Luke Dale-Roberts of inventive restaurant (and currently 22nd best in the world) The Test Kitchen continues his domination of Cape Town’s food and beverage scene with his latest endeavour, The Shortmarket Club. Teaming up with wife Sandalene Dale-Roberts, Wesley Randles (chef from The Test Kitchen, Potluck Club and La Colombe) and manager Simon Widdison, the new venue adds a splash of sophistication to the otherwise eclectic Bree Street area.
Entering the first floor restaurant via a striking staircase, the open kitchen catches your eye; surrounded by a bar area it’s the perfect spot for a pre-dinner tipple, watching the chefs gear up for the evening ahead. Sandalene Dale-Roberts designed the space — that conjures up the weighty ambience of an exclusive members’ club — with an extensive use of leather and wood, black and deep aubergine colours, and stained glass. Peter Eastman, an artist who has in the past contributed to the decorative elements at The Test Kitchen and The Pot Luck Club, features here at The Shortmarket Club; as does a wall of framed butterflies conceptualised by artist Mark Rautenbach, whose work can also be seen at Dale-Roberts’s flagship restaurant.
Randles has created a menu with an opulent old-world feel, modern interpretations of classic dishes designed to encourage diners to ‘linger, have fun and turn lunch into drinks at the bar’ — and if all that wasn’t enough in itself, the barbecue section (or braai if you’re South African) will be turning out tomahawk steaks, ribeye, fillets and the mouth-watering likes of crayfish with smoked sweetcorn.
Drenched in vintage glamour and with a kitchen whose pedigree is beyond question, Luke Dale-Roberts has scored big again with his latest venture: ‘the restaurant is unique in its design,’ he concludes, ‘it’s a place to relax and really lap up the feeling of luxury that surrounds you — and the delicious food, of course.’