Take a Bite Out of the Ritz this Summer

The Ritz Hotel Cape Town Food

Sea Point is set to sizzle this summer as The Ritz dishes up decadent brunches, lazy lunches and innovative smart dining at this rejuvenated icon of Cape Town’s glamorous Atlantic Seaboard.

Reopened in December 2017 following a multi-million rand revamp, The Ritz is on track to become one of the Mother City’s culinary hotspots, with a collection of restaurants and bars that will keep both locals and in-house guests happy through summer’s hot days and sultry nights.

Here’s What You Can Expect at The Ritz this Summer

Flowing from the chic interior to a sun-splashed pool deck, CASA Restaurant & Cabanas dishes up delicious all-day dining. The day begins with a generous breakfast buffet and à la carte offering, before shifting into an approachable menu of inventive brasserie classics from 11am.

It’s a relaxed space, both indoors and by the poolside, and we wanted the menu to reflect that,” explains Adrian Cook, Group Executive Chef for The Ritz. “We’ve kept the menu focused and simple, ensuring every dish is packed with flavour.”

It’s a globetrotting cosmopolitan menu. Entrées run from elegantly plated steak tartare – served with a focaccia twist and smoked aioli – to Rock Shrimp tempura with an umami-packed sriracha/soya glaze. Another starter not to be missed is ‘The Ritz’, an eye-catching reinvention of a classic avocado ritz.

In a witty nod to the tropical Martinique wallpaper adorning the walls, ‘The Ritz’ is served in a frozen half-shell pineapple, the pickled radish, pineapple sorbet, and avocado purée neatly balancing the silky Marie Rose sauce and succulent shrimp.

Reinventing the classics is something of a defining philosophy at CASA, says Cook: “We’re taking dishes that everyone is bound to love, and giving them our own Ritz twist.”

A perfect example is the main course of peri-peri chicken. The chicken is cooked sous vide in home-made peri-peri sauce, before being crisped up in a Pira charcoal oven imported from Spain. Other meaty mains taking a turn in the fiery oven include the char-grilled rump with house chimichurri, Karoo lamb ‘lollipops’, and a succulent Wagyu beef burger topped with mature cheddar. Watching your holiday budget? There’s also a free-range beef burger with emmental cheese and crispy bacon to take care of hunger pangs.

The sun-splashed pool deck is sure to be a draw card, with all diners enjoying full access to the sparkling pool and facilities. Whether seated on the terrace or ensconced on a lounger, it’ll certainly be hard to pass up on the inventive range of stone-baked thin-base pizzas, or a platter from the extensive sushi menu. Here the options include everything from classic California rolls and expertly sliced fresh sashimi to innovative rolls of crunchy rock shrimp tempura.

And to drink? Aside from the selection of signature cocktails and local craft spirits, the wine list offers an impressive range of leading local estates, with a variety of wines available by the glass. Fancy something international? Order a bottle of Whispering Angel rosé from acclaimed Côtes de Provence producer Chateau d’Esclans. CASA is also home to a sparkling poolside Champagne Bar, with proudly South African Méthode Cap Classique as well as champagne.

Sundays in Sea Point

While CASA makes a fine destination any day of the week, The Ritz is set to shake up Sundays in Sea Point, with its decadent Sunday Brunch.

From 11am until 5pm each Sunday the marble buffet table will be piled high with platters of sushi, sliders, stone-fired pizza and a selection of classic dishes from the à la carte menu. With the Sunday Brunch buffet priced at R250/R95 for adults/children – and kids under five eating free – it’s an ideal destination for a cool family day out.

We really want to make it accessible for families to join us,” notes Omayya Ismail, Food & Beverage Manager for The Ritz. “We have a separate children’s play area and all diners have access to the hotel pool, so we think it’s the perfect way for parents and their kids to relax on a Sunday.”

Relaxation Swopped for Refinement

High above the pool-deck, however, relaxation has been swopped for refinement.

