[spasie] a ‘small space’, with not so small chefs and a long table presents a new underground twist on a Chef's Table, easily found on Church Street in Cape Town. A unique chef led experience with great food and great people.
Greg Zeleny, the man behind secretEATS is also the innovator of [spasie] and is partnered by Nicolas Charalambous, the former right hand of celebrity chef Peter Tempelhoff of The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort. Having launched the [spasie] late last year, they have already hosted a number of well-known chefs including the likes of: Craig Cormack, Sue-Anne Allen from Masterchef, Dylan Laity of Roundhouse, as well as the team from Ellerman House. We were lucky enough to be invited to join the Chef’s Table hosted by Aubergine’s own Harald Bresselschmidt.
Callum, one of the blonde longhaired hosts met us with a very friendly greeting and presented a tasty Ayama Methode Cap Classique welcome drink as we arrived. As soon as you enter [spasie] you can see the chefs at work preparing for the arriving guests of the evening. The venue filled up quickly and soon the welcome room was abuzz with old friends greeting one another and new acquaintances being made. The canapés are prepared in front of you as you stand chatting and on the plate was a collection of various worldwide treats; Quails Egg Benedictine, Masala fish with Moong Dhool and Oriental style Aubergine and Tofu. Everyone present soon devoured these tasty parcels and without further ado we were taken into the dinning room, a long table beautifully decorated and prepared with an eclectic array of chairs surrounding it.
It was now Harald’s time to shine as he took centre stage and introduced himself and the first course of the evening; Thinly sliced Duck Ham with Duck Liver, Celery and Walnut dressing, paired with a 2013 Lismore Viognier. The texture of the duck ham was incredible, just melting in your mouth and the pairing of the slightly woody wine from Greyton, stimulated the flavour of the dish, a rich, crisp wine cutting through the heavy flavours of the duck.
We were treated to another three courses after these introductions to Harald’s style, and they truly stole the night. I have the menu from the night with my notes scrawled over it, as my teachers used to say it looks as though a spider has walked across the page, but I salivate as I think of the creations plated for us. A Saffron flavoured Cape Sea Harvest Soup with Prawn Mousseline on Baby Spinach, was delectable. The Saffron, subtle yet adding a wonderful dimension to the taste profile. Overall a creamy, rich and elegant dish. The restaurant's signature dish was on the menu for the night too; lamb and aubergine baked in strudel pastry, aoili with potato and braised garlic, mediterranean vegetable galette and rosemary jus. A magnificent dish with the juices from the slow grown lamb captured by the baked aubergine enhanced the mind blowing flavour.
For me the final pairing was the pièce de résistance, as I have a certain weakspot for desserts. A bittersweet chocolate tartlet with quince and rhubarb galette and caramel-ginger ice cream. Eloquently served with Adoro Mouverdre (2010) a sweet, yet full-bodied dessert wine, a very wise choice on the menu for those with a sweet tooth.
At the end of the night a tip jar is placed on the table for the waiters, who keep everyone more than happy, topping up wine and dealing with any requests. The tips, as they say, contributing towards their haircuts, yet it would appear they do not.
All in all, [spasie] offers a unique and extremely enjoyable evening, fantastic hosts, mouth-watering food, attentive service and an atmosphere that allows strangers to become friends. It is a winning concept and one that we implore all to experience.
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