Luke Dale-Roberts opens new restaurantJanuary 5th, 2012 by Susan Reynard | Categories: food, industry, people, restaurants
Luke Dale-Roberts’s new restaurant, The Pot Luck Club & Gallery, opened on 29 December 2011 and is reportedly doing well. The top chef’s latest culinary endeavour is situated adjacent to his award-winning restaurant, The Test Kitchen, at The Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town.
The space combines an eatery and contemporary art gallery, with a menu consisting of a variety of small portions of modern, global dishes. There is also a dedicated cocktail bar and an accompanying list of boutique wines to complement the menu.
Dishes range from classic to fusion, including the chef’s signature Asian-influenced pork belly served with XO dressing, red cabbage and apple slaw; Cumberland sausage and red onion rolls with servings of foie gras served tableside to guests; duck spring rolls; and spiced fish tacos.
Believed to have originated in the US in the 1950s, so-called “pot luck” dinners were evenings that saw guests contributing a variety dishes to make up the food at the social event. Nowadays this is seen as a customary way to entertain but back then it was a novelty and a chance for friends to show off and share their culinary prowess.
At The Pot Luck Club, Dale-Roberts and his chefs are able to share their talents with diners who can order as little or as much as they want off the extensive and ever-changing menu. The selection of “small plates” can be passed around a table for tasting, and are varied and based on what’s available on the day.
“We’ll be cooking some of our dishes on the fly but without forgetting the quality and flavour balances that are everything to us,” says Dale-Roberts of the concept. He and his brigade are looking forward to experimenting and developing their repertoire of dishes.
The establishment features a wall of glossy black metro tiles behind the open plan kitchen and bar, another painted a deep aubergine, a selection of contemporary South African art and details such as sandblasted wooden tree trunks for seating and milled steel tabletops. The artworks are curated by the chef’s fashion designer wife Sandalene Olivier. The first show at The Pot Luck Gallery features works by leading artist Peter Eastman and will open in early-2012.
The idea, says Dale-Roberts, is for people to pop in after work, perhaps for an early bite or maybe a late dinner and to eat as little or as much as they like – plenty of counter seating caters for walk-ins in the mood for impromptu dining or drinks, while the rest of the restaurant’s tables are available for bookings.
On his opening of a new restaurant, the chef says: “To be honest, any businessman will tell you that it would make sense to simply expand The Test Kitchen but I’m a chef and I like to cook and develop recipes and make new discoveries and The Pot Luck Club will offer both myself and the chefs working here exactly those opportunities.”
The casual eatery will expand on the fresh and seasonal focus seen at The Test Kitchen but allow those in the kitchen to experiment on a far greater scale. This is a new concept for Cape Town diners: while there are restaurants offering tapas menus, the new “small plates” concept offers an element of fine dining and sophisticated flavour marriages.
Dale-Roberts opened The Test Kitchen in November 2010. It came second in the 2011 Eat Out Dstv Food Network Restaurant Awards and Luke Dale-Roberts was awarded the coveted Chef of the Year 2011. He also collaborated with food retailer Woolworths to produce a Christmas range.