Chef Luke Dale Roberts from The Test Kitchen, and Chef Ryan Cole will be opening a new fine dining eatery, Salsify at The Roundhouse, in Camps Bay this October.
Salsify (Sal-suh-fee) is a root vegetable with an oyster-like flavour, especially popular in old French and British cuisine. “I love salsify, it’s the most unassuming of vegetables, with its ugly and rather unfortunate looking exterior, but it is absolutely amazing to work with, full of taste surprises and so versatile”, says Head Chef and operating partner Ryan Cole.
Salsify at The Roundhouse will open its doors on 16 October with an à la carte menu and in time, says Ryan, this might develop into a tasting menu based on the successes of the à la carte offerings.
“I think it’s important to honour the legacy of The Roundhouse and to do it justice with seriously good quality food and service”, says Ryan who adds that Salsify at The Roundhouse will be offering fine dining without the snobbery. “We want to really push boundaries of flavour and technique but we’re not trying to be a Test Kitchen, we will develop our own signature and style as we go”, he adds.
In reference to the restaurant’s name, there will be a focus on ‘root to leaf’ dining and on fish. “Cape Town has such amazing produce and we’ll definitely be making the most of what our suppliers can source – I’m especially excited about the micro seasons we experience in the Cape and the produce that’s only available for a few weeks at a time, I can’t wait to start sharing our discoveries with our guests”, says Ryan.
The exciting news comes barely two months after The Test Kitchen was crowned Best in Africa and also named 50th at the World’s Best Restaurants awards in Barcelona. Ryan has worked alongside Luke at The Test Kitchen as Head Chef for the past three years and when the opportunity for a new eatery at the historic The Roundhouse arose, there was no question as to who would be heading things up.
Salsify at The Roundhouse will occupy the upper level of this historically significant building – and will be dressed by Luke’s wife and design partner Sandalene in a way that both honours and challenges its historic past.
On entering Salsify at The Roundhouse, guests will immediately be drawn in by avant garde graffiti produced by international street artist and ‘instigator’ Louis de Villiers, AKA Skull Boy, a South African artist now based in New York, as well as a focal 1.3m bronze sculpture by local sculptor Otto du Plessis, named Salsify.
Contemporary cues aside, Sandalene has been careful to honour the history of this historic building which dates back to 1786 when it was first built as a round guard house, then later used as a hunting lodge for Sir Lord Charles Somerset, Governor of the Cape from 1814 until 1826. Over time The Roundhouse was used as a home, a hotel complete with two ballrooms, tea room and restaurant.
“Because it’s a significant historical building, we couldn’t and didn’t want to change its bones, we chose to amplify its history with really modern touches juxtaposed with nods to the past and plenty of surprises too”, says Sandalene.
Salsify at The Roundhouse will be open from Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. Note that reservations are online only via salsify.co.za. Bookings are open one month in advance from 08h30am (South African time). They do not take reservations via email, however, they will still be able to assist telephonically + 27 (021) 010 6444