Exceptional wine & dine experience at Salsify

The historic Roundhouse property and award-winning restaurant in Cape Town’s Camps Bay recently reopened with an elaborate new look. Salsify restaurant situated within the upper level of the historical building, The Roundhouse, has been given a stylishly eccentric new coat, thanks to the skillful eye of interior designer Jean Francois de Villiers.

A culinary journey of wonder awaits inside

A culinary journey of wonder awaits inside

Striving For Excellence

The refurbishment is but just one of the many ways Chef Ryan Cole and his team are constantly striving for excellence, a constant exchange of inspiration between the 300-year-old building and its young, dynamic inhabitants. A space that compliments and contrasts the chef’s seasonally driven, locally conscious fine dining, expert service and superb wine service.

Chef Ryan Cole

Chef Ryan Cole prefers a seasonally driven, locally conscious menu

The food menu is constantly changing based on seasonally available produce and thus the pairings are constantly changing too. The wine list is a living document, constantly evolving as the team adds new wines for the pairing menu or discovers interesting and exciting bottles, they feel would make for good additions to the list – it’s constantly being updated. A few great wine bars can be explored before heading to an amazing wine & dine experience at Salsify, get the list here.

Food and wine pairing

A constantly evolving wine list means many gems can be found on each visit to Salsify

The Wine List

Choosing wines for the list is a collaboration between Chef Ryan Cole and sommelier Victor Okolo, who both invest a lot of time meeting with winemakers and tasting wine. Further time is then spent working with dishes to see what wines will work for the pairings. It’s very much a team effort.

Sommelier, Victor Okollo

Sommelier, Victor Okollo

Victor joined the team earlier this year and has embraced Salsify’s dedication to fine South African wine. “I’m proud to be working alongside Chef Ryan to showcase these beautiful South African wines alongside our food. Much like our dishes, when it comes to pairings guests should always expect the unexpected.”

There are around 100 wines on the list, however, over 300 different wines are cellared off-site for Salsify’s wine program library. Salsify’s wine philosophy is rooted in building relationships with winemakers and supporting the Cape’s plethora of acclaimed small-scale, independent and respected wineries and winemakers.

The Somerset Room

The Somerset Room

The Setting

The Roundhouse’s scenic setting has been recognized as one of the best restaurants in the country by the Haute Grander Global Restaurant Awards for 2022, awarding it “Best Scenic Setting in South Africa” in the 2022 Awards. The Haute Grandeur Global Restaurant Awards recognize remarkable achievements in delivering consistent, exceptional experiences in the global luxury hospitality industry.

The Sea room with ceramic detailing on the wall

The Sea room with ceramic detailing on the wall

The iconic building, dating back to 1786, is one steeped in history, heritage and intrigue. The fine-dining restaurant has opened its doors in 2018, and sees Chef Ryan serve up modern-classical cooking in the historic space, with sweeping views of the ocean and the majestic Lion’s Head as a backdrop.

The seasonal room

The Seasonal room with Flowers by Opus, Wallpaper by Cara Saven Wall Design

“It’s four years since we opened and we’ve now reimagined the space, building upon its past, and writing the next chapter of the famed roundhouse,” says Ryan. “It’s an evolution of the space, but it stays true to not only the building’s past but also Salsify’s sustainable, seasonal and local ethos.”

The Design Process

The design process started with the selection of two key artworks, namely “The Vandalised Vicount” and “The Damaged Duke”, both depicting 18th Century figures – the likes of whom would’ve been like the guests of the then-master of the Roundhouse, Cape Sir Lord Charles Somerset. The prints complete with elaborate illusion frames have been defaced by spray-paint, with vivid orange and electric line across each of their respective faces.

The Damaged Duke artwork

The Damaged Duke artwork

The center chamber and the heart of Salsify houses Jan Otto du Plessis’s 1.3m Lady Salsify, the half-gamebird, half-woman sculpture, under a golden ceiling illuminated by a vintage chandelier, surrounded by antique-aged mirrors. It’s a space that acts as a breather between the elaborate rooms.

Lady Salsify by Jan Otto du Plessis

Lady Salsify by Jan Otto du Plessis

The pre-dinner lounge has been converted into a private dining room – the Somerset Room – and is where you’ll find the restaurant’s impressive wine collection rubbing shoulders with“The Damaged Duke” and a third Prince and Rebel piece titled, “A Little Party Never Hurt Nobody”, the Gatsby-esque quote spray painted in bright yellow onto a Regency-era inspired artwork.

