Chef Ryan Cole and his team build on their background of modern, classical cooking in this Refined dining houses in a national monument Expect the unexpected. Within the walls of The Roundhouse, a heritage building that has assumed many faces over its storied past, guests pass through the central chamber that hosts the muse 1.3m Lady Salsify statue into a luxurious lounge and absorb the contemporary, historically-inspired artworks that fill the interior. The first dining room, aptly named the “Leather Lounge, exudes a feeling of comfort and opulence, with floor to ceiling leather-clad panels and an inviting fireplace. 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. An opulent culinary journey accented by daring decor and whispers of history- a journey with Salsify is unlike any other.
'secondary ingredients make the hero sing' Chef Ryan Cole, after four years of flexing his culinary muscles with prowess at The Test Kitchen, made the move with Luke Dale Roberts as his partner, to Salsify The Roundhouse. Décor combines now and then, and the views are supreme. Here he is even more fulfilled, "I am cooking for my own customers. This is very much me, there is still pressure, but it is different. I want to do different, so I look around me. I learnt foraging from Chris Erasmus, and nature here is all around," claims Ryan humbly. Here he has the mountain backdrop and the sea, so expect elements of both to feature. Limpets taken from the rocks nearby then poached in dashi could form part of his delicate yet tasty amuse bouche. Expect the unexpected...and not only in the superlative cuisine. Wine pairings are thought-provoking but when explained and experienced, make perfect sense. Provenance is of paramount importance, and true understanding of an ingredient works both ways. "We bring farmers here for a meal, sit them at the table and let them see what we do with their ingredients. Supplier relationships take a long time," he says. Watch out for dishes like the sweetbread wrapped in pancetta with cauliflower and Stanford cheese, or the tender miso-grilled octopus with fennel and white grape, cured tofu, jellied aubergine and salsify chips. Ryan has re-established this previously ignored vegetable as a star. His childhood love of fishing is seen in the expertly grilled langoustine with a subtle shellfish cappuccino resting gently on a bed of crunchy black rice. The scallop with curry, pomegranate and fried onion heralds Cape flavours and showcases this chef's ability to unite secondary ingredients to support the hero. Robust meat dishes like the sticky-tomato lamb rib with toasted-garlic dauphinoise, burnt and braised leek and the slow-cooked pork belly with stewed quince, hazelnut dumpling and celeriac essence demonstrate carnivore expertise. Desserts, like the Salsify chocolate bar with peanut, salt caramel, malt and orange, reference a chef's delicate hand. The rollercoaster ride of the seven-course tasting menu will tempt you to book for a return visit even before you depart. "My food is understated, don't tell guests what they need to look for. It's the study of the secondary ingredient, there is mystery in every dish." Chef Ryan Cole