The Western Cape has no shortage of great fine-dining restaurants and there’s a reason tastemakers keep their eyes on the winelands. It’s a haven for those who make an event out of food. Even the drive to a winefarm makes the experience a great one.
So when Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg opened his own restaurant, Janse & Co, in trendy Tamboerskloof next to a backpackers in Cape Town at the end of last year, the move was surprising. Janse van Rensburg was lauded during his time at The Kitchen at Maison, in Franschhoek.
Janse & Co functions as a casual fine dining experience, where sublime atmosphere pairs beautifully with terrific food – but nothing is stuffy or overwhelming.
Diners have a choice between two, three, four or five courses when booking a table at Janse & Co. The two course experience starts at R245. Janse & Co democratises the fine-dining experience, which is often an arduous ordeal, including up to seven courses (perhaps even a wine pairing) that can be heavy on the stomach, and the pocket.
Now, a quick business lunch can move out of the chain restaurant and into the world of carefully curated ingredients, presented with heart.
With lunch and dinner slots, the experience can effortlessly transform into a longer affair when the sun sets, where you can sit with good company and enjoy wine from the carefully selected cellar that only features smallbatch wines.
By only using wines made in limited quantities, servers provide a key role to guide you in the right direction when choosing wine andd it adds to the adventure.
Many of the wines on the list I was unfamiliar with, until a Google search pointed out their quality . It also means these wines have a fleeting life at Janse & Co, and the wine you have now might not be there next time.
This is quite special when you omit traditional food and wine pairings from the equation. Janse van Rensburg expertly uses very South African ingredients and flavours like rooibos, buchu and chokka (calamari) in each dish.
Each dish also hits a different note. A salty smoked line fish with sharron fruit and park crackling plate is wonderfully counterbalanced by a creamy Duck liver parfait with quince, granola and green beans.
But vegetarians and vegans can also take part. Beetroot, kelp and creamy Labneh is just as enticing as an earthy choice of potato, avocado, kale and seaweed. The menu is set to change.
Janse van Rensburg will present you not with flavours that plateau, but with each course being a star in its own right.
Many dishes are quite covered, asking the diner to appreciate the food, not the look. The charcoal-coloured restaurants with pops of greens and florals throughout is where anyone can and should feel at home.
- Visit janseco.com