Salsify at the Roundhouse, The Perfect Pairing of Food & Wine

Words: Crush

Salsify at the Roundhouse, one of South Africa’s best restaurants – only one of five to have been awarded a coveted three-stars at the recent Eat Out Woolworths Restaurant Awards 2022 – is renowned for their exceptional food and wine pairings. So much so, that Salsify sommelier, Victor Okolo, walked away with the Eat Out WCellar Wine Service Award at the same ceremony too.

The restaurant’s 10-course Chef’s menu, created by chef Ryan Cole and his team, is an elegant study of local ingredients and unexpected combinations of flavour which are then perfectly paired by chef and sommelier with interesting and often rare and unusual wines.

The Perfect Pairing of Food & Wine

Locally inspired and driven by the seasons, the menu changes often, which means that there’s always a new dish to pair and a new wine to taste. The wine service offers up two pairing options. Either a gem pairing of fine wines and rare vintages, as well as a boutique pairing which include interesting, limited releases and unusual wineries. It’s a process which is constantly evolving, as dishes change or the rare wines they’re able to offer come to an end; Salsify often receives the last bottles of a particular vintage.

“It’s very much a collaboration,” says Cole. “Victor and I are always tasting, trying new things, experimenting with new dishes, as we discover new ingredients to work with, and we see what wines work with certain flavours. It’s not always what you might expect when just looking at the tasting notes.”

Meet the Duo – Ryan Cole & Victor Okolo

Together, Okolo and Cole taste and pair each and every dish, the goal not only being to find just a good pairing but rather one that is exciting and unexpected – something the guest may not have had before or be anticipating with a certain type of dish. A current example, according to Okolo, is the venison tartar, it’s the second dish of the tasting menu, so already the expectation is a white wine. However, the team have instead paired the dish of springbok tartar, porcini and goats’ cheese with Angus Paul Pinotage 2020.

It’s not always about contrast though, both Chef and sommelier agree that one of their favourite current pairings is the Leeu Passant Cinsault 2018 with their duck dish. An incredibly limited release wine which isn’t even available from the estate’s tasting room.

Here, the wine’s perfumed nose and palate of baking spices along with plenty of berries and rose petals, sensationally compliments the earthy elements of the duck dish with its textures of beetroot, Szechuan pepper and duck liver.

“The dish is umami on a plate. So, it’s very much a contrasting pairing as the wine itself is lighter in style, silky and elegant; it’s just this wonderful balance and it works so well,” explains Okolo.

For Cole it’s never about food versus wine, “Wine is not secondary to our food. The wines we pair nuanced and complex, and we’re proud to serve these fine expressions of South African wine alongside our food”. It’s this constant pursuit of excellence that the team strive for when pairing. Whatever the decision, you can always expect the unexpected; the result is always harmonious.

Restaurant Details

This celebration of beautiful and rare wines and fine food is available Tuesday to Sunday at Salsify for R1550 per person with the option for the Boutique Wine Pairing priced at R1100 per person, and the Gem Series Wine Pairing at R1600 per person.

The wine pairing is subject to change regularly due to the limited nature of those featured. Booking is essential and a deposit of R500 per person is required.

Location: The Roundhouse, Roundhouse Road, Camps Bay
Contact: 021 010 6444 | Reservations

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