal of fish which was bream was average and for the price totally under rated. I felt like some cheese and was told I could not order a single portion. When I go out to eat and feel like something on the menu I would expect to be able to order what i feel like eating....I am paying for it after all. Would definitely not return.
Don't Be a Dick is the name of the establishment next to the entrance of The Shortmarket Club and that's almost how one feels when criticising anything attached to the brilliant Luke Dale-Roberts.
Having been to The Test Kitchen before, we arrived with high expectations, but left fairly disappointed. Visit was in Dec 2018
We were 4 people and decided on the tasting menu, but tried some oysters for starters. Fresh, succulent, lovely!
The various tasting menu servings differed drastically in portion size, which was disappointing. Very average tasting food, without much flavor or complexity.
Please remove the baked ricotta in fig leaf from any menu; it was very bitter.
The main dish, the lamb, was not properly trimmed with pieces of excess fat.
The waiter could not pour/sell water quickly enough without asking.
All in all, a 3-4/10 experience.
Beautiful evening, Mathew and the Oyster Trolley with Gin service reminded me of dinner at Sardi’s New York and Ciro’s in the 1960’s owned by Joe Kentridge in Johannesburg
On saturday May 12 we had looked forward to end our 2 week trip to South Africa with a delicious dinner at Shortmarket Club. We know from previous visits that the food and service is not only delicious but with attention to detail, and impeccable. Indeed it is what you expect from a restaurant, which required reservation months in advance as well as confirmation by credit card.
So much greater the disappointment when we realised the restaurant had accepted to host a large birthday party also in the main room. Noise level was in the end not at all what you would expect from the image Shortmarket Club wants to convey - or anywhere for that matter. And the service at our small table - only (!) 2 persons - got inattentive and stressed. The service and ambiance let the food down.
I dont know if this is a typical saturday evening in Cape Town - large, noisy groups even in the restaurants trying to focus on the food. But it was the case for us that saturday in Shortmarket Club.
In the end staff tried to compensate, but they were clearly not ready to ask the party to calm down. In our view they should never had accepted our reservation. Since we were only 2 persons conversation between us was in the end impossible.
I will not go back - too many other good places to even bother. And to you: stay away saturdays unless you are also a group.