Rare wines & shared-dining at Upper Union

Upper Union – An eatery, wine and cocktail lounge opened its doors in a heritage building of more than 125 years old, in the bustling Cape Town Kloof Street neighborhood. It has quickly become the place to wind down with a glass of wine, meet friends for a cocktail or linger longer for dinner.

Upper Union - Eater, wine and cocktail lounge

Upper Union – Eatery, wine and cocktail lounge



A Modern Food Menu

The food menu is a modern, shared-dining concept by Chef Amori Burger.

Upper Union sees the renowned hospitality group, MORE Family Collection’s first foray into restaurants and offers something new. An opportunity to escape, indulge and connect all around good food, fine wines and bespoke cocktails. An experience to be shared.

Small plates paired with wine

The food menu is a modern, shared-dining concept

Exterior seating area

Exterior seating area

The Space

The space, designed by Caline Williams-Wynn of Artichoke Interior Design, draws on the building’s past and sees a modern take on Victorian design. It utilizes a color palette of emerald, black and white with textures of oak wood, slate, brass and marble to great effect.

An array of local makers and artisans were used to custom create a plethora of design elements. From the one-of-a-kind mosaic ‘carpet’ at the entrance and the Victorian-inspired stained-glass windows to the hand-painted custom commissioned tiles, which cover the venue’s five fireplace chimneys, were all made for the space. Check out another trendy Cape Town eatery here.

Design elements

Design elements with a color palette of emerald, black and white

The space

The space

Chef Amori

Chef Amori has previously run the trendy Joburg restaurant Van der Linde, before she moved on to oversee the culinary program at MORE Family Collection’s Lion Sands properties. Says Amori, “Here at Upper Union the style of dining encourages a shared experience. It’s designed to bring people together around a table, inspire conversations, and stir their curiosity to try more. Try new. And try again.”

Unbridled by a singular cuisine, the globally inspired menu features indulgent dishes, split into big plates and smalls. Larger plates are served to share and are best paired with a selection of the smalls. It’s all about punchy flavors packed into hearty dishes and served potluck style.

Chef Amori

Chef Amori

The Wine List

The carefully curated wine list includes some of South Africa’s most awarded small scale and boutique wineries and winemakers. Some of the wines available per glass or bottle, include wines from Alheit, Botanica, Leeu Passant Chardonnay, Beeslaar Pinotage, Rustenberg Cabernet Sauvignon, Glenelly Lady May Cabernet Sauvignon and Klein Constantia Vin de Constance. Shop wines from all these wineries here.

Beeslaar Pinotage

Beeslaar Pinotage

Under the mature cellar selection, guests can enjoy some rare wines such as the Kanonkop Pinotage 2013 and Thelema Merlot Reserve. Shop wines these wineries here.

Leeu Passant Chardonnay

Leeu Passant Chardonnay

A Love For Wine

At Upper Union, the wine list is carefully compiled by the chef herself. With the help of industry experts, winemakers, and wine sales consultants, she tasted through 160 wines before narrowing down the ones that would make the first iteration of the list.

As the list is predominantly comprised of allocation and boutique wines, it has become a living document, with wines changing as wines are finished or new releases peak the chef’s interest. This is an ethos, very much aligned with the chef’s culinary philosophy, which sees the menu change based on seasonality and locality. This locality too reflected on the list with wines sourced from the length and breadth of the Cape’s numerous wine-growing regions.

A love for wine

A love for wine

“The wine list is such an important part of our restaurant. We are so lucky to be serving beautiful food in this beautiful restaurant, surrounded by great people, it only makes sense that the wine list is special too.”

The chef’s love of wine began as a student when she studied at the Cape Wine Academy as part of her Silwood chef’s training and has followed her as she embarked on her restaurant and lodge journey, tasting wines to pair with her food at the MORE Family Collection’s luxury lodges. Of her more recent vinous discoveries, the chef has been absolutely blown away by a pre-release tasting of Glenelly’s famed Lady May 2017.

A space to bring people together

A space to bring people together

“It’s a magnificent and elegant expression of a South African Bordeaux red blend and works so well with our charcoal grilled karoo lamb, which is the main course on our current, seasonal chef’s menu.”, says the chef of the pairing.

Wine, as a key component of Upper Union’s experience, will be showcased through a series of monthly wine dinners, which will allow patrons to meet winemakers and taste new releases together with Chef Amori’s flavorful cooking.

In addition, complimenting the vibey offering is an interesting cocktail menu created by the team at the award winning, Just Short cocktails. The mixologists work closely with the kitchen to create a cocktail menu that aligns with the style of food.

Short cocktails

Cocktail menu created by the team at the award-winning, Just Short cocktails


Harissa & Rose Lamb Rump

Preparation time: 15min Cooking time: 1hour 15min sous vide, 15min

Serves 4


Lamb Rump

2 x whole (+-350g each) Lamb Rumps- Fat scored

20gr harissa paste

2ml rose syrup

2 x small vacuum bags

2gr salt

Bukhara Butter

50gr clarified butter

2gr coriander seeds- toasted

1 x red chili- chopped

5gr curry leaves

2gr yellow mustard seeds

1 clove garlic- chopped

1gr cumin seeds- toasted


125ml chicken stock- reduced by half

80ml cream

1gr turmeric

2gr Baharat spice mix

4gr curry leaves

Harissa Paste

1 x red pepper- roasted, skinned and seeded

½ tsp tomato paste

1gr garlic- creamed

½ tsp coriander powder

½ tsp cumin powder

¼ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp cayenne pepper

½ lemon- juiced and zested



Score the fat on the lamb. Rub in harissa paste, rose syrup and salt. Place into vacuum bag.

Sous vide at 60°C for 45 minutes. Finish lamb rump on a medium heat braai and cook to your preference. We recommend medium rare.


Reduce chicken stock by half. In a separate pot bring cream, Baharat spices, curry leaf and turmeric to a boil. Add cream mixture to stock mixture and bring to the boil again. Strain and check seasoning.

Bukhara Butter

Place all ingredients into the clarified butter and heat together.

Leave to infuse.

Harissa Paste

Roast red pepper over an open flame until charred. Peel skin off and discard. Remove the seeds and stalk. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

To serve:

Place Baharat sauce into the base of your serving dish. Slice lamb thinly. Fan out on top of sauce and finish with Bukhara butter and Maldon salt.

The kitchen created a cocktail menu that aligns with the style of food.

The kitchen created a cocktail menu that aligns with the style of food.

Shop wines from around the world here. Follow Sip & Read for the latest wine news and hottest wine destinations. Cheers!

BY Maryke Roberts | March 17, 2023

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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