A couple of weeks ago, Elzaan and I were invited to lunch at Roast and Co just off Bree Streets famous culinary strip! Luckily we skipped breakfast and arrived at this new mono menu restaurant hungry! For those of you unfamiliar with the mono menu concept let me explain. You know that feeling when you sit down at a restaurant staring endlessly at the menu without a clue on what to order? Well, this is the opposite of that, they simply make the choice for you by only offering one thing – “Hope you’re in the mood for Chicken, cause that’s what we’re cooking up here!”
Not surprisingly, Roast and Co is the sister restaurant to Cape Town’s infamous mono menu establishment HQ restaurant where you can get anything you like as long as it’s Sirloin and fries. Personally, I love this concept and Elzaan and I are major fans of HQ. The sirloin and fries topped with Café de Paris butter has never dissapointed in the 4 years I’ve been going there. We try hit their Tuesday date night special whenever we can – 2 glasses of wine, 2 salads and 2 steaks with fries for under R300. That’s the whole bill. Yes, for 2 people. Did I mention the fries are bottomless?
Okay, sorry, I digress, this isn’t a review on HQ, but it is right next door so I thought it worth a mention. So where were we? Oh yes, the mono menu. I love the idea of a restaurant deciding to do one thing and doing it incredibly well. It takes all the guesswork out of ordering and makes the food a destination.
It stands to reason then, that the menu is relatively simple. Choose your chicken, now choose your sides. Okay, it’s not that simple. There is also a selection of about 6 starters to get you going, all of them a modern twist on some South African favourites. We decided to go for the deep fried mac ‘n cheese and the chicken caesar croquettes. Mostly because they were deep fried and also, who doesn’t love mac ‘n cheese anything! If you cant already tell from the pictures they were full of crispy delicious goodness. In fact, my mouth is watering just looking at the pics and remembering how delicious they were.
When it came to our main course…or main feast as it were, we decided to fill our table with as many sides as it would hold. Again, the sides take South African favourites like pap and give it a contemporary (and fancy) twist by drizzling it with truffle oil – we do love us some truffle oil. The chickens are all free range Elgin birds, cooked over an open flame on an imported rotisserie stove! The result is an incredibly flavoursome and super moist chicken with a little flame licked flavour – wow, I almost sound like a real food critic there. The sides were all delicious, with the pumpkin fritters taking the cake (no pun intended) for their ability to be dunked in gravy and still retain their delicious crispiness.
The meal was a true a feast and we loved every last bite of this soul food experience. We were only 2, but we imagine a family table filled with people would be a frenzy of hands and plates crisscrossing each other as everyone fought over those fritters. It felt a lot like eating at home but with the benefit of not cleaning up afterwards.
By the end of our meal, we were stuffed. Having slowly made our way through a bottle of Warwick First lady Sauvignon Blanc, we thought we would end on a cocktail or 2…and possibly a dessert. Okay, so clearly we weren’t that stuffed, but cocktails and dessert go to a different part of the stomach. What? You didn’t know that? It’s science, look it up.
Having just returned from Mexico, the churros with caramel dipping sauce were an obvious choice. We hadn’t, in fact, had any in Mexico, so this was long overdue. Besides we were on a deep fried frenzy so why stop now? Sticking with the Mexican theme, I ordered a grapefruit Margarita (we had PLENTY of those in Mexico) and Elzaan ordered a smoked mule – not because it was Mexican, but because it sounded delicious. The Churros we really good and we scraped out every last bit of that caramel sauce. The cocktails on the other hand, sounded and looked better than they tasted. I found them overly sweet and just lacking in flavour – In saying that I am incredibly strict when it comes to cocktails.
In the end, we loved the whole experience. We sat on the front stoep overlooking heritage square and enjoying the start of summer. The interior of the restaurant is however far more beautiful, filled with rustic details and a really cosy atmosphere. There’s also a courtyard out back to escape those windy Cape Town days and enjoy a little el fresco dining. We had a looooong lazy lunch and never felt rushed by anyone, the staff and service were all incredible.
I do think the whole farm to table, family style dining approach at Roast and Co lends itself to a larger group over a small one. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great place to pop in for a business lunch, but it’s an even better place for a team lunch. They’re open Mondays to Saturdays from 12 to 12 and you can book on +27 21 424 6372 or drop them a mail at email@example.com
Okay. Bon Apetite and stay fancy.