It’s not often I get to sneak away for a lunch time date with my husband, in fact, it’s NEVER, so when I received an invite to visit CHEFS Cape Town for a midday lunch I knew exactly who I would invite to join me…
CHEFS Cape Town is located on St John’s Street very near to Parliament and the Company Gardens. I arrive a few minutes before they opened their doors at noon so had a few minutes to wander the neighbourhood where almost 16 years ago I used to spend every day of my working life…
One of my very first jobs was in St Johns Street and occasionally Brad and I would meet for a sneaky midday catch-up in the very same street! It felt like a full circle moment meeting up again for lunch know a long married couple with 2 kids!
CHEFS was a far more sophisticated option than our pre-married dating venues and I can honestly say I really love the upgrade!
With the industrial interiors, canteen-style dining layout and open kitchen I loved this space…
Designed for people on the go, CHEFS is the perfect lunchtime location for those looking for healthy food and speedy service! No menus, no waiters, no fancy décor, just three meal choices that change daily.
The concept is simple: each day there are three main dishes (vegetarian, meat and lighter meal options available) and one dessert prepared.
Lunch and dinner are served from Monday to Friday by the Chefs themselves. There are no waitering staff so the kitchen literally do serve them to your table.
The beauty and convenience of CHEFS is that you can check the daily menu online beforehand and then order your meal as soon as you walk through the door meaning that the kitchen get cooking immediately and you have your meal – a main and sides served on a Chefs tray – in front of you in minutes! Not to worry if you didn’t get around to checking the menu online… iPads are brought to your table for you to make a quick decision and pay immediately which means that once you’re finished dining you can get up and leave!
The concept of reducing the menu to only three items not only allows the chefs to be faster with their prep in the kitchen, but also more personal with their service and it effectively lowers the wastage in the kitchen.
On our visit we were fortunate enough to be served by Head Chef Jenny Ward who loves to prepare honest and wholesome food using simple traditional techniques and carefully sourced raw ingredients. She loves light foods such as salads and I can saw that the cole slaw side on our tray was certainly the very best I’ve had!
After snapping a few photos we sat down and observed our meal being prepared with lightning quick efficiency in the kitchen just a few metres from our table.
Daily dishes may include BBQ lamb cutlets (bourbon BBQ basted Karoo lamb cutlets with crispy straw chips served with a salad of marinated fennel, cucumber, tomato and wild rocket, mint tzatziki, harissa, salsa and preserved lemon mayonnaise), carpaccio of tuna (seared fresh tuna slice and crispy, grilled prawns with a Vietnamese-style lime, soy, coriander and mint dressing served with a crisp vegetable slaw with green apple and jalapeno, crushed avocado and lemon salsa, lime mayonnaise and wood-fried melba toast) and charred aubergine, tomato terrine (terrine of charred aubergines, tomatoes and baby-leaf spinach with a salad of leafy summer greens, lemon confit, almonds and shaved pecorino cheese with buttered, oregano herbed flatbread, rocket pesto and chilli oil)
Our daily menu gave us the choice of Yellowtail Carpaccio and Herb crusted Wood-roasted sirloin, so naturally we opted to try one of each!
My Yellowtail Carpaccio was served with seared prawns and topped with a Vietnamese style lime, soy, ginger, coriander and spring onion dressing that really made this dish! As I said before the Sesame Summer slaw was incredible and the sides of spiced avocado salsa, whipped lime mayonnaise and wood-fired sesame seed melba really elevated this dish to another level. Incredible from first to final bite.
Brad’s Sirloin was served with baby greens and mushrooms with sides of chips, a leafy green salad with baby gem, shaved celeriac, local aged parmesan and raw almonds along with whipped mustard cream and green chilli oil.
Both meals were beautifully prepared and presented on the unique CHEFS tray…
Dessert at CHEFS is always a set meal and we lucked out with the most incredible Buttermilk Panna Cotta which had the most delicate, creamy texture and the perfect end to our meal.
In terms of drinks you’ll be pleased to know that still or sparkling water is on the house, there’s a daily juice, beer is on-tap and the wine list changes monthly.
CHEFS is a unique space for busy town folk who only have a short lunch hour, but want to access top quality fare without the fuss. This is a quick, hassle-free system that’s really quite refreshing and the food is hard to beat. I have no hesitation recommending this as the next restaurant you need to visit in Cape Town!
Reservations are recommended
81 St John’s Street
Tel: +27 (0) 461 0368
Prices at Chefs reflects the top-quality fare and high-class restaurant vibe the eatery maintains.
Expect to pay around R165 – R225 a meal.
Monday – Friday
12:00 – 15:00
17:30 – 20:30
Images: Kathryn Rossiter