One of my favourite things about the Cape Town food scene is the accessibility to all sorts of strange dishes, from tripe to raw vegan desserts, broths and poké. But most days I just want something comforting, familiar and uncomplicated. And nothing is quite as comforting as a classic roast. So enter Roast & Co, a new chicken joint from the owners of HQ that serves up really good, free-range roast chicken with all the traditional trimmings.
I popped in for lunch.
Roast & Co sports a trendy, city chic interior, with leather seats at wood and steel tables, lining raw brick walls.
The inside of the restaurant promises to be a cozy space in the winter months, but while the sun is shining you really want to head into the courtyard, which is shared with HQ restaurant. In the afternoons this becomes a perfect spot to soak up some summer weather, and in the evenings it transforms into a fantasy of fairy lights and clinking wine glasses.
You basically build your own meal at Roast & Co, kicking off with either a full, half or quarter chicken (all free range from Elgin), and then add on sides like roast potatoes, charred corn, pumpkin fritters (delicious!), truffle pap (yum!) or salads. I went for a quarter chicken with four sides to share and it was more than enough for a Friday afternoon lunch.
They also offer a sharing menu with small plates like Mzanzi Fried Mac ‘n Cheese served with chakalaka and sour cream, chicken ceasar croquettes that capture all the flavours of the classic salad in a crispy ball, and silky liver pate with shortbread.
On the sweet side they do churros, a rocky road popsickle and a fun banana split vs cheesecake dessert where you have a combination of chocolate, cheesecake ice-cream (sortof), and caramalised banana.
From perfectly cooked chicken to delicious sides, I was happy with everything I tasted. It’s not fussy or fancy, it’s just good food.
Considering it’s a chicken restaurant, you shouldn’t expect a lot of options for vegetarians, though you would be able to build up a pretty yummy selection from their sides and share plates.
They serve a small selection of beers, including locals from Newlands Spring and Devil’s Peak, alongside a fun selection of cocktails like a Raspberry Julep (Bourbon, raspberry, mint and soda), Smoked Mule (vodka, lime, smoked bitters and ginger-beer) and The Shortmarket Manhattan (whisky, vermouth and peach). They also have a few wines on offer, mostly from Warwick.
The staff were friendly, efficient and helpful, though not always completely versed in the menu – as you might expect from a space that is this new. Overall lunch ran smoothly so no complaints.
A quarter roast chicken is priced at R65, sides start at R28 and the shared plates are around R50 and R80 each. So I think it is pretty decently priced by Cape Town standards. If you order a full chicken (R210) between four, with a couple of sides, you can get away with a pretty reasonable meal.
Ironically they aren’t open for Sunday lunch, but you can grab a meal every other day of the week.
Roast & Co is located at 98 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town. For more info, visit roastandco.co.za