When it comes to planning an itinerary, I am one of those people who always believes there is time for just one more experience. You know, that one that you would be utterly miserable about missing out on. Well, our recent visit to Cape Town was exactly like that – a jampacked four-day itinerary filled with as much flavour, fine wine, fashion, fine dining and flair, including dinner at Chef Luke Dale Roberts’ Salon Pot Luck.
Our itinerary saw us watching a movie at The Galileo open-air cinema at the Kirstenbosch Gardens, staying at MORE Family Collection’s Cape Cadogan, as well as Newmark’s Victoria & Alfred Hotel and The Onyx. It had us up before dawn for a sunrise experience on Signal Hill and fitting all things pretty at Kat van Duinen and TDW Emporium. It even had us speechless at times, with spectacular views from the recently moved Cape Wheel. Of course, it also included some wine tastings, but this time at truly inspirational wine farms like De Toorn and the Cap Classique-focused Le Lude. For the fun of it, we also added drinks at the Secret Gin Bar, as well as some spa spoils, wine tasting and a delightful lunch at Steenberg.
Like me, Chef Luke Dale Roberts also seems to take a lot out of his travels. In this case, the proof is literally in the pudding (and everything that precedes it) as he incorporates his experiences in the experiential dishes he comes up with.
While everything on our Cape Town itinerary was a highlight in its own way, Chef Luke Dale Roberts’ Pot Luck Club was something truly special. This second-floor eatery, located at The Old Biscuit Mill, was my first encounter with the famous South African chef’s flair with food. I had heard about his intense attention to detail when it comes to plating, as well as his restaurants’ ever-popular interiors. In truth, it’s that and so much more.
As we arrived, we were escorted down a golden, LED-lit tunnel – the perfect start to your Salon Pot Luck journey. That obviously got us sidetracked as we (and undoubtedly any other explorative foodie visiting for the first time) just had to capture the moment. The entrance alone seemed to set the bar quite high, elevating our expectations even further. Inside, a dark interior and clever lighting had us in awe. Small touches like vintage-style menus, tinted glass dividers, emerald-coloured curtains, velvet couches, leather chairs and elegant chandeliers transported us to a former era. Even the bar had a heyday kind of vibe attached to it, with large, golden lamps on the counter, complementing the rest of the space.
Salon Pot Luck is all about drinks and small plates for sharing, with both booth seats and open tables that can be booked. There are currently two menus available – The Journey and The Explorer – both showcasing chef Luke Dale Roberts’ evolution and destinations that influenced him on his journey as a chef.
We opted for bubbly and oysters to kick off the evening – something I have grown to enjoy, especially when I am at the coast. Honestly, I’ve never had oysters that fresh. I soon realised that Salon Pot Luck is a restaurant where the term ‘slow dining’ comes to play and where you must pause and appreciate each dish before stumbling onto the next. Later, we got to choose from a selection of tartelettes. These included options like Smoked Snoek and Tofu, which came with a hollandaise sauce and compressed green apple, as well as the Gateaux, consisting of forêt noire, foie gras mie cuit, cherry and hibiscus jelly and a 100% dark chocolate disk. We chose half a portion of the latter, since it was so rich, but it could not have been prepared (or plated) any better. Finally, dessert came in the form of three cheeses, served with grapes, preserves and lavash.
Salon, as it’s lovingly referred to, is the kind of dining destination where the menu is bound to change regularly. In fact, the items we got to indulge in might have been replaced by some even more extravagant choices already. One thing is certain, though, and that is that the quality of cuisine, the ambiance and the amount of passion displayed on every plate, is what makes the Salon Pot Luck experience so unique.
Had we missed out on this part of our Cape Town itinerary, I certainly would have been terribly miserable, that’s for sure.