Chefs opened in Cape Town late last year, introducing a novel canteen-style lunch experience. After being well received by Cape Town foodies, they are now open for dinner, too. In celebration of their new dinner menu, we joined fellow journos for a Chefs dinner.
The Chefs premise? Take out printed menus, too many options and indecision and replace it with a simple, limited offering that focuses on quality and flavour. The menu is a selection of only three meal options per day (you can visit the website to see what that day’s offering is), which includes a meat or fish, vegetarian or a lighter meal, served on bespoke Chefs trays.
Perfect for worker bees on the run who seek a well-balanced, delicious meal, but can’t afford the time of a long restaurant lunch, the Chefs structure is designed to take out the long and replace it with the delicious – and efficient. Arrive, choose your meal and beverage (displayed on iPads), pay, sit, enjoy, leave.
With each meal you are offered a choice of red wine, white wine, rosé or a beer on tap, and filtered still or sparkling water is included with all meals.
Head Chef Jenny Ward, who confesses to having been obsessed with cooking since childhood, is at the kitchen’s helm and is responsible for the always interesting daily selection.
Her true love and focus is cooking honest food using simple, traditional techniques. Raw ingredients, carefully sourced from a selection of suppliers, is what makes each meal as tasty and fresh as it is. As a result of her passion and considered choice of ingredients, the Chefs kitchen consistently produces curated, yet seemingly simple meals with intriguing flavour.
Expect balsamic wood roast fillet with exotic mushrooms and micro herbs, triple cooked chips and leafy salad with rocket, parmesan and raw almonds (R175); creamy fish tartare with parsley herb mayonnaise, capers, cornichons topped with soft egg and battered white boquerone, and a side salad of zucchini, fennel and cucumber (R165). For the veggies, one of the day’s offerings is a terrine of charred aubergine, tomato and baby leaf spinach with a salad of summer greens, lemon confit and shaved pecorino cheese (R150). Not to mention my favourite dessert on planet earth… Panna cotta – buttermilk panna cotta – with wood roast pineapple (R45).
The rosé is a Mourvedre; red wine a Sangiovese; white wine a Pinot Grigio from Rosso in Stellenbosch; and the beer a Devil’s Peak Lager (all R40).
Laid back and unfussy, Chefs also offers an open-faced kitchen to allow you to view and respect the workmanship that goes into your meal. The portion sizes are large, so if it seems a tad expensive, it really isn’t considering the amount of food that comes with each dish. There is no offering in Cape Town quite like Chefs, and although it’s not a romantic date night or special occasion kind of place, it is worth the experience with friends or colleagues. Or even alone, with a good book and a need for your own company.
Photography Bernard Myburgh Words Lisa Wallace