I have been tempted to visit Janse & Co ever since they opened a year ago (how has it been that long?). When Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg was still at Maison in Franschhoek, he served this insane sourdough waffle dessert that remains one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. So when word hit that he was opening his own spot on Kloof Street in Cape Town, I couldn’t wait to see what he would conjure up. Sadly he moved into town just as we moved out to the winelands, and then life happened.
Then a few weeks ago I finally sat down in their chic-noir restaurant for a taste of their new spring menu. Janse & Co is described as casual fine dining, and the space very much reflects that. It’s certainly upmarket, with a moody, Japanese minimalist aesthetic.
A large mural of dramatic blooms is a centrepiece as you enter through the doors, the busy buzz of Kloof Street flowing through the open windows. To your left you can browse their wine selection or peek at their home-made charcuterie. Dip further into the dining room and you’ll come face to face with the Chef, cooking up a storm in the open-plan kitchen. Or pop outside into the closed courtyard, a perfect spot for a summertime dinner.
As we were taken through a few tasters of the new menu, it became clear that every element on the plate is made with passion; Not just by Chef Janse van Rensburg, but by every artisan producer who has sown, grown, cured and crafted the ingredients. The restaurant works to support local farming and small producers, sourcing only the best for their dishes.
Let’s get down to the eating though. We kicked things off with a home-made charcuterie plate and delicious freshly-baked breads. This was followed by a selection of beautifully balanced dishes showing packed with sophisitcated, delicate and punchy flavours. Take their Suckling Pig with Coconut, Cucumber and Lime, which delivered melt-in-your mouth meat combined with bright, zesty complements. Or their Beetroot, Orange, Miso, Peanut – a gorgeous ode to this humble vegetable.
My favourite dish, however, was dessert (big surprise) – cheesecake with variations of pineapple and a macaron. It was summer on a plate, with all the bright, light and indulgent flavours of a tropical holiday.
They offer lunch and dinner, where you can pick from a two course up to a seven course meal option, all at pretty reasonable prices (a seven course dinner goes for R785). The dishes aren’t that rich so you should be able to comfortably finish the 7 course.
For more on Janse & Co, and to view their menu, head over to their website.