I know the head chef at Cape Town’s hottest new restaurant.
NEVER IN MY LIFE HAVE I EVER UTTERED A SENTENCE LIKE THAT.
My lovely friend Juliet has been dating her lovely boyfriend Wesley since they met in culinary school a few years ago.
This has worked out very nicely for me, in the form of spectacular Christmas dinners and, of course, last Saturday night.
Julie’s birthday is coming up soon and she booked a table at The Pot Luck Club, where Wes is head chef. The restaurant sits on the sixth floor of an old grain silo in The Old Biscuit Mill in Salt River. While it was still under construction Juliet and Robyn popped in one day, so of course I trusted Robyn when she assured me she knew where the door of the restaurant is.
Let me just say, for the record, it is not well sign posted and the directions the security guard at the Old Biscuit Mill boom gave us was limited to a head nod and, “You know where it is mos.”
So when Robyn led me up SIX FLIGHTS OF STAIRS on the OUTSIDE of the building, in GALE FORCE WINDS, while wearing stilettos and a dress, I did comment that it wasn’t exactly wheelchair friendly.
We found ourselves at the entrance to their stock room.
Turns out they do have a very nice glass lift, which opens up to a very chic entrance with a charming maitre d’.
Dramatic entrance achieved, we ended up having the most wonderful night.
The Pot Luck Club opened it’s doors less than a month ago and it was pumping on Saturday, there wasn’t a free seat in the house.
It is Luke Dale Roberts’ second restaurant. His first restaurant, The Test Kitchen, is South Africa’s top restaurant and he is considered to be South Africa’s top chef.
Wesley Randle was his sous chef at The Test Kitchen and has taken on the role of head chef at The Pot Luck Club.
It’s a tapas menu and not exactly Spur prices. We’re young, starting our careers. We don’t earn vast amounts. Wes kindly put together a set menu for us so we knew what we’d be spending before we arrived. A selection of his and Juliet’s favourite dishes off the menu.
And oh, the food. The food!
I won’t take you through everything. There’s too much and it’s too amazing. We ate from 19:30 to 10:30, a constant flow of the most creative, decadent works of edible art.
I’m not one for fancy food. I’ll take mac ‘n cheese over foie gras anyday. But I thoroughly enjoyed every single morsel of food. We started with crispy curried celery leaves! Of all things! Utterly delicious, I ate them like pretzels. In handfuls.
My two absolute must haves, cannot-visit-this-restaurant-without-ordering-this-dish, cannot-go-through-life-never-tasting-this is the Smoked Beef Fillet with Black Pepper and Truffle Cafe Au Lait (would drink that sauce with a spoon) and the Nectarine Almond Tart with Malted Popcorn Ice Cream (Wes’s own creation).
I can still taste it. So much amazing.
This was genuinely a fabulous night. We stayed til nearly midnight. The kitchen is open to the dining room, imagine a sushi counter kind of set up, so it was really great to be able to see Wes at work, running his kitchen. Very impressive, with 100 seats and fully booked you just see pots and pans and knives whizzing through the air in a blur.
Wes is in his twenties as is, I would guess, all his staff. It’s a young, vibrant, dedicated staff. The service was excellent, though they all knew who we were so there’s a chance we may have gotten extra attention.
That’s what happens when you know the boss.
He came to sit with us and have a beer when service was over. At one point an older table near us asked to speak to the chef, I think they were quite surprised when this young guy stood up from the table right next to them. I felt like a rock star’s entourage.
Even more so when Luke Dale Roberts (the man, the legend) popped by the table to say hi to Juliet.
The one and only complaint I would have is that it’s very loud in there, we had to talk pretty loudly to make ourselves heard. But they’re aware of the bad acoustics and they’re working on a solution already.
This place gets five stars in my book. It was a pricier night out for me, but totally totally worth every cent. We paid between R300 and R500 each, depending on how much we drank and how much we tipped (and we erred on the side of generous.) I would highly highly recommend this for a special occasion, from an anniversary dinner to a girls night out.
Amazing amazing food.
FAN FOR LIFE.
(I did not take any of my own pictures. Except the last one. Pictures courtesy of their website and Danielle.)