Absolute deliciousness over at CHEFS

by Karisa

I’ve had my eye on CHEFS (situated at 81 St John’s St in Gardens) for quite some time now…

Sadly, due to some full-time adulting at a corporate gig at present, it escaped me for quite some time as they used to only be open Mon to Fri for lunch.

BUT then an awesome turn of events…  They recently decided to extend their hours to 8:30pm which meant that I could pop in for an early dinner. #HighFiveToThat

The concept behind CHEFS is simple:  honest food made with fresh ingredients  from a selection of carefully sourced suppliers.

Chef Jenny Ward (who has a cum laude qualification from the Institute of Culinary Arts & used to be the sous chef at Bizerca Bistro) creates beautiful dishes which change on a daily basis.  Yes that’s right, there’s a new menu every day.  Don’t you love that?

Each day Chef Jenny will prepare three meal options (a meat or fish dish, a veggie dish & a lighter meal) along with something sweet.  The menu is published on their website by 11am every day, so then you can have a look-see before heading through OR you can just rock up and have a look at the menu on their touch screen.

On the beverage front they do a daily home-made juice or cordial or if you’re looking for something with more kick they also offer a choice of red, white & rose wine or beer on tap.  Filtered still or sparkling water is also included with all meals.  For the coffee lovers, there’s an extra treat – a daily cookie! (which is served with their coffees)

The other notable mention is the no frills, no fuss service situation.  You select your meal, pay at the counter, take a seat, eat & then when you’re ready, you can simply head out the door.  Easy peasy…  Also super efficient if you’re short on time, so perfect for a quick lunch.

Decor wise it’s quite minimal with big windows, communal tables and an open-plan kitchen, but even though they’ve kept things pretty low key, it’s still a warm & welcoming space.  Let me show you what I mean:

My dining parter-in-crime, Leigh, checking out the menu options…

Everything that day sounded too good, so we couldn’t decide…  How do you solve that problem? Order everything. 🙂  Drinks wise I went for the rose, Leigh went for beer and then we also tried their daily juice which was a refreshing lemonade style drink.

The cool thing is that because the kitchen is open-plan, you can also see Chef Jenny working her magic:

Oh and check it out, all meals are served on these super cute bespoke CHEFS trays…

So what did we have?  Well well well…

To start:  Seared beef carpaccio (R165) –  Seared beef carpaccio with quince and parsley mayonnaise. Sweet potato crisps, honey and oregano flatbread. Rocket, pecan nut and shaved Parmesan salad.

Then I had the Pistachio Crusted Linefish (R165) – Wood-roasted linefish with pistachio,lime butter crust. Crushed baby potatoes with herb and mustard vinaigrette. Side salad of raw fennel, baby bean and citrus. Lemon mayonnaise and chilli salsa.

And Leigh had the Wood-fired courgette (R145) – Wood-fired courgette, creamed peas and spinach terrine Wood-fired courgette, creamed peas and spinach terrine with feta, grilled broccolini. Smoky caponata salad with wild rocket. Black-garlic yoghurt, caper and lemon salsa, mint and pistachio pesto with buttermilk lavash.

To finish, we also tried the Macerated figs with vanilla ice cream (R55) – Double cream vanilla ice cream topped with macerated organic figs and honeycomb crumble. Raw almond amaretto tuile.

This was truly one of the best meals I’ve had this year.  The attention to detail (as you can see from the photos above) is insane.  Each tray is a smorgasbord of flavours, nothing is just there as an add-on or afterthought, every little detail adds to the overall experience.  Loved, loved, loved every bite.

Some may feel that it’s a little on the pricey side, but trust me, it’s worth it… I’m going to give CHEFS a top score of  kiss5on my Miss K Kiss-o-Meter scale & I’ll definitely be going back (hopefully soon).

To tempt you further, here’s a menu from this past week:

  • Peri buttermilk wood-roasted chicken (R155) – 1/2 free range chicken with peri buttermilk basting, triple cooked chips with herb salt, raw veg slaw with honey toasted seeds, yoghurt mayonnaise, onion chutney & cucumber salsa.
  • Spiced ceviche (R160) – thinly sliced angel fish ceviche with charred corn, spicy tomato, avocado, wood-roasted lime, apple, mint & baby greens salad.  Wood-fired corn crisps, sour cream & chimichurri.
  • Split pea & spinach falafel (R145) – split pea & spinach falafel with pita bread, baby greens chopped salad with chevre and mint pesto dressing, olive tapenade, tomato chili salsa & tzatziki.
  • Dulce de Leche ice cream swirl (R50) with chefs in-house peanut butter oreo.

I mean how good does that sound??  To pay them a visit, it’s super easy because they don’t do reservations – so you can just rock up.  Just take note of the following:

  • Address: 81 St John’s Street, Gardens, Cape Town
  • Opening Hours:  Mon-Fri: 12pm – 8:30pm


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