Jacques Erasmus and Hemelhuijs, the home of Cape Town’s most sophisticated explorations in traditional Cape farm cuisine, have finally brought some of their culinary magic to Johannesburg. Hemelhuijs and So Yum have collaborated to present Hemelhuijs x So Yum, a new offering anchored by Hemelhuijs’ famous breakfast menu served at So Yum’s Hyde Park premises.
Hemelhuijs x So Yum was prompted by So Yum’s recent move to a new, larger and more central position upstairs at Hyde Park Corner, the grande dame of Johannesburg’s boutique shopping destinations. Jacques and Ernst Fischer, owner of So Yum and various other Asian restaurants, had long joked about collaborating, and So Yum’s move presented them with the ideal opportunity.
While So Yum is offering a small Asian-inspired breakfast menu including little-known dishes such as soft Japanese rice porridge and a selection of Asian omelettes, the central breakfast offering is from Hemelhuijs.
Johannesburgers will welcome Hemelhuijs’ freshly crafted, gem-bright juices and its well-loved signature breakfast dishes. Favourites such as traditional soft “mieliepap” served with local honey and salted butter and toasted “mosbolletjie” loaf with cultured cream and hand-made jam or marmalade tease the palate with their nostalgic associations presented with contemporary refinement.
From lunch on, the menu’s emphasis tips back to So Yum, albeit with a selection of So Yum x Hemelhuijs salads which can be constructed on bases such as the delectable papino, orange and shaved fennel with fragrant leaves and honey-lime dressing, or raw shaved vegetables and pear, beetroot and Japanese dressing. So Yum x Hemelhuijs will also serve a selection of their Cape Town counterpart’s paradisal cocktails.
Hemelhuijs’ café-style home in the chic historic district of De Waterkant in Cape Town is known for its whimsical but exquisitely conceived interior decoration, beautifully presented conceptual seasonal menus and stylistic transformations. These aesthetic flourishes will find a more subtle expression in the interiors and menu at So Yum, not to mention in the insertion of a nook at the entrance of the restaurant stocking the sought-after Hemelhuijs Home Collection.
Hemelhuijs’ current seasonal menu and interior theme in Cape Town is inspired by the legendary 18th century Swedish botanist and naturalist Carl Linnaeus, drawing on the aesthetics of his horticultural taxonomy and the beautiful botanical illustrations, engravings and scientific diagrams he produced. Hemelhuijs’ lavishly produced menu is underpinned by the structure and aesthetics of Linnaeus’s work, with photographic imagery styled and presented by Jacques through three-dimensional overlays of seasonal ingredients over Linnaeus’s illustrations, capturing not only the freshness and vitality of the ingredients, but also their botanical genealogy.
“We’ve subtly introduced the Hemelhuijs identity to So Yum with small details and gentle touches,” says Jacques.
The design and imagery on Hemelhuijs x So Yum’s menu card draws on the mothership’s production, and the table décor includes a delicate sprinkling of Hemelhuijs’ aesthetic DNA. Signature items from the Hemelhuijs Home Collection feature on the table settings, such as its gold ceramic spoons and Black Salt, and So Yum x Hemelhuijs breakfasts are served on Hemelhuijs’ original Sepia Collection stoneware crockery.
These items and more are available from the Hemelhuijs Home Collection. The shelves of the calming, graphite-painted corner dedicated to these wares are piled with other ranges such as Hemelhuijs’ Bone Collection, Gold Collection and much-loved Boerendelft. Scented candles, Black Salt and the Erlenmeyer laboratory flasks the juices are served rub shoulders with them.
“In addition to our basic collection, we have what we call our evolved collections, which are more closely tied to and inspired by seasonality and the restaurants thematic and aesthetic transformations,” says Jacques.
The season’s horticultural inspiration also finds expression in a special range of linen printed with imagery drawn from the menu design, including tea towels and napkins.
A specially designed limited-edition iteration of a series of Hemelhuijs’ collaborations with ceramicist Ella Lou O’Meara celebrates the Asian flavour of Hemelhuijs x So Yum. She has hand painted a range of blue-and-white abstract Asian-inflected designs on beautifully oversized tobacco jars. This range complements a related series of large vessels she and Hemelhuijs produced in Cape Town combining classic floral illustration with its contemporary mythology, mixing the scientific and fantastical.
“I am very excited to be introducing our first culinary foray in Johannesburg,” says Jacques, “and I’m delighted that we can collaborate with our old friends at So Yum to introduce our unique flavour to a new context.”
Hemelhuijs X So Yum breakfasts are served from Monday to Sunday 08h00 – 12h00.