One of our favorite activities is brunching. Whether it’s shared plates, bottomless drinks or just spending the day lazily eating and drinking with friends, we are well versed in the weekend ritual. Being the avid brunchers we are, we were ecstatic to get the call to attend the opening of one of Cape Town’s first boozy brunches at The Mash Tun.
During the meal we had an opportunity to sit down with the owner, Chef Hardy, the mastermind behind this new brunch concept. Hardy wants to bring a new side of African cuisine to the table to show people the luxurious side of African cuisine and make it more accessible throughout Africa. So while he might be starting in Cape Town, he has plans to move this brunch to many of the surrounding countries – and we can’t wait to visit.
When we arrived, the first thing our waitress asked was our drink order. There were four options to chose from, but gin is the unofficial drink of South Africa, so we chose that cocktail first – and those Beefeaters did not disappoint. It was presented beautifully in mason jars with a slice of orange on top and was the perfect refresher to start with. The rest of the drinks were delicious – though not exactly a traditional brunch cocktail – and we finished the day on the Solgherita, a margarita with a Sol beer inside. Since it was the kitchen’s first day preparing the full menu from start to finish, it took a bit of time to get our food but the waiting staff was very attentive and our glasses were never empty – a rarity in South Africa.
The menu works by selecting three options and they are served in courses. When we first got the menu we were unsure about finding three options that we might enjoy but took a step out of our comfort zone to try something new. Since there were two of us and five menu options we had the opportunity to try everything on the menu. We got our first course – Tien had ricotta and blueberry pancakes and Chelsea had a chocolate chia parfait with roasted almonds – and our initial hesitation with the menu faded away. The food combined the perfect balance of sweet and savory with each ingredient having a specific job to moderate the other.
Every dish had a specific South African flair that also brought in westernized brunch elements to appease all audiences. The plate that executed this the most seamlessly was the sweet potato rosti with poached egg and bacon. The three elements are a common thread for most brunches but prepared the way it was, as a potato rosti, gave the dish a South African twist that made it one of the best meals on the menu.
Another favorite of ours was the parmesan grits with salmon. We initially hadn’t thought much of it because grits are a traditional Southern American food, and with Tien being from Texas the chef had a tough job to impress. When the dish came out it didn’t look like much but after the first bite we were sold. The parmesan gave the right amount of saltiness to the grits, the rosemary surprised our senses with a new flavor and balanced with the salmon we couldn’t stop ourselves – this ended up being the dish we ordered twice and we were left with a pleasant taste in our mouths even when the grits were long gone.
Experience it for yourself
While this was a very soft opening for the brunch, we know that this brunch will make South African food more accessible and delectable for those who are uncertain. If you have an open weekend in Cape Town coming up, we highly recommend spending your afternoon at The Mash Tun and experiencing the exquisite brunch for yourself. Bring a few friends, the 90’s music and community ambiance turn the brunch into an approachable event where everyone leaves as friends.
The Mash Tun
7 Ravenscraig Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7915, South Africa
Open Monday – Saturday 12h00 to 22h00