Salsify at the Roundhouse, one of South Africa’s top-fine dining restaurants has launched the latest edition to their Chef’s menu – a pairing with a selection of rare and old “gem” South African wines. The 10-course menu, created by Chef Ryan Cole and his team, is an elegant study of local ingredients, unexpected combinations of flavour and some of the rarest vintages and labels in the country.
“South Africa isn’t typically known for its rare or old wines,” explains sommelier, Samuel Ross who has been with Salsify since 2019. “But there are some old wines where there are only two or six bottles left in the country – or extremely small batches or limited release of newer vintages. We’ve curated a selection of these to pair with our menu.”
Salsify, located in the Round House national monument in Camps Bay, is a story of old and new in itself. The age of the 300-year-old building contrasts with that of the team which occupies it – the oldest Salsify team member is only age 34.
“We love the story of Salsify, and the fact that there is this play on time and age had us inspired,” explains co-owner and executive chef, Ryan Cole. “We’ve created the menu with the wines in mind – and visa versa.”
Inspired by the nature amongst which Salsify is situated (both of mountain and sea), Chef Ryan Cole and his consummate team have created a series of intelligent, restrained and utterly compelling dishes – with spectacular views, premium wines, chic interiors and top-notch service enhancing the overall experience.
Fish features prominently – appropriate, not only given the restaurant’s ocean-facing setting but also the chef’s background. In addition to this strong focus on low-impact fishing, Salsify’s, seasonally driven, hyper-local approach is sustainability you can taste. The chef constantly changes the menu based on available produce.
The Chef’s menu features 10-courses with local ingredients like Karoo Lamb, Springbok from Wintershoek Farm in the Northern Cape, tuna caught by Ryan himself off Cape Point, and deep-water South African Langoustines.
One of Ryan’s favourite dishes on the menu is the poached langoustine with chive gnocchi and truffle potato emulsion. “It’s a triumph,” he says. “Langoustines have such a sweet and delicate flavour profile, and the unusual pairing with them pan-fried gnocchi and toasted parmesan enhances the dish. We’ve also added shimeji mushrooms pickled in yuzu – not for the sake of the mushroom, but more for the pickle. It’s about the secondary ingredient – and what’s unexpected.”
The langoustine is currently paired with the Alheit Vineyards ‘Nautical Dawn’ 2020. “It matches opulence with elegance,” explains Samuel. “The cool breeze blowing through the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley gives the wine a salty, savouriness. It balances and contrasts the langoustine’s sweeter flesh and natural salinity, and it stands up to the intensity of Burgundy truffles.”