Best known as the figure behind Potluck Club and The Test Kitchen, two of Cape Town’s most popular and critically acclaimed restaurants, British-born chef Luke Dales Roberts is now making waves with The Shortmarket Club. From its quaint side street location just off buzzy Bree Street, to the heritage building it sits inside, the restaurant presents a rounded dining experience in which every single facet has been carefully curated.
The menu is led by chef Wesley Randles who has worked closely with Luke since the opening of The Test Kitchen, and here confidently turns out innovative plates that offer updated riffs on classics from an open kitchen. Standouts include an asparagus dish modernised with a hazelnut and miso hollandaise, porcini puree and parmesan wafer, while steak becomes a talking point when served with an experimental café au lait sauce.
Working hand-in-hand with the menu are the interiors by Dale-Roberts’ wife, Sandalene. Here, an opulent old-world vibe comes courtesy of vast banquettes, an unrestrained used of velvet and leather, and a rich palette of blacks and deep aubergine. Sip on a preprandial cocktail in the bar while watching the action from the open kitchen, before heading through locally crafted stained glass sliding doors to the restaurant, where two skylights illuminate a wall of framed butterflies by artist Mark Rautenbach – certainly a conversation starter while waiting for your food.