Opening the door to something new

Open Door Head Chef - Annemarie Steenkamp hard at work. Image courtesy Open Door.

Open Door Head Chef – Annemarie Steenkamp hard at work. Image courtesy Open Door.

If you’re looking for a contemporary, but relaxed restaurant in the heart of Constantia, look no further than Open Door.

The farm’s history goes back to 1685 when it was granted to Simon van der Stel. After several generations of family ownership, the land was divided up and Tokai Primary School opened its doors on the property in 1902.

In 1917, the current building replaced the original schoolhouse (it was built to educate children of the warders at Porter Reformatory and Pollsmoor Prison). But the school closed down in 1987, leaving the property unused until it was sold and renamed Constantia Uitsig in 2001.

This was when the schoolhouse became a wine-tasting room and The River Café restaurant, which operated until the property was sold again in 2014. Now that Open Door restaurant is open for business, some of the building’s history is incorporated into the current design: from locks on the walls to doors on the ceilings and even a “Headmaster’s Office” near the side entrance.

Inhouse Brand Architects has also created several distinct dining areas. There’s a bright breakfast/lunch room leading onto a spacious wooden deck, a cool lounge terrace for drinks and a sophisticated dining room with a striking Art Deco bar. Next to the main dining room, in the space that used to be a wine shop, a multi-functional dining area is perfect for private events. There’s also a “kitchen table” which lets you watch their chefs go about their work in a state of silent, Zen-like flow.

For our lunch, I started with the roasted pumpkin with curried fritters, seed crumble, buttermilk labne and ginger. For mains, I went with the venison loin with orange sweet potato, puy lentils, pickled cumber and cranberry jus. All five desserts seemed equally tempting, but I was giddy over my walnut and banana bake with dulcey crèmeux and banana sorbet. Sounds like the perfect recipe for winter and beyond.

Call 021 794 3010, email info@opendoorrestaurant.co.za for reservations.

Lemon-butter poached crayfish tale with a kale parsnip puree - just one of the decadent items on the Open Door menu. Image courtesy Open Door restaurant.

Lemon-butter poached crayfish tale with a kale parsnip puree – just one of the decadent items on the Open Door menu. Image courtesy Open Door restaurant.

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