Perched on the 23rd-floor, Top of The Ritz – the only revolving restaurant in the Western Cape – has long been a destination-restaurant in the Mother City; a place to pop the question and mark milestones. After a dramatic rejuvenation, and with an innovative new menu on offer, the restaurant is set to reclaim its title as one of the most sought-after gourmet destinations Cape Town has to offer.

The gastronomic experience begins in the 22nd floor Champagne Lounge, a seductive space where canapés and bubbly are served with a side order of sparkling city views.

Moving upstairs, it’s an equally opulent setting. Think black velvet bucket chairs, and starched white napery adorning tables decked with imported Philippe Starck lamps and fine stemware. Every table enjoys ever-changing views of the city, as the restaurant rotates through a full 360º every 62 minutes.

While the views are impressive, you’ll be hard-pressed to draw your eyes away from the plate, as Cook and his team of talented chefs take diners on a seven-course ‘Journey of Flavours through Cape Town’.

Each dish pays homage to the culinary traditions and heritage of Cape Town,” explains Cook, who says the new menu – with vegan and vegetarian options for each course, on request – offers a unique blend of innovation and familiarity. “Each dish is inspired by the flavours of the Cape, and some of the dishes that I have enjoyed in my many years of living and cooking in Cape Town. We want the flavours to be true to the original, but we play around with the texture and presentation of every dish.”

The amuse bouche is – of course – a modern take on the classic Avocado Ritz, here presented on marble offcuts upcycled from the hotel’s renovation. Later, a palate cleansing sorbet is fashioned from Cape Gooseberries, while main course options pay homage to the ocean, countryside and wild places surrounding the city.

‘Countryside’ pairs beef sirloin, fondant potato and prego jus in a nod to the city’s ever-popular Portuguese restaurants, while ‘The Karoo’ makes the most of intensely-flavoured Karoo lamb, here mirrored by fynbos-infused croquettes.

‘Ocean View’ is Cook’s interpretation of the humble parcel of fish and chips so popular in the city’s harbourside takeaways. At Top of The Ritz a fillet of local line fish is given added intrigue with potato cigars and kelp crisps; the fronds foraged from local shores before being dehydrated and deep-fried. Only sustainable fish on the SASSI ‘Green’ list will be served at Top of The Ritz.

We love local flavours and what’s so exciting about the new menu at Top of The Ritz is that we get to play with food that is familiar to many diners, but we are presenting it in a new and exciting manner,” adds Cook.

A perfect example of that is the quirky ‘Bread And Butter’ course, which mimics a Masala Steak Gatsby. One of Cape Town’s most popular street foods, here the dish is reinvented with tomato butter, masala steak pâté and cheese spuma.

The Dessert course is equally inventive, with smoked chocolate mousse, white ‘mushroom’ and ‘smoke’ evoking a wintry walk through the forests of Table Mountain.

Wine recommendations are offered for each course, and the flavour journey is mirrored in the bespoke wine list offered at Top of The Ritz, explains Ismail: “The wines are categorised according to the wine-growing regions of the Cape, allowing diners to discover the diverse terroir of the Western Cape vineyards while they explore the flavour inspirations of Cape Town.”

The seven-course ‘Journey of Flavours Through Cape Town’ menu is priced at R850 per person, excluding beverages. Children over the age of twelve are welcome (no children’s menu is available).

There’s certainly no shortage of flavour or inspiration on offer at The Ritz this summer. Whether you’re planning lunch at the poolside or an elegant evening ‘up top’, the talented chefs at The Ritz are certainly turning up the heat in Sea Point this summer.

For restaurant and special event bookings or enquiries email: info@theritzcapetown.co.za or book online at www.theritz.co.za.

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The Top 10 Restaurants in South Africa

The shining stars of South Africa’s culinary world were honoured at the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards on Sunday 19 November at GrandWest in Cape Town. These are the Top 10 restaurants in South Africa right now.

