SALON – The Celebrated Culinary Journey of
Luke Dale Roberts

Words: Julie Velosa

When Luke Dale-Roberts does something new on the restaurant scene, people sit up and take notice. With a list of accolades an arms-length long across his various restaurants, it’s a given that the food scene is abuzz since this news hit stands.

SALON is the latest addition to the Luke Dale-Roberts collection – an intimate dining space that draws inspiration from salons of old, where people gathered to enjoy intellectual conversation over food and drink.

The Look

The small space at the Biscuit Mill has been transformed by local interior designer, Maurice Paliaga, into an elevated yet cosy dining salon. Velvet banquettes, tones of rich gold and forest green and leather touches add warmth, while recessed dining pods with arched entryways divide the space for private dining experiences.

Feature walls showcase panels of tinted, textured glass, including crown/rondel glass panels straight out of up-and-coming 70s-era homes, that somehow look thoroughly contemporary in the space. Their gold hue casts a glow about the space that is picked up in the sparkling chandeliers and fringed lamps.

Cultural salons were places where people could gather to discuss literature, poetry, philosophy, theology, and ideas in a convivial and stimulating atmosphere, often with food and drink. – Interlude UK.

The Drinks

A gorgeous gold bar runs the length of SALON and forms a focal point. Here the mixology team tempts with a range of curated cocktails, of which we recommend the Sake Passionfruit – Inverroche Classic Gin with sake, ginger & lemongrass. Also, the Salon Sour with Woodford Reserve was stellar.

The wine list showcases an impeccable and unique range of local wines, MCC and champagnes.Salon-_Cocktails

The Food

Degustation menus are often described as a ‘journey’, with the intention that you explore tastes and textures through several courses. The menu at SALON is a literal interpretation of this, taking diners from country to country, following Luke’s personal culinary odyssey.

A map presented at the beginning of the meal shows your voyage, which will take you globetrotting across the seas from Luke’s origins in the UK across to Europe, Asia and finishing with his current home, right here in South Africa.

Depending on what you opt for, you can either get the full ticket to ride and experience all 9-courses of The Journey (R1100 / R1830 with beverage pairing), or you may travel light and go for the 4-course Explorer (R550 per person / R 900 with beverage pairing ).

For King & Country

The first bite pays homage to pub culture – the origins of the culinary scene in the UK. Pork scratchings are served with a creamy Guinness foam for dipping. This is a tough dish to describe, firstly because it is baffling to think how the team manages to make the scratchings so thin, delicate and crispy and also, how they pack such a complex level of flavour into the Guinness foam. We’re pretty sure that this dish’s humble beginnings belie the complexity it takes to actually make it – totally sublime. I could have stayed in England and eaten a whole hogs-worth of this dish!

Viva le Foie Gras

Nipping over the channel to France, the course ‘Forest Noir’ was one of those that looked like it belonged on a tiered cake stand at Versailles. Vanilla & Parmesan shortbread with a layer of foie gras, topped with sour-plum-cherry jelly and a wafer-thin disk of dark chocolate, served with a mini loaf of brioche. Savouries posing as delicate sweets? I’m in.

This gorgeous dish delivered in terms of rich umaminess from the foie gras, balanced by the sweetness of the jelly. Also, there is something to be said for the decadence of a truly short piece of shortbread that just melts in the mouth.


All Abroad

The full Journey menu continues, taking diners from Singapore across to Malaysia, then Korea and the Phillippines before landing back in South Africa. Without spoiling the expedition for you, things to look out for will be the ‘Sunday Roast’ before you leave the English pub and a gorgeous langoustine with a Singaporean chilli twist, paired with a divine Ou Steen Chenin Blanc from Longridge). And, once you’re back in South Africa, a marmalade-y malva with housemade ultramel and a fabulous Amasi ice cream.

Salon dish LDR

Travel Snapshots

When writing, they always tell you to draw from your own experiences, and the same goes for cooking. Drawing from his personal journey, Dale Roberts takes us across the world through the lens of beautiful food.

“The Journey menu is a real snapshot of my life as a chef,” says Dale Roberts. “It takes my decades of travelling, tasting and cooking in some incredible kitchens around the world, and condenses it all into a 9-course exploration of all the wonderful flavours and dishes I’ve encountered along the way.”


It takes real creativity to continually reimagine food at this level; Dale Roberts credits his Head Development Chef, Carla Schulze, as being instrumental in working with him to leverage his experiences to create these dishes.

“We have become an incredible team, and we work extremely well together in bringing concepts for dishes to life,” says Dale Roberts.

Ticket to Ride

While Capetonians are notorious for becoming winter recluses, the SALON tour around the globe is motivation to doll up and step out. With a cocktail in hand and a tasty itinerary to look forward to, the SALON experience is set to become a very special culinary souvenir.

interior-Salon by LDR

SALON is open from Tuesdays through to Saturdays, and guests can reserve their ‘Journey’ or ‘Explorer’ timeslots between 18:00 and 21h00.

1st Floor Silo Building, The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town | Book via Dineplan or call 087 093 5890.

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