When the Parisian restaurant scene first coined the term ‘bistronomy’, it was in response to the question: “How does one combine the casual atmosphere of a bistro with an expert gastronomic experience?” 15 on Orange Hotel, Autograph Collection in Cape Town answers the question with a brand new take on the concept for locals and visitors alike.
Back in the 1990s, a promising young chef by the name of Yves Camdeborde had grown tired of the sombreness and extortionate bills that had become the norm in many top-end fine-dining restaurants in Paris.
Working at the time at the luxurious Hôtel de Crillon, he jumped ship to open his own establishment, La Régalade in the 14th arrondissement, with a menu he deemed, in a very bold move, to be ‘50% gastro and 50% bistro’. Delighted to find new inspiration, renowned food critic and journalist Sébastien Demorand soon christened Camdeborde’s offerings: ‘Bistronomy’.
Fast forward to 2019, and it’s a trend the world is now gleefully adopting, as establishments turn their attention back to what makes their customers the happiest in this day and age.
Among the converts are those behind 15 on Orange, part of the Autograph Collection operated by Marriott International. The hotel’s Executive Chef, Tamsyn Wells, sums up bistronomy by describing it simply as: “High quality, fresh ingredients prepared in an authentic manner with a focus on flavours and simplicity without frills”.
Located on the edge of the Cape Town Central City, and overlooking Cape Town’s own Central Park, the Company’s Garden, the venue has thrilled discerning travellers ever since the day it opened its doors nine years ago. But now it’s also intent, with its new menu and a transformation of its dining area, to welcome Capetonians to enjoy the new fare.
The restaurant and show kitchen are still in place, but a complete revamp has seen walls being broken through and the addition of new finishes, fixtures and furnishings including sculptural wall art.
The aim of the revamp was to move the hotel from feeling exclusively glamourous and closed off from the world outside to more of an open urban oasis, with public areas that invited people to flow through them easily, and to bring more greenery and the outdoors inside from street level. The revamped menus also reflect this ideology, continuing to delight visitors from abroad but now also welcoming to locals.
Wells explains: “We’ve introduced new menus in all our newly renovated food and beverage areas with authentic, fresh ingredients and keeping our Urban Oasis mark of craft in mind. As we’re a five-star hotel, attracting guests from all over the world, we need to offer continental cuisine, so our all day menu, a la carte and tapas menu caters for these varied tastes.”
Among the new bistro-styled options on the menu are a variety of bowl food options. “Our Teriyaki Salmon Poke Bowl with fresh Norwegian Salmon and our Chicken Caesar Bowl are some of our popular dishes.”
The new menus cater to all palates and any time of day. Along with the bowl food, the All Day Dining menu features delectable sandwiches such as the Classic Reuben and traditional favourites such as Beer Battered Fish and Chips, along with charcuterie as well as cheese platters and even smoothies (try the decadent Peanut Butter and Jelly smoothie or, for the more virtuous, the Yellow Healer with ingredients such as yoghurt, ginger and turmeric).
The a la Carte menu still delivers substantial fare for those looking for more formal options (from starters including Chilli Ginger Wanton Soup and Beetroot and Goat Chevin Salad to steaks and mains such as Red Wine Braised Lamb Shank and Biltong Spiced Springbok), while the Atrium Bar menu now delivers a range of tapas including Panko Crusted Prawns, Tempura Vegetables, BBQ Pork Belly Sliders and Beef Empanadas, to name just a few.
In other words, a culinary selection true to Camdeborde’s original vision: where bistro meets gastro.