1. The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town)
Open since: 2010
Position in the Top 10 last year: 1

The unstoppable Luke Dale-Roberts triumphs for the sixth consecutive year, with Ryan Cole alongside him in the kitchen and food that’s better than ever. While dining at the country’s best restaurant might be intimidating for some, guests will be delighted to discover that the experience here is not over-the-top nor excessively elaborate – it feels like the easiest thing in the world. From the ‘dark’ room to the ‘light’ room, expect show-stopping dishes that will take you on a culinary journey from Peru to Japan then right back to South Africa. Standout dishes include ceviche with stinging nettle granita, savoury billionaire’s shortbread with dark chocolate and duck, seared scallops with cauliflower and cheese, and pork belly with smoked chestnut.

“Luke’s exquisite style and the intense flavour of ingredients are out of the ordinary and deliver a phenomenal experience,” says head judge Abigail Donnelly.

2. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)
Open since: 2006
Position in the Top 10 last year: 5

Dining at Chantel Dartnall’s enchanting restaurant is a special treat, featuring a sensory journey filled with exquisite plating and dynamic flavours with local, seasonal ingredients. The food displays an undeniable delicate sensibility in both preparation and presentation, satisfying on all levels. Her menus are creative and fuse local ingredients with techniques from her inspiring travels. Expect plated art in the form of dishes like ‘Tidal Pool’, with goose-liver spheres, Brussels sprout leaves, cauliflower purée and truffle; ‘Sea Mist’, with tender scallops and East Coast lobster; or ‘Where the River Meets the Sea’, with halibut and tilapia. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient is also the winner of the 2017 Eat Out Service Excellence Award, and sommelier Moses Magwaza took home the 2017 Eat Out Wine Service Award.

“It’s cooking, wine and service that will ensure you leave happy,” says head judge Abigail Donnelly.

3. The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West)
Open since: 2009
Position in the Top 10 last year: 3

With his ability to create magical, original food that celebrates ingredients and techniques, it’s no wonder Gregory Czarnecki clinches the number 3 spot. The visually stunning food does great honour to the ingredients, with perfectly calibrated dishes like Saldanha Bay oyster with beurre blanc sorbet; Egg 63 with a sous vide egg, toast soldiers and emmenthaler velouté; poached chicken with curry, comté viennoise and morels jus; and a beautiful dessert of apricot, pomegranate, fennel, and tarragon.

“This has to be the most beautifully designed and plated food in SA. Dishes are playful and carefully structured; flavours are subtle but surprising,” says head judge Abigail Donnelly.

4. Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia (Constantia, Cape Town)
Open since: 2016
Position in the Top 10 last year: New entry

Former Test Kitchen head chef Ivor Jones and his business partner, 2017 Eat Out S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Chef of the Year Liam Tomlin, created huge excitement in the local food scene when they opened their modern tapas restaurant at Beau Constantia wine farm in November 2016. An ever-changing menu of beautifully crafted small plates feature layered flavours. Delight in dishes like home-smoked trout with burrata, or zingy tuna with lime-cured cream cheese, before moving onto an exceptional risotto or a lively, robust roasted pork belly. An ending of wild honey and lavender crème is truly special.

“Superstar chef Ivor Jones and his team cook with care and precision. Plating is inspiring and flavours are playful and punchy,” says head judge Abigail Donnelly.

5. Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort (Constantia, Cape Town)
Open since: 2009
Position in the Top 10 last year: 7

Chefs Peter Tempelhoff and Ashley Moss create art on the plate in a luxurious setting. Expect pitch-perfect plates with a subtle nod to national pride, from the storytelling to the ingredients. Expect theatrical dishes like Cape Malay pickled fish with Hermanus abalone; mushroom-and-sherry chocolate King Cone; and prawns steamed table-side with dill and fresh coconut. Desserts might come in the form of chamomile sherbet or a plate of deconstructed chocolate, blueberry and coffee.

“Generous, creative and contemporary dishes complement this special restaurant where flavours celebrate South African storytelling,” says head judge Abigail Donnelly.

