Perched on the 23rd-floor, Top of The Ritz – the only revolving restaurant in the Western Cape – has long been a destination-restaurant in the Mother City; a place to pop the question and mark milestones. After a dramatic rejuvenation, and with an innovative new menu on offer, the restaurant is set to reclaim its title as one of the most sought-after gourmet destinations Cape Town has to offer.
The gastronomic experience begins in the 22nd floor Champagne Lounge, a seductive space where canapés and bubbly are served with a side order of sparkling city views.
Moving upstairs, it’s an equally opulent setting. Think black velvet bucket chairs, and starched white napery adorning tables decked with imported Philippe Starck lamps and fine stemware. Every table enjoys ever-changing views of the city, as the restaurant rotates through a full 360º every 62 minutes.
While the views are impressive, you’ll be hard-pressed to draw your eyes away from the plate, as Cook and his team of talented chefs take diners on a seven-course ‘Journey of Flavours through Cape Town’.
Each dish pays homage to the culinary traditions and heritage of Cape Town. Each dish is inspired by the flavours of the Cape, and some of the dishes that I have enjoyed in my many years of living and cooking in Cape Town. We want the flavours to be true to the original, but we play around with the texture and presentation of every dish. – explains Cook, who says the new menu – with vegan and vegetarian options for each course, on request – offers a unique blend of innovation and familiarity.
The amuse bouche is – of course – a modern take on the classic Avocado Ritz, here presented on marble offcuts upcycled from the hotel’s renovation. Later, a palate cleansing sorbet is fashioned from Cape Gooseberries, while main course options pay homage to the ocean, countryside and wild places surrounding the city.
‘Countryside’ pairs beef sirloin, fondant potato and prego jus in a nod to the city’s ever-popular Portuguese restaurants, while ‘The Karoo’ makes the most of intensely-flavoured Karoo lamb, here mirrored by fynbos-infused croquettes.
‘Ocean View’ is Cook’s interpretation of the humble parcel of fish and chips so popular in the city’s harbourside takeaways. At Top of The Ritz a fillet of local line fish is given added intrigue with potato cigars and kelp crisps; the fronds foraged from local shores before being dehydrated and deep-fried. Only sustainable fish on the SASSI ‘Green’ list will be served at Top of The Ritz.
We love local flavours and what’s so exciting about the new menu at Top of The Ritz is that we get to play with food that is familiar to many diners, but we are presenting it in a new and exciting manner. – adds Cook.
A perfect example of that is the quirky ‘Bread And Butter’ course, which mimics a Masala Steak Gatsby. One of Cape Town’s most popular street foods, here the dish is reinvented with tomato butter, masala steak pâté and cheese spuma.
The Dessert course is equally inventive, with smoked chocolate mousse, white ‘mushroom’ and ‘smoke’ evoking a wintry walk through the forests of Table Mountain.
For a culinary experience, I believe diners like to push their boundaries, they want to try something a little more adventurous,” smiles Cook. “Our seven-course ‘Journey’ isn’t about smoke and mirrors, but authentic flavours presented in a refined manner.
Wine recommendations are offered for each course, and the flavour journey is mirrored in the bespoke wine list offered at Top of The Ritz, explains Ismail:
The wines are categorised according to the wine-growing regions of the Cape, allowing diners to discover the diverse terroir of the Western Cape vineyards while they explore the flavour inspirations of Cape Town.
The seven-course ‘Journey of Flavours Through Cape Town’ menu is priced at R850 per person, excluding beverages.
Directions to The Ritz
Corner Main & Camberwell Roads
021 439 6010