Chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ restaurant empire continues to grow, particularly across the Cape, where he presides over Africa’s best restaurant (The Test Kitchen), as well as in partnerships with The Shortmarket Club, The Commissary and Salsify at The Roundhouse. The PotLuck Club was his second restaurant after The Test Kitchen and is also housed within The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. The two restaurants have led the gentrification of the gritty suburb, south of the Cape Town CBD and helped turn it into a creative hub.
While The Test Kitchen offers diners a lavish 21-course tasting menu that requires a move between two differently-styled spaces to manage the sensory explosion – and has a waiting list that’d be the envy of any restaurant – The PotLuck Club is a far simpler, yet no less robust restaurant.
Housed atop the flour silo at The Old Biscuit Mill, it has near-360 degree views of Cape Town and the two dinner seatings are most desirable, to catch the sun dipping over the harbour as Table Mountain and Lion’s Head merge into the darkening sky. As is the style with most of Dale-Roberts’ restaurants, the open kitchen is prominent, but not imposing. Décor – all his restaurants are styled by his wife, Sandalene – is slick and relatively minimalist. It’d be hard to compete with the views of one of the world’s most beautiful cities from the tall windows, so why try? There is space for 120 diners – and almost every seat is almost certainly spoken for, at each service.
The Asian-influenced tapas menu is divided into sections based on the five tastes: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami. There’s also always a special or two available, handwritten on the checklist-style order sheet. Diners can obviously choose freely, but the highly-trained floor staff will suggest an order for courses to maximise the taste journey, and the kitchen fires out dishes as soon as they’re ready. Central to the kitchen – and, indeed, the menu itself – is a giant Robata grill, which imparts a smoky charcoal-grilled flavour to many elements. From ‘Salty’, expect dishes like Doenjang glazed Tuna; from ‘Umami’: Truffle & Asparagus Tarte Fine; Hoisin & Ponzu Beef Tataki for ‘Sweet’; Ash-Roasted Vegetables with fermented turnip for ‘Sour’ and interesting desserts like an Orange & Olive Oil Cake with Crème Fraiche Ice Cream.
The team behind the bar mix a mean cocktail for the perfect aperitif, and the wine list has some interesting options, which the front of house staff are able to expertly pair with the menu selections. It’s no mean feat to match wines with such varied tapas flavours, but their success rate is pretty high.
For an utterly decadent, but relaxed, experience book a table for Sunday brunch to enjoy a concise menu along the same 5-taste lines as lunch and dinner and bottomless bubbly – with those astonishing views.
Silo top Floor, The Old Biscuit Mill,
373-375 Albert Road, Woodstock