Restaurant Review

Eclectic combos of ingredients make dining at Janse & Co a food adventure

Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg's fine-dining eatery in Cape Town is relaxed enough for a quick lunch, but special enough for a celebratory night out, too

01 June 2018 - 00:00 By Kit Heathcock
Janse & Co in Gardens, Cape Town.
Janse & Co in Gardens, Cape Town.
Image: Supplied

Back in Cape Town after six award-winning years at Maison Wine Estate, chef Arno Janse van Rensburg is in his element.

His restaurant, Janse & Co, in Gardens is minimalist and chic, yet informal and welcoming – his small plate approach encouraging a sense of adventure and fun. As always, his focus is on the ingredients.

“It’s a similar concept to what I was doing at Maison, but much more refined and focused,” says Arno.

“A lot of work goes into it. The beauty is in the simplicity, how we combine dishes and flavours. A dish might have just two or three ingredients, but that’s where the challenge comes in, making it all come together.”

Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg.
Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg.
Image: Supplied

The menu is straightforward and Arno changes it often, with 20 small plates listing ingredients. You choose your number of courses for a set price and pick any dishes in any order – sharing optional.

Arno gives classic pairings a new intensity, but also pushes the boundaries with unusual combinations of eclectic ingredients.

Take some of the dishes on the current menu, for example, which include Octopus, Sharron Fruit (Persimmon), Coriander, Lime, Curry Leaf, and Lamb, Nettle, Fig.

The team goes above and beyond to make everything in-house, from pickles to charcuterie. And pastry chef Liezl Odendaal maintains the level of creativity in the not-to-be-skipped desserts. 

Janse & Co doesn’t fit into a box. The technique and presentation of fine dining, paired with an informal small plate approach make it casual enough for a quick lunch but guaranteed to inspire and intrigue on a celebratory night out.

This article is adapted from one originally published in Sunday Times Neighbourhood, a must-read property and lifestyle guide. Visit