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
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.
TOP CHEF: Peter Tempelhoff moves in.