Shio has been causing a buzz since it opened earlier this year, so I was thrilled when I finally got my ducks in a row to visit them for dinner. This modern Japanese restaurant is the latest venture by Chef Cheyne Morrisby, who you might already know from his Hout Bay restaurants Cheyne’s and Lucky Bao. They are are all about shared plates and tapas-style dining, serving up a mouthwatering selection of fusion foods.
Shio is set in De Waterkant, an area that has developed an exquisite little village feel with quaint multi-coloured houses all lined up. The restaurant itself is in The Grey Boutique Hotel, in an older building with wooden floors, a porch at the front and two large rooms leading out of the hallway inside.
I loved the space the minute I stepped in. It has a urban chic, stripped-down simplicity to it, with only two murals drawing your attention. On one wall hangs the red florescent sign, “Drink Sake Stay Soba” that you might have seen all over Cape Town Instagram feeds, and the opposite wall is covered in a floor-to-ceiling mural of a Japanese woman. These are particularly striking against the otherwise minimalist features of the room.
They have limited space and fill up quickly so booking is essential. There are a few tables outside on the porch and the two rooms inside have tables lining one wall, with a bar on the other side.
While the space is small and can get packed, I found it vibey instead of cramped or crowded. The acoustics in the restaurant are also pretty decent so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the noise.
The food at Shio is really exciting. The dishes are packed with flavours that are both familiar and comforting (if you enjoy Asian food in general) but also combined in ways that are unexpected and interesting.
This also means that you probably won’t be familiar most of the dishes on the menu – unless you’re a seasoned traveller. I had one look at all the options in front of me and realised I was completely out of my depth. Luckily our waiter was well versed in all the dishes and we could leave our dinner over to him.
Then the first dish that arrived and it looked like plain baby spinach in a bowl – I couldn’t imagine it being anything but boring. So I was stunned when I took a bite and it was packed with sweet, salty, umami flavours – light salt, crumbles and rich oils that dressed this seemingly simple dish into something spectacular. Well played sir.
My favourite from the night was probably the black rice risotto, showing off a fresh palette with lemongrass at the forefront. But then everything was good. Try their pork chops, steak with mushrooms and fries, or the crispy squid. And for dessert you need to taste the pear tarte tartin with black sesame ice cream.
The menu has been divided into various sections like Earth (showcasing vegetables) or Sea (seafood). I recommend you order across the sections to really get a feel for the variety of flavours.
They have a small but decent wine list, a selection of really cool cocktails and of course sake.
I was really impressed with our waiter. He was efficient, friendly, and he clearly had a solid knowledge of the dishes on offer. We would have been lost without him.
I thought the prices were pretty good. We ordered six dishes, a dessert, two rounds of sake and we paid corkage, and our bill ran around R900. You can budget for about R250 pp.
Shio is open for lunch Wednesday – Saturday 12:00 – 15:00, and for dinner Monday – Saturday 18:00 – 22:00.
They are located at 49 Napier Street, Green Point, Cape Town. For more info, visit their Facebook Page.
Have you been to Shio before? What did you think? Pop your comments down below, I would love to hear from you.