Cape Town restaurant ASH reinvents its menu with sustainability in mind

Meat may have been her game but chef Ash Heeger is going on a seasonal, sustainable, ethical journey that will champion organic vegetables

01 July 2018 - 00:00 By shanthini naidoo

I've closed my restaurant ASH in Cape Town for renovations and will emerge in spring with a new look and feel - fresh, light and produce that is gentle on the earth.
I am steering away from the meat-based menu which we've been known for, to create more balance. There will still be free-range, grass-fed beef, and Sassi-approved fish etc, but seasonal, organic veg which we source from an NGO in Philippi, a township near Cape Town, will feature prominently.
We are also focusing on the sweet side of the menu, like a dairy-free almond milk and honey dessert. The honey is sourced from the West Coast, which is intense with the floral fragrances thanks to the drought. Waterless cooking is a big deal for us.My thinking for the new ASH restaurant is 21 small to large plates, cold and hot dishes but moving away from slow-cooked braises, to more fresh and light meals. Lunch will be a reduced menu, not four or five courses. Dinner will be a la carte and a tasting menu, which will change daily.
One of the most incredible meals I had in New York was at 11 Madison Park, which is #3 on the Top 50 Restaurants in the world. It was traditional Swiss-French flavours, but interesting takes for instance on New York cheesecake, which had a porcini biscuit base, white asparagus and sturgeon custard, topped with caviar. It was brilliant.
I discovered on my trip that South Africa is on a par with trends internationally, which is to have more health-conscious, sustainable menus and traceable farming. Most of the restaurants in the US have rooftop gardens, growing their own vegetables. 
• Ash Heeger was one of the guest chefs who created a dish for the launch of the new Robertsons spice rubs in Cape Town recently. She used the Smoky Brazilian Rub on a sweetcorn polenta dusted with popcorn to accompany beef short rib.

This article is reserved for Sunday Times subscribers.

A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times content.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Registered on the BusinessLIVE, Business Day or Financial Mail websites? Sign in with the same details.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.