6. Camphors at Vergelegen (Somerset West)
Open since: 2012
Position in the Top 10 last year: 10

Chef Michael Cooke’s precision and playfulness have seen him rise up the ranks, placing him in the number six spot this year. The simplicity behind the seasonal 10-course Tour menu is inspired, and is what makes this one of the most enjoyable culinary adventures in the winelands. Expect highlights like the cheese-and-wine pairing dish, or a humble yet knockout course of ham hock sausage with pork loin and pancetta. The Malay-pickled kabeljou delves into South African flavours, while the cured duck breast with duck sausage, caramelised shallots and parsnip chips is a standout. Camphors at Vergelegen is also the winner of the 2017 Eat Out Woolworths Sustainability Award.

“Precise dishes celebrate seasonal ingredients. It’s a very special, exciting menu with flavours that are complex yet balanced,” says head judge Abigail Donnelly.

7. La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town)
Open since: 1995
Position in the Top 10 last year: 2

This globally recognised and locally celebrated restaurant keeps hitting high notes with its theatrical touches and flavourful food. Chefs Scot Kirton and James Gaag deliver with dishes like the famed tinned tuna; a triumphant dish of springbok beneath a paper-thin sheet of brik pastry with miso and chestnut; and Wagyu bone marrow with truffle and herbs on toast. A dessert of rose, strawberry and white chocolate ends things off in a delightfully subtle way.

“Delight in a multi-sensory adventure of remarkable dishes and flavour combinations,” says head judge Abigail Donnelly.

8. The Shortmarket Club (City Bowl, Cape Town)
Open since: 2016
Position in the Top 10 last year: New entry

Luke Dale-Roberts’s fourth restaurant – where Wesley Randles is at the helm – makes its debut on the Top 10 thanks to its bold food that makes the ingredients the star of the show. Expect to see dishes like grass-fed beef tartare with celeriac dashi and frozen parmesan; ‘The Pasta Dish’ with unctuous oxtail ragù, fennel three ways and burnt butter; and a decadent and earthy vegetarian offering of roasted artichoke with hazelnut, aged balsamic and labneh. Delicate desserts end things off with options like lavender-and-mozzarella crème brûlée or the indulgent 80% Valrohna chocolate fondant.

“Flavours are exciting and bold – they’re using the best ingredients to the max,” says head judge Abigail Donnelly.

9. Overture (Stellenbosch)
Open since: 2007
Position in the Top 10 last year: 6

Chef Bertus Basson continues as a force to be reckoned with on the Cape culinary scene, with inspired food that highlights the very best of the country’s cuisine. Expect a feast with dishes like ‘chip and dip before a braai’, which features crispy chips of sweet potato, fried sago and kale served with a buttery avocado mousse; or a main of hearty braised lamb shoulder with balanced flavours of gem squash purée and creamy Dijonnaise. Desserts don’t disappoint, with highlights like chocolate purée, soil, and discs offset by nori, honey and orange.

“A South African journey of produce and traditions that showcases Bertus’s humour all the way. It’s his personality on a plate,” says head judge Abigail Donnelly.

 

10. The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock, Cape Town)
Open since: 2013
Position in the Top 10 last year: Nominee

This iconic Woodstock eatery by Luke Dale-Roberts with Frederico Dias in the kitchen cracks the Top 10 again thanks to its exciting and punchy play with flavours and trendy tapas-style experience. A visit to The Pot Luck Club isn’t quite complete without biting into the iconic fish tacos, or the beef fillet with café au lait sauce. Other high points include the chickpea, goat’s cheese and parmesan fries; fish sliders with amasi and maize meal; and earthy shredded confit duck leg with fresh plums. The famed s’mores with roasted frozen marshmallows and peanut-butter ice cream are a perfect way to sign off the meal.

“Flavour, flavour, flavour! Small plates are exquisitely plated and the experience is quite ethereal and very cosmopolitan,” says head judge Abigail Donnelly.

Editorial credit: Eat Out Magazine