Breakfast at The Shortmarket Club seasons classic egg dishes with dashes of old-world glamour and fine-dining panache
Very few top restaurants open for breakfast so, when Luke Dale-Roberts in partnership with chef Wesley Randles and Simon Widdison (both previously of the Pot Luck Club) made it part of their new Shortmarket Club offering, I was curious to discover what the fine dining take on this least glamorous meal of the day would be.
As we selected from the tea menu, daylight streamed down on the central tables, beams of sunlight playing on the striking decorative wall of paper butterflies. The button back banquettes around the walls are lit golden by retro glass lamp shades, giving the room the feel of a last century club waking up to a new day.
The breakfast menu is short and unusual. “It’s been interesting taking classic dishes that have almost been forgotten,” says chef Wesley Randles, “changing preconceived ideas of them and giving them a new feel.”
However short it is, it’s still hard to decide. Omelette Arnold Bennett won out for me, a decadently rich classic, involving an omelette with house-smoked hake under a rich creamy sauce, topped with a sprinkling of parmesan and grilled till golden. It comes in a copper pan, and the wholewheat toast (the bread baked in-house, served in an appealing old school toast rack) is essential to mop up all the creaminess.
Another excellent choice was the hot smoked trout with poached egg and salad, sweet miso butter raising it above the ordinary. The Scotch egg with wild mushrooms and truffle, egg and soldiers with artichoke brioche are other tempting choices. If you want more than one course, you could start with the quinoa granola with buffalo yoghurt and grapefruit. Wesley changes things up when the mood strikes, sometimes sending out steaming bowls of mieliepap with honeycomb in chilly weather. He’s contemplating waffles with persimmon for the weekend, and a new take on croque-monsieur.
As we were leaving, shallow bowls of prickly chestnut husks caught my eye at the open kitchen. Wesley explains they are for smoking a signature dish of slow-roasted petit poussin stuffed with chestnuts and a touch of fynbos, brought to table on the smoking chestnut husks. I feel like booking straight back in for lunch.
See for yourself:
The Shortmarket Club 88 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town Tel: 021 447 2874 | Email: theshortmarketclub.co.za