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Chef duo turn to internet to fund new Cape Town restaurant

Neil Swart and Anouchka Horn are hoping to raise R600k via crowdfunding to make their dream of opening a nose-to-tail eatery a reality

16 August 2017 - 12:44 By Dave Chambers

By 2pm on Tuesday, Neil Swart and Anouchka Horn were 3.2% of the way to opening their second restaurant.

Since 2012 the business partners have run Arugula Bistro in Welgemoed and they have their eyes trained on Cape Town's city centre for their next project, a nose-to-tail restaurant called Belly of the Beast.

They need R600,000 to make their dream come true by the end of the year and have launched an appeal on the Thundafund crowdfunding website - believed to be a South African first for a new restaurant. So far 23 people have pledged a total of R19,225.

"We are looking for a new opportunity where we can showcase our finer cooking talents to a broader audience," said Swart. "This new venture will offer us a permanent platform where we can be creative and experiment with flavours on a daily basis.

"Our vision is a restaurant that seats only 20 guests per serving. Our idea is to create a food and wine experience that will include a set menu. Our dishes will be made daily using only the best and freshest local ingredients.

"We want to offer our guests the same feeling they would get from coming for dinner at our house. We will not just be serving food, but telling stories and personally interacting with our guests. We love food and people and we want to combine the two.

"The restaurant will have no menu and  the courses will range from five to eight, depending on the fresh produce we can get  on the day."

Swart and Horn met as students while working at Terroir, the restaurant at De Zalze in Stellenbosch. "We instantly became great friends and soon discovered we also share similar passions like music, food and our philosophy on work and life," said Swart.

"My speciality is meat and I have been hunting and working with all types of meat since my early childhood. Anouchka is a pastry master and her ice cream is insane. She makes every single batch with its own unique base from scratch."

Rewards for early backers of Belly of the Beast include cooking classes, private parties and even a Fokofpolisiekar "unplugged" show at Arugula Bistro.

• This article was originally published in The Times.