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May 3, 2022

Salsify – Expect the unexpected

With sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and the majestic Lion’s Head as a backdrop, Salsify is an award-winning, top fine-dining restaurant serving up modern, classical cooking in South Africa. Within the richly storied walls of the national monument, The Roundhouse, an opulent culinary journey that is accented by daring décor and whispers of history – a meal at Salsify is unlike any other.

The Chef – Ryan Cole

“My food is understated; I don’t tell guests what they need to look for. It’s the study of the secondary ingredient, there is a mystery in every dish,” Chef Ryan Cole.

Chef Ryan Cole is the Executive Chef and co-owner of Salsify at The Round House in Camps Bay, one of South Africa’s best fine dining restaurants. Well known for his love of fishing and “catching” most of the seafood on his menu, Ryan takes inspiration from the seasons, land and the sea when developing dishes, his ever-evolving menu aptly reflecting these elements in every course.

He draws on the rigours and techniques of classic cooking while remaining unbridled by tradition. This firm rooting in classicism whether it be techniques from Europe, Asia or indeed South Africa, combined with his creativity and fervent dedication to local produce and sustainability sees him cook like few others. Beautiful food, exciting flavours and interesting textures are bolstered by a firm and deep knowledge of cooking, method and process.

As a chef he is constantly in pursuit of excellence, whether it be his sourcing, cooking, team or even how guests are welcomed, he strives to ensure every aspect of his restaurant is constantly improving.

Ryan realised his love of cooking for others at an early age – either cooking at home with his family or making the lunchtime sandwiches for his preschool playmates – he has always had a natural affinity for food.

The Menu

The multi-course menu, driven by the seasons and grounded in technique, pushes boundaries in terms of delicate yet intense flavours, interesting textures, and an unrelenting pursuit of excellence.

Inspired by the nature amongst which Salsify is situated (both of mountain and sea), Chef Ryan Cole and his consummate team have created a series of intelligent, restrained and utterly compelling dishes – with spectacular views, premium wines, chic interiors, and top-notch service enhancing the overall experience.

Fish features prominently – appropriate, not only given the restaurant’s ocean-facing setting but also the chef’s background.

“My father was a career fisherman, and my brother is one too; it’s in my DNA,” says Cole.

All the fish served in the restaurant is either caught by Cole or his brother. Ensuring not only its freshness but also peace of mind that it has been ethically sourced, underlining Ryan’s dedication to sustainability.

In addition to this strong focus on low-impact fishing, Salsify’s, seasonally driven, hyper-local approach is sustainability you can taste. The chef constantly changes the menu based on available produce.

The Location

Salsify occupies the upper level at the historically significant building, The Roundhouse. It dates to 1786 when it served first as a guardhouse and then as a hunting lodge for Sir Lord Charles Somerset, Cape Governor from 1814 until 1826.

Arriving at The Roundhouse, guests pass through the central chamber that hosts the muse, a 1.3m Lady Salsify statue by renowned sculptor, Jan Otto du Plessis, into a luxurious lounge, where they are invited to absorb the historically inspired contemporary artwork by graffiti artist, Skullboy. The art pays homage to the history of The Roundhouse and makes some strong statements about Sir Lord Charles Somerset and his antics.

The second dining room, the ‘Sea Room’ boasts spectacular vistas and is where the distinguished legacy of the space is complemented with touches of modern furnishings and crisp white napery that blends seamlessly to evoke a feeling of old-world charm.

The interior is a magnificent mix of edge and sumptuousness, juxtaposing the old and new, which both honours and challenges the building’s history. Faded vintage rugs on original oak floors, a leather-covered wall, modern upholstered chairs in a mix of patterned fabrics and vintage chandeliers continue the back and forth between history and the building’s current inhabitants.

Salsify is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Booking is essential – email here or +27 21 010 6444 – a deposit of R500 per person is required.

The wine pairing is subject to change regularly due to the limited nature of those featured.

Salsify is located at The Roundhouse, Roundhouse Road in Camps Bay. Visit here for more information.

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