Lunch at Salt River's vibey Table Seven is 'always fresh and always different'
With a menu of seasonal dishes that changes daily, there's something new to look forward to each time you visit this informal Cape eatery, writes Kit Heathcock
A vibey new development in Salt River, Salt Orchard, is becoming a hub of artisan food and other creative businesses.
Table Seven, hidden down a colourful alleyway at the heart of the block, was one of the first tenants, setting up their kitchens and a home-from-home long dining table as a base for their versatile cheffing.
When Luke and Katie Wonnacott returned to Cape Town after four years in Dubai — Luke as head chef of award-winning Ossiano at Atlantis The Palm, and Katie having moved from private cheffing into events management — they were ready to do their own thing.
Table Seven has quickly evolved into a flexible and busy culinary operation — they cater for weddings and other events, consult for restaurants, host private dinners, masterclasses and chef’s tables, and from Tuesday to Friday (unless catering for a daytime event) you can get a taste of Luke’s cooking for lunch.
Lunch is an informal arrangement and as their website puts it "always fresh and always different". There's a chalkboard menu of up to five dishes with customers grabbing a seat at either the long table or the kitchen bar and chatting while Luke cooks. “It helps us stay creative and busy, try out new dishes we’re developing,” says Luke. “It’s very spontaneous, adapting to the days and seasons.”
I tasted rich duck rillettes studded with almonds and cranberries and topped with fresh fig, some home-made piccalilli and toasted bread on the side. Followed by tender chargrilled octopus with smoky caponata — simple, well-balanced and delicious.
“The biggest education you can get is through travelling,” says Luke. “I’ve worked with Italian and French chefs, then my time in Dubai exposed me to Middle Eastern food, so I work with all those influences.”
Through restaurant consulting he’s also steeped himself in Mexican and Asian cuisines, so his inspiration is widespread.
On the menu that day was a superb tuna tataki with an umami broth poured over and carrot and radish salad with ginger and spring onion. We finished off with luscious figs roasted on a rosemary twig skewer, a tang of balsamic vinegar and sweet caramel, plus creamy mascarpone ice cream.
Regulars can sign up for daily lunch menu alerts, and over winter look out for chef’s table evening events. There’s free street parking and 24-hour security around the Salt Orchard block.
• Visit Table Seven at The Salt Orchard, Corner of Briar and Yew Street, Salt River. See tableseven.co.za
This article was originally published in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood: Property and Lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za