One of Cape Town’s stylish local eateries, CHEFS epitomises the KISS principle (Keep it simple stupid).
It really is a fabulous concept. The daily menu of three mains (a meat - free range, obviously - fish and vegetarian dish) and a dessert, is presented in a very visual (read mother-watering fashion) on an iPad on your table. Then you can watch the action as the dishes, all made from fresh tasty ingredients and garnished with fresh herbs, are whipped up in the open kitchen and wood-fired oven before being brought to you on a tray by a white-jacketed chef. Simple, efficient and fun.
Centrally located near the Parliament building in Gardens, and offering super quick service without compromising on quality, CHEFS is not surprisingly busy with customers at lunchtime and straight after work.
In keeping with the clean, no fuss ethos, the décor is clean, modern and airy and the constant chatter of the chefs and clinking of pots and pans gives it a great vibe. It’s more like being in someone’s own kitchen than in a restaurant.
I would have been happy with any of the three of the dishes on offer the first night we visited but opted for the Wood Roast Mexican seafood bowl, a beautifully presented fish and seafood spiced stew topped off with charred corn, spiced tortilla crisps, guacamole, whipped sour crème and pepper salsa, (R210). My partner pronounced the vegetarian dish of carrot and oregano ravioli with wood-roasted baby carrots, fennel, baby spinach, warm truffle vinaigrette and chevre salad absolutely divine, (R170).
Second time round my companion opted for buttermilk spiced lamb tagine with fluffy pilaf, cumin flatbread and a wonderful array of sambals. (R225), while I stayed with the seafood theme, choosing a bouillabaisse of lemon poached fish and prawns, served with a wood fired ciabatta, whipped olive oil, smoked butter and saffron rouille, (R195). It was good as any I’ve ever eaten in Marseille.
If you only offer one dessert, it has to be good. And I’ve no complaints after recently hitting jackpot with my favourite pudding Valrhona Duo of Chocolate mousse with warm choc nut cookie, (R75).
Open at lunchtime and until 8pm in the evening, CHEFS is a fabulous addition to the Cape Town no-fuss, healthy eating scene.
CHEFS is at 81 St Johns St, Gardens, 021 461 0368, chefscapetown.co.za
Open from Monday to Friday, 12h00-15h00 and 17h30-20h30