I’ve recently become a fan of a couple of local food blogs. They whisper tantalising rumours about interesting food-related events and funky restaurants that are the Next Big Thing. They mouth off about places that have sunk into mediocrity. They also have a funny habit of forming their own little in-circle where they all get obsessed with the same places and things at the same time (possibly because Cape Town is so small that these guys are actually a tight circle of mates who get together and do the same things at the same places). One of the names I’ve heard dropped over and over is Cookshop – a little place in Hatfield Street opposite the Jewish Museum.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I happened upon this invitation via The Foodie:
Cookshop has a passionate, near-evangelical following among folks that work in the CBD. It’s pretty much home-cooked food, a fresh menu daily, with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal, organic and sustainable food. Ammy, the cook, blogs her daily menu on the website, and it’s delicious just to look at it.
So on a whim, Lara and I went along. I’ve never been to such a thing as a dinner club (or supper table) but this was a wonderfully special first time. The little daytime cafe had been transformed into an intimate evening venue, with the daytime courtyard cosily enclosed around a single long table. Inside, long strands of handmade pappardelle hung behind the counter for the main course, and the smells hinted at delights to come: a ragu that had been simmering softly for 5 hours or more; the buttery smell of short pastry for the after-dinner biscuits that accompanied the vanilla-poached pears and some heavenly cheese.
The genius bit about such an evening is the element of surprise. We already knew the menu, but the surprise came in the way Ammy prepared and presented it, and in experiencing food prepared and offered with much love and care. The company is also a wild card – we sat and conversed and shared bread and wine with people we might not otherwise have encountered.
The only shortfall of the evening was the seating – long wooden benches are fine for a quick-grabbed midday lunch, but they get uncomfortable for a slow dinner, without a chair back to recline against. Still, it was a gorgeous experience, and I’d certainly go again. I’d also get Ammy to cater an event in a flash; she’s delightful, and so is her food.
Love Lisa x