The Commissary is a new, exciting approach to pared down, no nonsense, dinner-only dining. It’s under the care of rock star restaurant duo, Chef Wesley Randles and Simon Widdison, and under the mentorship of Luke Dale Roberts, set to shift Cape Town’s cuisine scene.
As if The Test Kitchen, The Pot Luck Club and The Shortmarket Club aren’t enough to keep Luke Dale Roberts and his highly competent crews on their toes, the opening of another cutting edge eatery is sure to set both local and international food wires alight. The Commissary opens its doors on November 1st and is a new pared down, food market-esque concept that The Shortmarket Club Chef and co-founders Wesley Randles and Simon Widdison and their team will head up six evenings a week.
“A commissary is a basic provisions store which you’ll find in the army, hospitals and prisons – and while we definitely won’t be serving prison fare, we’re taking things back to basics in a big way with our new dining venture”, says Wesley.
“I’ve had the idea in my head for a while – a space where people can come and enjoy seriously approachable, affordable food with big, unapologetic flavours”, says Wesley, who together with front-of-house talent Simon Widdison has made a name for The Shortmarket Club in just two years of operation.
The Commissary will be under the same roof as its sibling inner-city eatery.
“I wanted to create something that really epitomises getting back to basics – it’s a no reservations restaurant, there’ll be communal tables in an open plan space, there’ll be music playing and a busy atmosphere. We’ll be serving food on eco-friendly, disposable plates and the most basic cutlery – it’s a cool, no frills atmosphere with small plate, flavourful food taking centre-stage”, he says.
The news of The Commissary comes in days after the announcement that another new concept fine dining destination, care of the growing Dale Roberts restaurant empire opens this October. Salsify, at historical landmark The Roundhouse in Camps Bay, will open with Chef Ryan Cole at the helm and promises to be a boundary-pushing, sensory fine dining experience.
As with Salsify, The Commissary venture is a partnership with multi award winning Chef Luke Dale Roberts acting as mentor and advisory partner and with Wesley, Simon and their team operating the rest of the business.
“Over the years I’ve realised that one of the things that really motivates me is helping team members reach their potential and find their own way – getting to play a part in that journey is so exciting.” Wesley came to me with the idea a while ago and I loved it – it’s a back-to-basics approach to food which really resonates with me and everything I love about food and I couldn’t think of anyone more driven and committed than Wesley to make it work”, says Luke of his 29-year-old mentee.
With space for just 45 diners at a time and a busy, convivial atmosphere, The Commissary aspires to hit a gap in the ever changing Cape Town restaurant market. It’s a fast-paced eatery perfect for 21st century diners with things to do and places to be. The design of the space by the business’ design director, Sandalene Dale Roberts, taps into this busy atmosphere too.
“I wanted to really ramp up the space with colour, it’s the kind of concept that allows for it. Food markets have taken the world by storm and we also wanted to reflect that style of dining and entertainment – you’ll find communal tables with built-in lazy Susans and I’ve also designed chairs that have been printed with pattern and colour”, says Sandalene. She explains that the look and feel of The Commissary doesn’t reflect a specific look and feel: “We’re wanting to encompass a mood we’re seeing everywhere where quirky, interesting details are partnered with great food”.
Expect a small-plate menu, big and bold flavours and a street food influence. Attention to detail, the use of the very best ingredients and a focus on flavour first remain cornerstones for this eatery. “Everything else that’s added is a layer”, says Wesley. The wine list will also be small and carefully crafted.
For local foodies, this concept is a thrilling one and there’s no doubt that getting a spot in this cutting edge new dining destination is going to be a hot seat indeed.
88 Shortmarket Street
Dinner, Monday to Saturday from 5PM to 10:30PM.
(27) (21) 422 2902 / firstname.lastname@example.org