Friday, March 10, 2017

Anniversary lunch at the Chefs Warehouse

Last Wednesday was our Wedding Anniversary. We are rather surprised to find we have been married for 14 years, it has gone so quickly and been so much fun. We like to celebrate with a good meal out, somewhere we have heard about before but not yet been to. Liam Tomlin opened this store/restaurant in 2014 when they moved from their old site in Bree Street and we have been trying to go for a very long time. Quite difficult as we are invited out to restaurants and wine farms often several times in a week.
It is on the corner of Heritage Square with the entrance in Bree Street, Number 92
An important thing you need to know, there are no reservations. Come early or you might have to queue, or wait for a table. We were lucky. John was there at 12 and got us a table; he was in town for an appointment
There is a retail area, full of books and things that a cook might desire for sale
and a guardian
Tables outside on the terrace
Inside, simple wooden tables and rather uncomfortable old fashioned stools
Bread and Liam Tomlin cookbooks for sale
Might look familiar to those of you who knew our shop in Sea Point, Main Ingredient. They have lots of the ingredients we used to sell, and several new ones. No wine for sale other than that for consumption with your meal though
A hint at the variety of food styles they serve
Look familiar? Spices in small packets
It is in a lovely old building with the original 18th Century windows
Lynne's bus didn’t arrive, she had to wait another half hour, so John comforted himself with a beer. A new one for us, the Drifter with a blonde on the label. Which is what the beer is, the Cape Town Blonde. Very good, with citrus hints
The menu is brief. We decided go go for the most popular option, the Tapas for 2 at R650
Some of the other choices. They now have a branch at Beau Constantia wine farm, which is near the top of Constantia Nek
It is an interesting wine list, some of our favourites, affordable and less so, (no Taittinger today) and some we have not yet discovered. A good choice of wines by the glass
We opted for a wine we last had at La Colombe (thank you Joseph). Called Dirty Julie, it's a 2014 Verdelho grown in the Swartland, made by David Cope and Simon Wibberley. We knew it would go very well with the menu of the day, and it paired beautifully
Lynne enjoying the experience. The nose is full of hot dusty grassland with loquat notes. On the palate, lots of citrus pomelo marmalade. It has crisp acids and long flavours, a great wine to go with food
The first three dishes: Dark plate: Fish and chips: Gentle steamed hake with lemon mayo, gherkins, capers and red and pickled onions, topped with tiny potato crisps - was nice, but didn't excite. Top left: Deep fried squid with charred pineapple & Sriracha mayonnaise. Squid, perfectly crisp, crunch coated, tender as butter, a wow with the Sriracha and pineapple. Could have eaten an entire plate each. And then the tuna. What to say about perfect raw, really fresh tuna, so rarely found, a generous round, dressed with a perfect Vietnamese sweet, hot, sour and spicy dressing and an avocado purée, topped with salmon caviar shallots, micro greens, herbs. It melted in the mouth. We could only rave and wish there had been two slices each.
Second serving was one for the vegetable lovers (like us). Gado Gado, an Indonesian salad of peas, fresh steamed broad beans in their pods, baby corn, radishes, pea nuts, herbs and micro greens in a gentle but present peanut Satay sauce. How to showcase fresh seasonable vegetables at their best. In the copper pot, a green parsley risotto, rice perfectly cooked, rich and sticky with cheese and butter and ricotta, topped with crisp pancetta flakes - more please
Our final three courses: Top left: Flash fried swordfish served Portuguese style with olives, tomatoes and onions. Crisp on the outside, soft and moist in the centre. Congratulations to the chef, who really knows how to cook this difficult fish. It can be like cardboard. Loads of flavour and excitement. Next to it: Pork fillet medallions, pink in the centre, with an unctuous, sticky, charred aubergine slice and an excellent meat glaze, with a creamy butternut purée. This was served on a bed of flavourful couscous, full of Moroccan Ras al Hanout spices, rich and tender. In the pan, slices of entrecote steak, fondant baby potatoes, crisp roasted parsnips, and some celeriac purée, topped with an onion soubise (classic French onion sauce). For Lynne, it brought back memories of an excellent English roast dinner. Well done chef, an extraordinarily good meal, so accomplished with all the varied techniques and culinary influences
The couple next to us had the same meal and seemed as enthusiastic and happy as we were. The staff were really lovely, friendly, quick and responsive
Good weather to eat outside
Our bill
Alongside the restaurant is the tiny bar
Good for escaping work
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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