I found myself in a little bit of a moral debate on Thursday afternoon. You see, every now and then I find a restaurant that is so awesome, so different and so undiscovered that I want to keep it to myself. Obviously that selfish feeling didn't last long though, and I am now happy to share with you the hidden gem that is Cheyne's.
With a background as a private chef, Cheyne Morrisby has cooked for some of the biggest celebrities around. Robbie Williams, Kate Moss, Eric Clapton, Jamie Who, Jamiroquai, Blur and more. The man can cook. In his latest venture, he has taken a tiny space in Heritage Square (it only seats 18 people) and opened a funky venue aimed at hosting private functions. With grafitti-art hanging on rough, white walls, a crystal chandelier and exposed wooden beams running down the one side and a modern, open-plan kitchen on the other it is a seriously sexy vibe. The concept is awesome and his success can already be measured by a packed schedule. Evenings are for events, and lunchtimes are often booked out for private functions too. When that is not the case Cheyne sticks three or four items on the menu and runs his space as a restaurant. With food like duck curry, crayfish burgers, a thai-chicken gourmet sandwich, the classic BLT, Moroccan-spiced soup and more he takes simple dishes and dresses them up with creative touches and amazing flavours. To cook such simple things and make them stand out is one of the hardest challenges for a chef. Cheyne has absolutely murdered it.
On my visit, it was a cold (no surprise) and wet (really???) day in Cape Town. I saw bangers and mash on the menu and did not hesitate for a second. Now, I'm all about eating healthy but quite frankly if you're a dude and the weather is what it was you HAVE TO order bangers and mash. If you don't you are not to be trusted. What arrived was perfection: juicy sausages and a creamy mash drizzled with some of the best olive oil I can remember. A lot of credit must be given to Cheyne's suppliers and to taste such simple, honest food was refreshing. The Princess - to her credit - kept it healthy with a sesame-seed chicken breast served with a pawpaw salad and Thai spices. Again, it was basic but executed brilliantly.
The best surprise was still to come. The bill. R40 for the chicken and R45 for the bangers? Seriously? Shut the front door! He could easily have charged double that amount and there are plenty of restaurants that do.
Check out his webiste on www.cheynemorrisby.com or visit his spot at 108 St.Stephen's Church, Bree Street. (It's next to &Union but deserves to be known as Cheyne's, not "that place next to &Union"). Call him on (021) 422-3358.