The Shortmarket Club
Old-school, New York-style dining with a twist.
Built in a reclaimed heritage building, The Shortmarket Club, a new venture started by Luke Dale-Roberts, his wife Sandalene, chef Wesley Randles and Simon Widdison, is setting an altogether different tone for the dining scene in Cape Town. The feeling is a nod to the dining style of times gone by, it’s classic and old school while still retaining a certain air of glamour. The food, decor and general vibe echoes this and is reminiscent of an old-world New York.
The interior of Shortmarket somewhat takes your breath away. Its unimposing exterior, leads you down a moody hallway and upstairs, which opens into the high-ceilinged bar area. The walls are a lush, textured raspberry colour and the room is softly lit with vintage military lamps sourced by Sandalene,. The vibrant walls are grounded by the industrial, metal accents of a bronze pig’s head and copper light fixtures. The dining room is almost cathedral-like in its arching height, yet somehow retains warmth and cosiness thanks to delicate blue leather couches and booths.
The menu at Shortmarket is classic, old-world and yet still refreshed food that’s been turned on its head. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu will include classic dishes, quietly and expertly refreshed. Expect to start the day with boiled eggs and soldiers, made from a shiitake brioche, a simple Arnold Bennett (a fluffy omelette made with house-smoked fish, hollandaise and cheese) and housemade quinoa granola served with seasonal fruit and buffalo yoghurt. Lunch could be anything from Saldanha Bay oysters, served either straight up with a mignonette or with a spicy tiger’s milk or Vietnamese dressing, to a satisfying and hearty soup du jour,to fresh Mussels in a chardonnay and ham hock broth, dotted with poached oysters.
There are no shortcuts when it comes to dinner, starting with options like a grass-fed beef carpaccio, goat ricotta, miso cured egg yolk, tomato sherry dashi and Parmesan and burnt onion powder. For mains, look forward to the dedicated grill section with a choice of either a straightforward ribeye or fillet served with either bearnaise or that iconic café au lait sauce. There are also fish dishes such as kingklip, served with a roasted masala sauce, burnt gem lettuce and spekboom and quinoa salsa. Other dinner dishes will vary from braaied rock lobster, served with smoked sweet corn and miso butter, a lamb rump doused in jus, accompanied by the necessary mint jelly, and a stuffed petit poussin that’s been brined, slow sous-vided and roasted to order and carved tableside, of course. Dessert is a no-frills affair, the menu will feature a caramelised lemon tart, a champagne-poached rhubarb mess and a chocolate soufflé paired with a hazelnut and Grand Marnier ice cream. Is there anything more you would want? The overall menu comprises exciting takes on tried and trusted dishes, and there’s a definite homage to Test Kitchen and Pot Luck and the influences they’ve had on Wes. The restaurant is offering an old-world experience, all the while serving up some delicious food.
Sophisticated, refreshed and welcoming.