Restaurant JAN seats only 24 people with a South African chef that uses local ingredients. It has been in business for 5 years and 2 years ago received a Michelin star. The room is tasteful with small tables that are appointed with large lovely napkins and soft eclectic music plays in the background. Staff is friendly and helpful. It is a choice of 2 tasting menus (12 or 5 courses) at dinner and a 3 course menu is also offered only at lunch.
They nicely start you off with a warm, wet towel to wipe your hands – something neglected in too many places. We chose the Menu Jan and were advised that there would be some changes to the written menu.
Assorted snacks start the menu. Biltong (dry cured meat), beet root, cucumber macaroon with smoked salmon and caviar and a bread stick with truffle sabyon sauce were included. The yummy sauce was terrific on this buttery stick. Nice strong flavors were attached to all and they mixed well with one another.
Bread service was a Cape seed loaf with butter from Beillevaire. The bread tasted of sesame and poppy seeds and the butters were flavored with red pepper, plain and coriander. The bread was quite nice and the butters were mildly flavored with different textures. The rectangular shaped bread had a crunchy top.
Sago and scallop was a seared scallop with white chocolate ice cream and a salsify veloté accented with a bit of tapioca sago.
Mieliepap and Chakalaka is a traditional South African dish made with tomato, pepper and onions. In this example barely cooked tuna was served with crust of onion. Caramelized onion, olive oil and red pepper were part of a tapenade sauce. There were lots of ingredients, especially the delicious onion, but they worked together well.
Rooibos (South African tea), ratte potato (small golden potato with nutty flavor), organic egg and caviar were presented in a roasted pumpkin. Filled with a salad of leeks, truffles and potatoes around a hard boiled quail egg, the pumpkin was a minor component with the potato, egg and onion being more prominent. It felt very right to eat in the Fall and although it was not strongly flavored it was very tasteful.
Mosbolletijie is a sweet South African bun made from yeast and grape juice and this one was made was made with seeds, browned butter and the Biltong dried meat. It was served with a banana butter and pork lard with chives that came solid with a flame in the middle to melt it. The roll had flavors of anise and was delicious with a wonderful texture which hardly needed the enhancement of any spread. The melting lard was interesting but maybe just functional theater.
Lamb bobotie (a curried meat) was served alongside a nicely rare lamb chop crusted with pistachios and topped with mustard seeds, porcini and lettuce. The bobotie is like mincemeat with spices, coconut. Again lots of ingredients but all were strongly flavored and blended well. I particularly liked the bobotie with curry seasonings – it was very flavorful and tasty.
The cheese plate, Epoisses and Atjar, was in the form of an German apple. It was filled with apple chutney with coriander and lots of other things that again blended well, but overall a lesser offerings.
Fennel, amasi (fermented milk) and lemon was a lemon shortbread with lemon sorbet, white chocolate and fermented fennel milk combined to form this South African dish. The sorbet in the middle was tart and sweet ad something provided a crispy component.
A caramelized pumpkin beignet was served cool. It was not bad but wouldn’t call it good but the description set my mouth to watering.
Final treats were Malva pudding, basaar pancakes, milk tart and Amarula & chocolate. The basaar pancakes were crepes made with vinegar and served in suzette style with cinnamon. Malva pudding usually contains apricot jam but this one seemed to have pineapple in the marshmallow like center. The milk tart also was flavored with cinnamon. The chocolate tart was seasoned with a South African cream liqueur, Amarula that tasted of fruit and vanilla.
A to go treat was a wholewheat rusk biscuit to use for dunking.