A little party never hurt nobody

A little party never hurt nobody

The Seasonal Room brings the outside in and pays homage to the chef’s focus on sustainability and locality. Opus Studio has created a hanging floral ceiling installation, creating a forest-like illusion. Both ceiling and wall panels will change throughout the year, evolving in line with the seasons.

The main dining room – The Sea Room – features a huge Louis De Villiers interpretation of Lord Somerset and the sea views and golden dazzle of the sun hitting the ocean reflected in the room, is a memorable wine and dine experience.

The Private Dining Room & Cellar

Says Chef Ryan, “After the refurbishment, we now have a beautiful private dining room and cellar, where we are very much looking forward to hosting winemakers for curated and carefully paired dinners. Many a day at Salsify involves a visit from a winemaker or rep and a tasting of their wines. Having built close and long-lasting relationships with many of South Africa’s leading winemakers, Salsify is lucky to have access to back vintages, limited releases and limited run bottles.”

He says they are proud to have some rare wines and older vintages. “The Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 1977 is one of the wines we’re very proud to have included on our wine list. We also are very lucky to have some older vintages of the world-renowned Klein Constantia Vin de Constance, amongst other superb wines.”

The Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia

The Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia

Chef Ryan’s pan-fried kingklip, asparagus and spring onion salsa with baked black rice

Pan-roasted linefish, baked black rice, spiced lemongrass cream

Pan-roasted linefish, baked black rice, spiced lemongrass cream

Kingklip ingredients

1 loin of kingklip (roughly 1kg)

100ml canola oil

Maldon salt to season

wedge of lemon

20g butter


Portion your kingklip loin into 4 portions of 200g each. Heat your pan to hot. Add 70ml oil to the pan and season the kingklip.

Pan roast the kinglip over a medium high heat for 3 to 4 minutes to golden brown flip over

Add 20g butter and fry until the butter begins to foam. Season with lemon juice.

Asparagus and spring onion salsa

2 bunches spring onion

1 bunch asparagus blanched for 30 seconds, refreshed in ice water slice rounds as thin as you can

1 lime zest and juice

30g basil chopped

15g palm sugar grated

10g coriander chopped

Maldon salt to season


Cut the spring onions in half, season with olive oil salt and lime juice. Roast over a hot fire for 2 to 3 minutes. Allow them to cool and then chop. Mix ingredients together.

Red onion dressing

1 red onion peeled and finely chopped

60ml peanut oil

20g palm sugar

Pinch salt

2 cloves garlic peel and chop

20g ginger peel and chop

50ml sake

2 thai curry leaf chopped


Heat a medium sized pan. Add the oil to the pan. Toast the ginger and garlic until golden brown and then add the onion. Sweat until translucent and then add the sugar, sake and curry leaf. Cook until dry.

Baked black rice

200g black rice soak for 30 minutes prior to using

1l vegetable stock


Cover the rice and stock in a Dutch oven with lid on bake for 1hour at 170 degrees Celsius.

Mix the red onion dressing through the baked rice once it’s cooled.

Lemongrass velouté

1 tin coconut cream

1 can coconut milk

2 lemongrass microplaned

1 onion sliced

1 clove garlic

30g ginger

100ml sake

100ml mirin

10g palm sugar

60ml coconut oil

10g coriander leaves

10g basil leaves


Heat the oil, sweat the onion, garlic and ginger until golden and then add the sugar and alcohols. Reduce by half and add the coconut milk and cream, bring to the boil.

Infuse the herbs for 5 minutes and then hand blend with the lemongrass and pass through a strainer.

To assemble

Use a shallow bowl or plate. Place the rice at the bottom of the dish. Scatter salsa around the rice.

Place the fish on top of rice. Pour 50ml velouté around the fish.


It's all in the details

It’s all in the details

A feast for the senses awaits at Salsify

A feast for the senses awaits at Salsify

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BY Maryke Roberts | October 14, 2022

Maryke is an award-winning, Cape Winelands based journalist who has been writing about local and international wine and travel for over three decades. When she's home, her days are almost exclusively concluded with a walk on the beach and a glass of South African fine wine or spirits.

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