Finally, I had the good fortune to visit The Shortmarket Club and can now ooh and ah with the best of the rest who exasperated my Fear Of Missing Out since the opening of this fine establishment six months ago. Taking a taxi from the Waterfront to the corner of Bree and Shortmarket Street seemed the way to go as holiday traffic in the centre of Cape Town was not going to put a damper on my first experience at another Luke Dale-Roberts triumph.
Finding 88 Shortmarket Street could have been slightly easier but at least the neighbourhood shop assistants pointed me in the right direction fast enough. Directions should go…”look out for numbered doorway next to House of Machines“. A long charcoal passage leading to a short flight of steps provides the right sense of anticipation for arrival on the landing which serves as a bar lounge facing the action in the open plan kitchen. This is an all-star elegant food theatre. Stepping through the art deco stained glass sliding doors the room mirrors half-moon leather booths and two-seater tables backed by framed butterflies. Not too crowded and quite tranquil. The urgent buzzing traffic is forgotten here as we sipped on the non-vintage Graham Beck Brut Rosé for the curtain call. The bubbly glasses with its gold filigree edging could have been on the same shipment from Argentina as the stained glass doors.
I was so taken up by the interesting environment that I did not focus on the menu with much attention. Whatever I was going to eat was bound to be great. As there was already a Tulbagh asparagus starter making its way to our table I opted for the fried octopus with a sesame tamarind dressing. Very different. A generous portion of calamari with a bite. I was pleased to note my local favourites on the wine list. Elgin is well covered by Shannon Vineyards, Elgin Ridge and Paul Cluver. Closer to (my) home Beaumont and Creation are also represented. I felt the octopus called for a chenin and a bottle of Raats Chenin was ordered. For mains I selected the kingklip with courgette flowers and shiitake mushrooms. It came beautifully plated and went down well with the house speciality – duck fat roasted potatoes. To complete the experience we ordered another beautifully plated sweet creation to share. I had a glimpse of the cheese trolley and made a note to return for this. Service throughout was efficient and professional.
I have Dutch friends Jan and Len to thank for my first visit to The Shortmarket Club and was treated to this extraordinary experience as an early Christmas gift. The memory of the tastes and interior will live on long after the Christmas decorations are boxed.
The Shortmarket Club, 88 Shortmarket Street Cape Town Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday. www.theshortmarketclub.co.za Email firstname.lastname@example.org Tel 021 447 28 74