For dinner we sat in front of an open window, still facing Camps Bay in the dark of early evening, in a cozy open air dining room with white ceilings, wood floors, and ceiling fans enveloped by the soft sounds of conversations at neighboring tables. A gas lamp at our table was a gentle reminder of the building’s historic status (we saw nothing of the resident ghost).
A pleasant team of efficient, polite, and well trained Zimbabwean staff looked after us with evident pride in their work. From the hot out of the oven bread at the start to the lighter than air chocolate and mango souffle dessert and cheese platter the meal was a delight. We said as much to relief executive chef PJ Vadas, who we had met on our first visit, when he made the rounds of the dining room, greeting guests warmly.
Dinner at The Roundhouse was one of the highlights of our most recent trip to South Africa. A combination of a romantic setting in a historic building said to be haunted, panoramic ocean and mountain sunset views, attentive and efficient service, a location within easy reach of the city center and a refined well prepared and well presented meal with wine pairing contributed to the overall outstanding experience.
Established Although the restaurant was in a historic building dating back to 1786, it opened as a restaurant June 2008.
Executive Chef Eric Bulpitt
Handicapped Access The restaurant had handicapped enabled restrooms.
Head Sommelier Wayve Kovelsohn
Location The restaurant is 4.9 kilometers from central Cape Town
Managers Clifford Kafesu and Shingai Gwatidzo
Managing Director And Relief Chef PJ Vadas. Prior to joining The Roundhouse, PJ Vadas worked in the following kitchens: Roger Verge in France, Connaught Hotel in London under Angela Hartnett, The Cape Grace in Cape Town, Gordon Ramsay in New York and The Vineyard in Newbury.
Owned Fasie Malherbe, Dale Den Dulk, and Paul Rowett
Pastry Chef Ingrid Betton
Size The 140 square meter restaurant, situated on a 42-hectare lot, could accommodate 60 guests and employed 50 staff.
Type Of Restaurant The restaurant served Modern European cuisine using fresh locally sourced ingredients
Wine And Alcoholic Beverages The restaurant had an extensive South Africa wine collection. The head sommelier set out to provide beverages as an addition to the dining experience and an experience in their own right. Staff strived to provide guests with wines “that are balanced, both in terms of harmonious flavours and in terms of sustainable practices. As with our cuisine, locality is an underlying principle.”
The Roundhouse had a wine list focused on terroir, balance, and a strong emphasis on organic and biodynamic practices. The wine list had been structured according to an appellation system, the South African Wine of Origin System, and was under constant development. Wines that did not have South African equivalents were also included. The restaurant had a collection of 130 whiskies. There were international still and sparkling wines on offer as well.
We had a five course menu with wine pairing beginning with pretty to look at and flavorful dishes: Organic vegetable patch, raw and pickled with mushroom soil and herb emulsion served with 2010 Hermanuspietersfontain savingon blanc No 5 for my dinner companion and a rich White bean veloute with sourdough, chicken and carmelised pear with 2009 Graham Beck Bowed Head chenin blanc for me.
Next there was perfectly cooked and tasty fish for both of us, a Farmed cob with sea lettuce, pickled mussels and beurre noisette emulsion with 2010 Bouchard Finlayson Sans Barrique chardonnay for my dinner companion and an Olive oil-poached salmon trout with charred peaches, cucumber, kohlrabi and ponzu served with 2010 Zorgvliet Five-Thirty-Five for me. Next, we both had outstanding Celeriac roasted in goat’s butter, juniper puree, cider fermented apple and hazelnut milk. The dish offered a good combination of tangy, nutty and cheesy flavors.
A foamy cauliflower palate cleanser, served in preserve containers, with a hint of spiciness arrived after the fish. Then we were served well prepared meat dishes. Slow cooked lamb rump and brisket with pea puree, mint, young garlic and pickled elder flowers with 2010 Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak pinot noir for my dinner companion; and Chalmar rib eye with shallots, leeks, leek flowers, pickled baby onions and lemon thyme oil served with 2009 Ken Forrester The FMC for me.
For pre-dessert the chef sent out citrus sorbet over chocolate crumbles. For dessert there was Mango soufflé with milk chocolate ice cream served with Juice Box Peach Juice with non vintage Graham Beck for my dinner companion and a cheese platter selection of three Western Cape cheeses with 2009 Ken Forrester “T” NLH for me.
The final touch were bite size morsels of delicate marshmallows, tiny crunchy meringues, and chocolate mousse terrine.
Number Of Visits Two
Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle
Photos by Gary Cox
Service The staff members that looked after us, although intent on their work and busy with a full dining room, were helpful, knowledgeable, attentive without ever being intrusive and discreetly friendly. They were Clifford, Collins, Eden, Nyasha, and Sherwin. It was a seamless meal.
Would You Dine Eat There Again-Recommend It? Yes