The remarkable rejuvenation of The Winchester Hotel in Cape Town has brought contemporary décor and coastal chic to one of Cape Town’s most famous seafront destinations.
Keeping in step with the eye-catching evolution of this much-loved locale, the hotel’s restaurant and bar have been beautifully reinvented.
Now known as Shoreditch House, the hotel’s flagship restaurant promises contemporary dining across a menu of shareable small plates and creative main courses. At the adjoining Harvey’s Bar – paying tribute to the rich family legacy of this iconic property – sundowners, classic cocktails and fine wine are the hallmarks.
Shoreditch House draws its inspiration, and moniker, from the vibrant district in London that has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance in recent years.
“It’s a perfect mirror of what we’re creating here at The Winchester Hotel. We want to rejuvenate an absolutely iconic destination in Cape Town, and tap into the fantastic new energy that’s running through the property,” explains seasoned restaurateur Rory Jossel, who has taken over the operation of both Shoreditch House and Harvey’s Bar
“At Shoreditch House we’re not restricting ourselves to a specific style of cuisine,” adds Jossel. “Instead we’re choosing to focus on how each dish is prepared, celebrating South Africans’ affinity for flame, fire and smoke.”
Behind the scenes, the refitted kitchen now includes a custom-built charcoal grill. With variable grids and sufficient space to accommodate a variety of cooking temperatures, the inventive setup has inspired no end of creativity from Head Chef Tim Pick.
Tomatoes are seared and caramelised for the vibrant salad of seasonal tomatoes, feta and red onion. The ‘Dirty Rib-eye’ is sealed in searing hot coals, while the oven-pit cauliflower with chimichurri will please vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.
The menu at Shoreditch House is built for sharing, with a compact collection of creative small plates, tempting main courses and generous side dishes.
If there’s a golden thread binding the menu together it’s a subtle celebration of New World influences, with Asian and Mexican flavours that perfectly balance out the elements of fire and smoke in each dish.
Small plates run from seared tuna tacos topped with Mexican mole and fresh salsa, to a superb springbok tartare tossed in a fragrant Asian dressing and showered with shards of crispy leeks. Mains are meaty in focus, including a beef short rib slow-cooked to succulent perfection and glazed with teriyaki, and a charred line fish served with fresh herbs, fennel butter and yuzu salt.
“There are also a lot of wonderful vegetarian side dishes, which are quite generous, and in combining a selection of those plates vegetarian diners enjoy a fantastic choice of flavours,” says Jossel. “But as we settle into the season, and as the menu expands, we’ll be adding additional dishes, including more vegetarian main course options.”
A contemporary space for modern dining
Shoreditch House can accommodate up to 80 diners, with tables spaced throughout the venue to offer a choice of dining styles.
The bistro-style seating on the spacious street side terrace is ideal for soaking up the bustle of the Sea Point promenade, or admiring the sunset over a selection of small plates and cocktails. Indoors the blonde wood furniture, deep-buttoned leather banquettes and copper trims create a more elegant space for a deep-dive into the culinary and vinous delights on offer. It’s an enigmatic blend of urban appeal and seaside chic.
Shoreditch House also hosts residents and outside guests for breakfast, with a selection of upscale hot breakfast plates alongside a generous Harvest Table buffet.
Breakfast is perhaps best enjoyed in the signature courtyard of The Winchester Hotel, where wrought-iron tables beneath wide black-and-white striped umbrellas provide a charming al fresco option sheltered from the Cape’s notorious summer winds.
“The courtyard is just such a magnificent space,” says Jossel, admiring the flush of colourful bougainvillea flowering in riotous contrast to the monochrome décor. “It’s definitely going to be a popular destination for afternoon drinks, and of course you can order from the Shoreditch House menu in the courtyard.”
Brunch is coming back!
In step with the subtle rejuvenation of the hotel and dining experience Jossel also plans to revive and reinvent the ever-popular Sunday jazz brunches that once brought locals flocking from across Cape Town.
While final plans are still under wraps, look forward to a generous Harvest Table offering prime cuts roasted on the charcoal grill, alongside seasonal salads, fresh breads and decadent desserts.
Across the hotel lobby from Shoreditch House is Harvey’s Bar; the name a testament to the family that have owned The Winchester Hotel for decades.
Alongside sleek Scandi-chic décor and striking wallpaper by design studio Lemon, a sensitive refurbishment has lightened and brightened the new Harvey’s Bar, with glass doors and walls allowing sea views to wash in.
Behind the bar the focus is on classic cocktails done to perfection, while Jossel’s handpicked wine list delves into some of the Cape’s leading boutique cellars, with an extensive selection available by the glass.
“I am passionate about wine, and I really wanted to step away from the same old estates and producers to offer a wine list that’s really inventive, across a range of different and unsung regions of the Cape,” says Jossel.
Complementing the inspired drinks selection is a compact menu of small plates and canapés – think oysters doused in piquant pico de gallo, and bowls of crispy teriyaki-glazed chicken wings – creating the perfect pre-dinner destination.
“At both Shoreditch House and Harvey’s Bar our goal has been to create a menu and a dining experience that will draw diners in every week,” says Jossel. “To make it a place that’s welcoming to Capetonians and local visitors, as much as our in-house guests.”
Judging by the crowds of hungry diners and sundowner seekers in the few short weeks since the re-opening, word is already out about the most exciting new destination on the Atlantic Seaboard this summer.
Directions to The Winchester Mansions
221 Beach Road
021 434 2351