Water­front of­fers a world of good eat­ing

Two star-chef brasseries and a Joburg suc­cess story set out to raise jaded ex­pec­ta­tions, writes TONY JACK­MAN

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

ONE OF the coun­try’s top chefs is in the van­guard of a slew of new restau­rants open­ing at the V&A Water­front as the tourist mag­net sets out to counter the per­cep­tion that, while there are scores of restau­rants there, there’s noth­ing much to get ex­cited about.

Peter Tem­pel­hoff, ex­ec­u­tive chef of the Green­house at the Cel­lars-Ho­henort Ho­tel in Con­stan­tia and other eater­ies in the sta­ble, is to­day open­ing a brasserie, Mon­di­all, on the site of the old Green Dol­phin, the jazz restau­rant which was one of the first to open at the Water­front in the early 1990s.

Mean­while, at the Ta­ble Bay Ho­tel, food and bev­er­age man­ager Joep Schoof has been spear­head­ing the new Camissa restau­rant, also a brasserie, which opens on to a quayside ter­race and has been dec­o­rated by Carolyn Davies.

Nearby in the Vic­to­ria Wharf, in the premises of the for­mer Mugg & Bean, the Water­front is to get a branch of the Joburg­based fran­chise Tashas.

Tem­pel­hoff and his busi­ness part­ner Pa­trick Syming­ton (Café Dharma, Asoka), have trans­formed the for­mer Green Dol­phin space into a dou­ble-vol­ume, airy venue with glass doors on two sides which fold back en­tirely to make the en­tire premises al fresco in ap­pro­pri­ate weather.

Dur­ing a site visit this week – while work­men scur­ried about get­ting the venue ready for last night’s open­ing party – Tem­pel­hoff and ex­ec­u­tive chef Oliver Cater­mole showed off the Mon­di­all “kitchen and bar”, which Tem­pel­hoff says is “my way of mak­ing my food more ac­ces­si­ble”.

“My food” refers to the high-end cui­sine he serves at the Green­house, and any­body who knows this Re­lais et Château mas­ter chef ’s fare knows that he is right up there in the com­pany of Mar­got Janse and Luke Dale Roberts, and that some of his dishes are even bet­ter than theirs.

But that high-fa­lutin fare is not what Tem­pel­hoff is try­ing to achieve at Mon­di­all.

They’re tak­ing clas­sic world dishes, bring­ing them back and giv­ing them a twist. And the prove­nance of a clas­sic dish will be stated on the menu. A Cae­sar salad, says Tem­pel­hoff, was first pre­pared in Tijuana, Mex­ico (and not the US, as many peo­ple er­ro­neously be­lieve) in 1924 by Cae­sar Car­dini when there was a mad rush in his restau­rant and he had to make do with what was in the pantry. There are, how­ever, as­pects of the prove­nance which are dis­puted.

Mon­di­all means “of the whole world”, and there’ll be clas­sics such as chicken pail­lard, steak tartare, Ja­panese soba noo­dles served tra­di­tion­ally, lob­ster ther­mi­dor, and “a clas­sic burger and chips”. But then Tem­pel­hoff adds a rider: “Okay, it will be wagyu beef.”

There’ll be many cock­tails in­clud­ing 10 or 12 of their own de­sign, and some of the clas­sics. Smooth­ies are also on the menu.

The dé­cor in­cludes thick wooden beams from an oil rig that had been 20 years at sea, an­tique mir­rors, and pe­riod shut­ters im­ported from Ar­gentina. There’s a loft pri­vate din­ing room that seats up to 20, two cock­tail bars, a wine se­lec­tion with more than 70 bins (many avail­able by the carafe), and a va­ri­ety of fit­tings to suit dif­fer­ent parts of the brasserie.

Mon­di­all (as re­quired by the Water­front man­age­ment’s con­tract with all restau­rants in the precinct) will be open seven days a week for break­fast, lunch and din­ner, with an af­ter­noon ta­pas menu.

The Ta­ble Bay Ho­tel’s Camissa brasserie, set to open on De­cem­ber 12, is de­signed to be a brasserie with a lounge and wine room (a walk-in cel­lar), and a cap­tain’s ta­ble pri­vate din­ing room. Ca­st­iron ta­bles are off­set by pe­riod-style posters, chan­de­liers, padded chairs and hints of art deco, brass fin­ishes and vin­tage books stacked on wooden shelves to cre­ate a mood that is partly clubby, yet cool and so­phis­ti­cated.

The Camissa fare – Camissa means “place of the sweet waters” – prom­ises to in­voke the cuisines, dishes and flavours that were brought to the Cape by early set­tlers, whether from Europe or those from the Far East who worked in the old kitchens of their mas­ters. Old Cape clas­sics can be ex­pected to be given a mod­ern twist for a brasserie style.

Tashas, a suc­cess story in Joburg where there are sev­eral branches (there is also one in Con­stan­tia), prom­ises a “bou­tique café ex­pe­ri­ence” and is aim­ing to open by De­cem­ber 8.

Also new at the Water­front is a venue that’s a hy­brid of Bukhara and Haiku, Sabi Sab­har­wal’s In­dian and Asian restau­rants in Burg Street.

The large new Water­front venue has sep­a­rate sec­tions where you can or­der from one or the other menu. It also boasts a vast al fresco din­ing deck with a view of the docks, city and moun­tain. Bukhara and Haiku opened mid-year.

PIC­TURE: TONY JACK­MAN

TOP CHEF: Peter Tem­pel­hoff moves in.

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