The bold indigo “Chefs” signage on the immaculate white building on the corner of St Johns and Vrede Streets is hard to miss. Inside is an office-turned-restaurant that epitomises minimalism, and creates an effective first impression, with huge windows that provide ample natural light and fresh air.
The owners – head chef Jenny Ward and Campbell Stevenson – decided to break the mould when it comes to what is expected of restaurants. Their aim? To take the fuss out of the dining experience. That way, they can focus on creating exceptional dishes and we, the customers, can then enjoy them at leisure. Only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients are used for each of the delectable meals, typically cooked in Jenny’s wood-fire oven. The menu changes daily and consists of three main dishes (ranging from R135 – R150), a dessert of the day (around R50) and a freshly made juice. For the vegetarians, or for those of us with food allergies, the menu clearly outlines which of the dishes are gluten-free, contain nuts and are suitable for vegetarians.
How it works
The process is simple: check the daily menu on the iPad at the counter, then select your meal and pay for it upfront (via credit card, SnapScan or Zapper). Getting this out of the way early on makes this the perfect spot for an on-the-run bite when you are pressed for time. Your complimentary still or sparkling water is then brought to the table in glass bottles, and shortly afterwards the chef herself brings you your meal.
Don’t be fooled by the no-frills vibe
Served on cool, canteen-style metal trays – to streamline the kitchen-to-table process – the presentation is superb. And then there’s the food… The homemade lemonade was deliciously refreshing, but it was the lime and pistachio-crusted linefish served with crispy prawns and seared to perfection that left a lasting impression. The wonderfully light dessert of the day – yoghurt panna cotta with wood-roasted pineapple – was the perfect end to a delicious meal.
Still very much in its infancy, Chefs is currently only open for lunch during the week. There is, however, talk of extending the hours into the evenings, and perhaps the weekends, once the initial opening butterflies have settled. The owners are also in the process of getting a liquor license and, once they do, they will be serving red and white wine by the glass and a beer of the day.
Chefs is a much-needed breath of fresh in the Cape Town foodie scene. Check the menu of the day on its website before setting off to see if appeals to you.
Opened October 2016
Opening times Monday – Friday, 12pm – 4pm
Contact 021 461 0368
Where to find it Chefs, 81 St John’s Street, Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa