Shio is quite comfortably in my top ten restaurants in Cape Town. The food they are creating is incredible and beautiful and unique and whilst being all these things is actually damn delicious too. Shio is the baby sister of Cheyne’s in Hout Bay (another restaurant in my top ten). For a long time if you’ve wanted to get hold of Cheyne’s food you needed to head out to the ‘burbs. If you are out that side of the world make sure to visit Lucky Bao for their incredible baos and Asian style hotdog.
But luckily for the city-dwellers Cheyne has branched out to De Waterkant! We have been a couple of times before but visited them most recently to try out their newly launched winter menu. The menu keeps some old favourites and brings in some really exciting new dishes.
Cheyne’s has fantastic waitstaff who know their menu really well. They recommend ordering about 3 dishes across “Sea”, “Land” and “Earth”. Each section focuses on food from those elements. Sea includes dishes featuring squid, fish, crab and prawns. Land has dishes of pork, chicken, beef, duck and lamb. And Earth focuses on great vegetarian options that shine the light on amazing veggies. If you’re a vegetarian or pescetarian you will seriously be spoilt for choice!
Round one with Shio: Sea
We started with the soft shell crab with black pepper and ginger sauce and a lime root salad. I really love soft shell crab and this dish was great. The flavours were fresh, light and balanced the tempura soft shell crab very well.
The Umi Hijiki Salad was new to me. It is a salad of salmon and tuna sashimi with edamame and pickled shimeji. I really love sushi and actually think Cheyne should open a sushi bar – I’d be first in line! This was kind of like a pretty fancy sushi salad with really fresh sashimi, gorgeous marinated exotic mushrooms and crunchy edamame. This whole dish with a side of sushi rice would actually make a great fresh poke bowl.
Shio had a beautiful wine list with the Mr P Pinot Noir being one our go to favourite. We find this light red wine, served slightly chilled, works well with all the dishes across the flavours. This time we also splurged on Solace which is a Syrah from Iona. This wine is spectacular and I would highly recommend trying it!
Next up was the fantastic tempura scallops with miso mash, kimchi butter and tobiko. This is another new dish and it is a big show stopper. The dishes at Shio are meant for sharing but I was sad to only have one of these tempura scallops. I think next time we will have to order one of these each! The scallops were juicy and delicious with the lightest tempura batter. The miso mash with kimchi butter was unbelievable – the buttery creamy mash with slightly tart bite was a whole new taste profile. I shamefully put my fingers in the dish to get every last bit of the mash!
Round Two with Shio: Land and Earth
The big star dish of the whole lunch was the BBQ Duck gyozas! These were BBQ duck breast, date and water chestnut gyozas with sticky star anise sauce. I have eaten many dishes from Shio and I think this is even my favourite dish to date. The sticky gyozas are stuffed with a sweet and sticky date and water chestnut filling and then topped with my sticky sauce and tender slightly fatty duck breast. This really is a flavour sensation and carefully balances between sweet and umami.
The pork fillet katsu with pickled cucumber and wakame and caviar mustard was another winner. This little crispy pork tower was fantastic and worked well with the lightly pickled cucumber and sweet sticky sauce.
This is the miso glazed aubergine, smoked tofu, 5.10 egg and caviar. We spotted this new dish on Shio’s instagram and thought it was very beautiful. Whilst this dish was beautiful it didn’t really wow with flavour. The egg was cooked perfectly but the aubergine was just a little boring. The only let down of the eight dishes we enjoyed.
Sneaky Round Three
Normally at this stage of the meal we would be ordering dessert. But we are much more savour than sweet people. So for dessert we actually just ordered more food! I think our waiter was very surprised!
We had the pork belly roast of red miso and nashi pear sauce, toasted cashews and crackling. This was a great dish but very rich and hearty! We probably should have ordered this dish earlier on!
We had the pork served with the tenderstem broccoli pan fried with crispy Japanese chorizo, and house ponzu. I love this Asian twist on veggies and the smoky chorizo is always a hit with broccoli.
And there ended our wonderful lunch at Shio. Make sure to visit them soon to try out their winter menu! We joined them for a Saturday lunch on a lovely sunny day and it was perfect!
- Location: The Grey Hotel, 49 Napier Street, De Waterkant
- Opening times: Monday to Saturday from 12pm til 3pm and 6pm til 10pm
- Contact details: 021 421 1106 or their website