Once restaurants were the heroes, then the focus turned to the Chefs, and now the carefully selected ingredients and the people who lovingly produce them, are what’s being honoured by both.
Although in the case of Chef Wesley Randles and The Shortmarket Club, every aspect is celebrated. I spent the most perfect morning visiting the Oranjezicht City Farm with Chef Wesley Randles, joining him for a walk around the gardens as he foraged for organic greens and produce to use in his carefully crafted menu.
Listening to his dedication and respect for the ingredients that he works with at The Shortmarket Club, as well as the passion-infused account of the history of the gardens by the wonderful Sheryl Ozinsky, who is the driving force behind the passion project that has grown to employ numerous people and offer a market each Saturday, which supports the sale of produce from over 200 Cape farmers.
This was followed by an incredible breakfast at The Shortmarket Club, which included many of the herbs collected, delicately used to enhance the servings of poached peaches, and parmesan waffles topped with soft poached eggs, and a brioche with smoked figs that I couldn’t get enough of.
Chef Wesley Randles who developed his reputation under the guidance of Luke Dale-Roberts at Pot Luck Club.
The very inspiring Sheryl Ozinsky, who I have known for 20 years and seen achieve success in every project that she puts her brilliant heart and mind to, shared the details of the farm.
One of the key gardeners, bringing the book that they produced to show us – Oranjezicht City Farm. Food. Community. Connection.
So inspiring to learn about the shared passion and the relationship between Wesley and growers, the nurtured soil and the heart of the good people driving both, reminding of the value of this essential relationship. Wesley and his team visit the garden four times a week and offer breakfast at The Shortmarket Club on Fridays and Saturdays, although you’ll want to get there on any given day, with lunch and dinner always a triumph.
The Oranjezicht City Farm (OZCF) is a non-profit project that celebrates local food, culture and community through urban farming in Cape Town. If you want to wander around on your own, you are very welcome, although guided tours can be arranged. Back at The Shortmarket Club, we settled into the large dining room and stylish atmosphere as the chefs went to work in the open kitchen, exuding a hushed sense of soulful professionalism.
The Brioche with smoked freshly picked figs.
Perfectly poached peaches on goats milk ricotta with honey infused with burnt aromatics such as lavender, cinnamon, buchu and star anise. Chef Wes literally places the hone comb on the selected herbs, melts it with the blow torch and spoons the warm liquid onto the peaches.
This is a gluten free Parmesan waffle with miso mushrooms, soft poached egg, hollandaise and a selection of herbs from the farm.
Honestly, I can’t think of anywhere you’ll find a more delicious breakfast in the city. Note though that breakfast is only serviced on Friday and Saturday mornings. You’ll want to try the rest of their menu and try and identify which ingredients come from the farm, on any day though …
To hear the story from Chef Wesley Randles himself, watch this video.
The Oranjezicht garden is located next to the corner of Sidmouth Avenue and Upper Orange Street, Oranjezicht, adjacent to Homestead Park. Learn more at http://www.ozcf.co.za/. The Shortmarket Club is at the tip of an alluring stairway on 88 Shortmarket Street and Walk-Ins are welcome for Breakfast, Lunch and Supper.
Disclaimer. I was invited to lunch by Manley Communications and hosted by Ian Manley at the Short Market Club. Contact them for any Press queries.
Video by Eden Weiss Videography.