Sea Point is set to sizzle this summer as The Ritz dishes up decadent brunches, lazy lunches and innovative smart dining at this rejuvenated icon of Cape Town’s glamorous Atlantic Seaboard.
Reopened in December 2017 following a multi-million rand revamp, The Ritz is on track to become one of the Mother City’s culinary hotspots, with a collection of restaurants and bars that will keep both locals and in-house guests happy through summer’s hot days and sultry nights.
Flowing from the chic interior to a sun-splashed pool deck, CASA Restaurant & Cabanas dishes up delicious all-day dining. The day begins with a generous breakfast buffet and à la carte offering, before shifting into an approachable menu of inventive brasserie classics from 11am.
“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.”
It’s a globetrotting cosmopolitan menu. 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. Another starter not to be missed is ‘The Ritz’, an eye-catching reinvention of a classic avocado ritz.
In a witty nod to the tropical Martinique wallpaper adorning the walls, ‘The Ritz’ is served in a frozen half-shell pineapple, the pickled radish, pineapple sorbet, and avocado purée neatly balancing the silky Marie Rose sauce and succulent shrimp.
Reinventing the classics is something of a defining philosophy at CASA, says Cook: “We’re taking dishes that everyone is bound to love, and giving them our own Ritz twist.”
A perfect 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. Watching your holiday budget? There’s also a free-range beef burger with emmental cheese and crispy bacon to take care of hunger pangs.
“We want our guests to have the luxury and experience of dining in a world-class hotel, while enjoying great value,” adds Cook. “A lot of locals aren’t accustomed to experiencing restaurants within hotels, but we believe CASA is going to change that.”
The sun-splashed pool deck is sure to be a draw card, with all diners enjoying full access to the sparkling pool and facilities. Whether seated on the terrace or ensconced on a lounger, it’ll certainly be hard to pass up on the inventive range of stone-baked thin-base pizzas, or a platter from the extensive sushi menu. Here the options include everything from classic California rolls and expertly sliced fresh sashimi to innovative rolls of crunchy rock shrimp tempura.
And to drink? Aside from the selection of signature cocktails and local craft spirits, the wine list offers an impressive range of leading local estates, with a variety of wines available by the glass. Fancy something international? Order a bottle of Whispering Angel rosé from acclaimed Côtes de Provence producer Chateau d’Esclans. CASA is also home to a sparkling poolside Champagne Bar, with proudly South African Méthode Cap Classique as well as champagne.
While CASA makes a fine destination any day of the week, The Ritz is set to shake up Sundays in Sea Point, with its decadent Sunday Brunch.
From 11am until 5pm each Sunday the marble buffet table will be 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 – it’s an ideal destination for a cool family day out.
“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.”
High above the pool-deck, however, relaxation has been swopped for refinement.
Perched on the 23rd-floor, Top of The Ritz – the only revolving restaurant in the Western Cape – has long been a destination-restaurant in the Mother City; a place to pop the question and mark milestones. After a dramatic rejuvenation, and with an innovative new menu on offer, the restaurant is set to reclaim its title as one of the most sought-after gourmet destinations Cape Town has to offer.
The gastronomic experience begins in the 22nd floor Champagne Lounge, a seductive space where canapés and bubbly are served with a side order of sparkling city views.
Moving upstairs, it’s an equally opulent setting. Think black velvet bucket chairs, and starched white napery adorning tables decked with imported Philippe Starck lamps and fine stemware. Every table enjoys ever-changing views of the city, as the restaurant rotates through a full 360º every 62 minutes.
While the views are impressive, you’ll be hard-pressed to draw your eyes away from the plate, as Cook and his team of talented 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.”
The amuse bouche is – of course – a modern take on the classic Avocado Ritz, here presented on marble offcuts upcycled from the hotel’s renovation. Later, a palate cleansing sorbet is fashioned from Cape Gooseberries, while main course options pay homage to the ocean, countryside and wild places surrounding the city.
‘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.
“For a culinary experience, I believe diners like to push their boundaries, they want to try something a little more adventurous,” smiles Cook. “Our seven-course ‘Journey’ isn’t about smoke and mirrors, but authentic flavours presented in a refined manner.”
Wine recommendations are offered for each course, and the flavour journey is mirrored in the bespoke wine list offered at Top of The Ritz, explains Ismail:
“The wines are categorised according to the wine-growing regions of the Cape, allowing diners to discover the diverse terroir of the Western Cape vineyards while they explore the flavour inspirations of Cape Town.”
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).
There’s certainly no shortage of flavour or inspiration on offer at The Ritz this summer. Whether you’re planning lunch at the poolside or an elegant evening ‘up top’, the talented chefs at The Ritz are certainly turning up the heat in Sea Point this summer.