Vue Shortmarket Rooftop Restaurant and Bar releases their winter menu with a handful of dishes created by new chef Darren Allsopp. This “no rules” menu includes dishes such as oysters, crudo and tartare. Enjoy these meals while also enjoying the view this rooftop restaurant has to offer. From Sunday 30 June, Vue Shortmarket will host its first monthly Late Lunch at Vue.

In Cape Town, Vue Shortmarket Rooftop Restaurant and Bar offers panoramic City Bowl and mountain vistas from its Heritage Square rooftop setting as well as a stand-out menu of winter warmers and globally inspired dishes as well, created by new chef Darren Allsopp. Ideal for easy-going lunches, casual dinners, sundowners, all around grazing and a new Sunday afternoon lunch with a vibe, it’s aiming to be your new neighbourhood restaurant, which just happens to have a birds-eye view of the Mother City.

Vue Shortmarket opened last summer, sporting an urban chic Art Deco-inspired indoor/outdoor space, menu emphasising light wine-friendly dishes like oysters, crudo and tartare, sexy champagne partnership with Piaff — one of France’s newest champagne houses — and of course views for miles. It’s also one of the CBD’s coziest restaurants, by day or night. Whether the winter sun is pouring in through floor-to-ceiling glass doors or the room is gently warmed by heaters on a rainy day, it’s a space that feels comfortable even as temperatures drop.

With the recently joined Allsopp behind the stove and a new pared down menu, it’s coming into its own as a go-to place for food that speaks to the soul. The ethos is around sharing — the view, the dishes and Cape Town as a multi-cultural melting pot. Allsopp is an ideal fit, bringing fresh ideas and varied experience — from fine dining to homey trattoria — as well as a generous heart to the kitchen. “I like to push myself a little out of my comfort zone when it comes to technique and ingredients, but the soul of the food should be always be in one’s comfort zone,” says Allsopp, and in his case, this soul stems from solid food-oriented family memories.

A chef with an interesting pedigree — Isola (a former Italian gem now home to Open Wine), Folk Café and Deli and the upmarket bistro at Durbanville wine farm Groot Phesantekraal – he also founded pop-up wine shop/tasting room The Queen and Peasant, in order to engage more with winemakers. He has worked on a dairy farm, fishery and fishing boat, as well as a butchery. Quality of ingredients is paramount to Allsopp, who personally goes to fish markets daily to procure the day’s catch (always line caught and sustainable), regularly visits farms and actively cultivates strong relationships with suppliers. At Vue Shortmarket, all meat is grass fed and free range, and Allsopp is aiming to run as close to a zero waste kitchen as possible.

Vue Shortmarket is owned by Günter Boisits and Aidan Mautschke. If their names sound familiar, it’s because they also run The Drinkery, as well as The Sandwich Revolution, both also located in Heritage Square. This means that along with the cuisine, you can expect drinks at Vue Shortmarket to be top notch. There’s an excellent selection of spirits and wines, Piaff French champagne at R150 per glass and R900 per bottle, as well as Cap Classique from Boschendal, Vue’s local beverage partner.

There are three ways to experience oysters; topped with lemon and shallot mignonette and a fermented hot sauce; with dashi beurre blanc, a sauce made with house-made dashi broth; with a buttermilk sauce, everything bagel seasoning, and salmon roe. For those who can’t make a decision, you can order a plate with all three.

The crudo selection includes a delicate white-on-white-on-white Tiger’s milk Ceviche; a traditional Nordic beetroot three-day cured trout, with thin slices served with tea-smoked salmon roe, dill crème fraiche, dill oil and crispy shards of trout skin; and an imaginative yellowtail crudo. “We take yellowtail, which is a meaty fish, and treat it a bit like a beef carpaccio, with pink pepper, chilli and lemongrass balsamic and lemon pangratto (toasted seasoned breadcrumbs),” explains Allsopp.

The menu also boasts three beef tartares (all hand minced from fillet). “We wanted to drag tartare into the 2020’s with something flavourful and fresh.” Parmesan and Smoke is a parmesan-rich tartare lightly smoked in a jar with an emulsified café de Paris butter. For an Asian vibe, there’s a ponzu and fermented cabbage tartare, with nori and daikon for crunch and egg yolk on the side. The third option is sliders, with the seasoned meat between small brioche buns, with burnt butter thyme mayonnaise, and mature cheddar lightly blowtorched to keep the meat raw.

A menu highlight is Mushroom Faux-Gras, a play on foie gras made with five species of mushrooms – gable, pine ring, oyster, chestnut and shiitake. This is Allsopp’s meatless mushroom-intense parfait infused with a reduction of port, brandy, sherry and mirin and served with pickled shimeji mushrooms and onion, along with a baby loaf of brioche. Also meat-free are the large arancini, deep-fried balls of arborio rice stuffed with smoked Stanford cheese, and a butternut gnocchi with burnt butter, sage and caramelised pinenuts.

There is no strict structure for the menu. The team want the experience to be as hands-on as possible, with food that is easily shared or served. More than half the menu is cooked in the restaurant’s charcoal oven, including the South African-inspired braaied yellowtail, served with apricot beurre blanc, chakalaka oil and tempura-fried foraged ice leaves.

Confit linefish is juicy and buttery, served with a side teapot of harissa broth to pour over the dish, with homemade zucchini noodles. Another great winter dish are the mussels, coal-baked with beer and chilli, then steamed and served with beer and chilli sauce and homemade focaccia.

The meat dishes start with the family-inspired sirloin; a 250gr sirloin steak, with a side of cheese puff pastry, French caramelised onion and red wine sauce.

There is a beef shin osso buco-style, simmered in white wine and served with gremolata, a traditional parmesan and beef fat biscuit and light parmesan dumplings; a well rendered duck breast with salt-baked beetroot, pickled shallots, port sauce and fermented blueberries for a hint of sweetness, and Allsopp’s slow-cooked pork belly featuring flavours of Northern Europe, with pickled apple, baked radishes, cider sauce and of course, crispy crackling.

There are sides like the Hasselback Bravas, tossed in a spicy buttery sauce; and the Crispy Cauliflowe. A wintry salad of spinach, torched pears, candied walnuts, blue brie and Parma ham goes with a side of focaccia bread.

Desserts range from a Bread and Butter Pudding made with brioche, home-made carrot, lemon and vanilla marmalade, and layered with dark chocolate and chocolate custard and a Bourbon Cremieux stuffed with caramelized white chocolate, served with an apple and ginger gel on a crumble base with white chocolate ice cream. A dark and fudgy chocolate torte is on the menu, as is a small but rich and thick hot chocolate – just chocolate and cream served in an espresso cup.

From Sunday 30 June, Vue Shortmarket will host its first monthly Late Lunch at Vue from 1:00 pm til early evening. “Sundays can be sleepy in the CBD,” explains co-owner Aidan Mautschke. “The idea is to revive the city on a Sunday afternoon, creating a relaxing setting with good music, lunch and drinks with friends”. Look for a similar event on First Thursdays.

Speaking of events, Vue Shortmarket is also an events space for business or personal occasions. The restaurant can accommodate up to 50 people seated with set menu service, and up to 100 people standing with canapés and drinks service.
Vue Shortmarket Rooftop Restaurant & Bar is located at 108 Shortmarket Street, Heritage Square, Cape Town.

Lunch – Wednesday to Saturday and late Sunday lunch
Dinner – Monday to Saturday
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