I’ve always been a fan of The Shortmarket Club. A venture between Luke and Sandalene Dale Roberts, manager Simon (Si) Widdison and head chef Wesley Randles, it opened in 2016 and has swiftly become an A list inner city gourmet destination for those with an eye for fabulous fare. So when the email dropped with the intro: “Si and Wes would very much like to….,” I knew I was in for something trés marvellous and I was right on the money. It was time to try the new Prix Fixe menu, a superb offering especially considering who is cooking. Wesley, supported by an ace kitchen brigade, has a blue chip bio that includes working closely with maestro Luke Dale-Roberts for close to a decade, and in various capacities, at the original La Colombe, followed by lengthy stints at The Test Kitchen and Pot Luck Club. Wesley’s creativity and attention to detail on the plate is next level and his customer awareness is acute. It comes as no surprise then that the eatery clinched 8th place at the prestigious Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Awards in 2017.
Located in a heritage building on the street of the same name, the Shortmarket Club is in good company, flanked by some of the CBD’s most iconic spots such as the House of Machines and Outrage of Modesty. The elegant interior, designed by Sandalene Dale Roberts, reminds me of a throwback to an olde-world gents club – there is a smattering of colonial posh but sans any upper crust stuffiness, resulting in a smartly curated experience that lies comfortably between casual and fine dining, bolstered by superb service.
Let’s talk about the three course set menu though. The starter was a fiery sambal matah tuna belly with basil, hot coconut oil and freshly squeezed lime juice, followed by a delicate melt-in-your-mouth main of Cape Breem (all fish is always ethically sourced), done with a tangy lemon and tarragon veloute, fried pannise, smoked mussel aioli and green bulgar wheat. Dessert was dreamy – strawberries and cream a la Randles, just divine, with the berries marinated in rose and darjeeling, vanilla sabayon, and garnished with raspberry granita and meringue shards. A carafe of wine – either the Paul Cluver Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir – is offered with the meal at an additional cost, but why not take things up a notch and pop open a bottle of Colmant, a sublime South African MCC.
The three-course menu is R280 a person, or R380 including a carafe of wine. It is available only at lunchtime, Mondays to Saturdays, until the end of next month. Don’t miss out!
The Shortmarket Club is found at 88 Shortmarket Street and is open for lunch and dinner daily (closed Sundays). Book online through www.shortmarketclub.co.za or 0214472874.
(I was invited to lunch by Manley Communications and all opinions are my own.)