If you’ve been struggling for a dinner reservation at the ever-popular inner-city restaurant The Shortmarket Club, there’s bad news: lunches are about to get just as busy.
The good news, however, is that it’s all thanks to a value-for-money new menu that will pair superb dishes from Chef Patron Wesley Randles with some of the most exciting young winemakers the Swartland wine region has to offer.
Since opening its doors in mid-2016, The Shortmarket Club has dished up its modern interpretation of contemporary bistro-style cuisine to huge acclaim, and between now and spring, there’s an extra dose of European flair with the introduction of a prix fixe menu at lunchtime, Monday to Saturday.
A term commonly seen in the windows of Parisian bistros, ‘prix fixe’ translates literally as ‘fixed price’ and refers simply to a set menu offering the chef’s selection of dishes at a set price.
“In all major European cities you’ll find prix fixe specials in the Autumn and Winter, because at lunchtime people are on the lookout for great food and great value,” explains Simon Widdison, manager and co-owner of The Shortmarket Club. “This new menu ticks all the same boxes.”
Dishes on the prix fixe menu will change often, and occasionally with the whims of the chef, but diners can be certain of an adventurous three-course menu offering a pair of options per course. With the wintry cold fronts lashing harmlessly against the wide skylights of this top-floor restaurant, expect hearty cooking with a healthy dollop of Randles’ signature sophistication.
To kick things off Randles has conjured up an impressive menu offering ranging from hearty oxtail ragu paired with ‘fennel three ways’ to local line fish, perfectly grilled and plated with a coconut masala cream with fresh lime and curry leaf. Some winter warmth arrive courtesy of the playful Baji Scotched Egg with spiced lamb farce, ginger tahini and green mango atchar. Feeling adventurous? Look out for the roti filled with slow-roasted goat shoulder caramelized with spicy preserved fig harissa, roasted garlic, and goat’s milk ricotta. To finish, choose between a Mozzarella and lavender crème brûlée, and a generous cheese course. All perfect fare to keep the winter chills at bay.
While offering a value-for-money taste of the award-winning cuisine of The Shortmarket Club, the prix fixe is also an opportunity for diners to enjoy a sneak preview of dishes auditioning for a slot on the à la carte menu.
“The prix fixe menu will revolve around dishes that are generous, hearty and wintry, but the focus will also be on food that works really well with wine,” adds Randles.
Because unsurprisingly, Randles and Widdison are adding their own spin to the concept, by convincing a handful of maverick Swartland Independent Producers to dig out a barrel or two of wine you’re unlikely to find on any other wine list. Each month a new winemaker from the region will put their own unique stamp on the menu, pairing a carafe of groundbreaking wine from their cellar with Randles’ winter-friendly food.
First up, and until the end of July, is the talented young winemaker Jasper Wickens, assistant-winemaker at AA Badenhorst Family Wines, who brings his unique unfiltered wines from his acclaimed Swerwer range to The Shortmarket Club carafes. If you’re a fan of Jasper, then the The Shortmarket Club is one of the first restaurants to list his just-released Swerwer Red 2016, a blend of Grenache, Cinsaut and Tinta Barocca as well as his Swerwer White 2016, a Chenin blanc. August features Ryan Mostert of Silvervis and Terracura Wines followed in September by Tremanye Smith of Blacksmith Wines.
“We want to showcase the wines of the region, and particularly some of the more unusual, adventurous wines that our guests may not be familiar with,” explains Widdison.
Whether you come for the wine, the inventive food, or the unbeatable value of the prix fixe, you’d best get ready to book. The Shortmarket Club just got busier.
The three-course prix fixe menu at The Shortmarket Club is priced at R360/R280 per person, including/excluding a carafe of wine from the month’s featured winemaker. Available at lunchtime only, Monday to Saturday, until 30 September 2018.
Where: 88 Shortmarket Street
When: Lunch and dinner daily (closed Sundays) and breakfast on Fridays and Saturdays.
Bookings: online via their website: www.theshortmarketclub.co.za, however tables can also be reserved telephonically on (27) (21) 447 2874.