The Ritz in Sea Point has brought two new dining spaces to Cape Town’s bustling culinary scene – CASA Restaurant & Cabanas and Top of the Ritz.
CASA Restaurant & Cabanas is set on the ground floor of the hotel on the gorgeous pool deck. “It’s a relaxed space, both indoors and by the poolside, and we wanted the menu to reflect that,” explains Adrian Cook, Group Executive Chef for The Ritz. “We’ve kept the menu focused and simple, ensuring every dish is packed with flavour.”
Entrées run from elegantly plated steak tartare – served with a focaccia twist and smoked aioli – to Rock Shrimp tempura with an umami-packed sriracha/soya glaze. ‘The Ritz’, an eye-catching reinvention of a classic avocado ritz, is served in a frozen half-shell pineapple with pickled radish, pineapple sorbet, avocado purée, Marie Rose sauce and shrimp.
“We’re taking dishes that everyone is bound to love, and giving them our own Ritz twist,” says Cook. An example is the main course of peri-peri chicken. The chicken is cooked sous vide in home-made peri-peri sauce, before being crisped up in a Pira charcoal oven imported from Spain. Other meaty mains taking a turn in the fiery oven include the char-grilled rump with house chimichurri, Karoo lamb ‘lollipops’, and a succulent Wagyu beef burger topped with mature cheddar. There’s also a free-range beef burger with emmental cheese and crispy bacon. The menu also offers a range of stone-baked, thin-based pizzas as well as an extensive sushi menu.
On Sundays, there’ll be a decadent Sunday Brunch from 11AM to 5PM, with the marble buffet table piled high with platters of sushi, sliders, stone-fired pizza and a selection of classic dishes from the à la carte menu. With the Sunday Brunch buffet priced at R250/R95 for adults/children – and kids under five eating free.
“We really want to make it accessible for families to join us,” notes Omayya Ismail, Food & Beverage Manager for The Ritz. “We have a separate children’s play area and all diners have access to the hotel pool, so we think it’s the perfect way for parents and their kids to relax on a Sunday.”
The fine dining Top of the Ritz, the only revolving restaurant in the Western Cape, is perched on the 23rd floor. Here, Cook and his team of 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,” 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. “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.”
Dishes include a modern take on the Avocado Ritz as amuse bouche, and a palate cleanser of Cape Gooseberry sorbet. ‘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.
The seven-course ‘Journey of Flavours Through Cape Town’ menu is priced at R850 per person, excluding beverages. Children over the age of twelve are welcome (no children’s menu is available).