Janse and Co is Kloof Street’s answer to the LBD. A little sultry, a lot sophisticated, paired down, elegant, and timeless. With its charcoal interiors, small plate dining and ingredient-led menu, there is much to intrigue the discerning gourmand.
Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg (previously chef at The Kitchen at Maison) and his wife and pastry chef, Liezel Odendaal, are the daring duo behind this dark diamond, where they’ve created seasonal menus that pay homage to local ingredients and their suppliers – supporting small producers and artisans.
The menu lists just 20 items. Diners can order a minimum of three, and maximum of 7 courses, all of which are designed to be shared. If you’re in possession of healthy appetite, opt for 4 dishes in total (at minimum) as portions are dainty.
Chef Arno’s creative action in full view (he operates in a gleaming open kitchen), we sat back and let the kitchen team’s magic unfold in seamless syncronistry. Guided by our waitress, we were encouraged to order the House made Charcuterie served with mustard and Buchu (an indigenous medicinal fynbos) to snack on with our bread board. As we’d spied to charcuterie hanging upon entry, we were easily convinced and loved dissecting the differing flavours of each variation of the sausage.
For our first round, our table of four ordered the Chokka (calamari), with klipkombers, squid Ink and nasturtium; the Octopus with Sharron fruit, lime, coriander and curry Leaf; Shiitake mushroom with pancetta, and Hollandaise.
All we’re lovely, the colours and textures of each dish made to pop by the muted plates in a simple but layered manner that is exceptionally beautiful. Multiple cooking techniques are also used, but nearly every dish at Janse & Co contains something smoked, grilled or roasted, with the finesse of so the foams, jellies, shards, crisps and balance of flavours that made Chef Arno famous.
A following round involved the Lamb served with nettle, corn and fig; Beetroot with pomelo and kelp; and the unusual Banana Pepper with fennel and pepperoni. The lamb was declared the favourite, but as warned, it’s dangerous to get too attached to any particular dish, as Chef frequently tweaks the menu.
Dessert, so often an afterthought that does not live up to the glory of the main event was an absolute triumph. The Milk Chocolate, passionfruit and honeycomb was summer on a plate (though would not be out of place in winter), while the Rooibos, tonka Bean and white chocolate delicately shone, indulgent but light.
We loved the thoughtful touches, like the box of cutlery at each guest’s side – an addition that allows diners to eat without the interruption of the inevitably frequent change of cutlery required for multiple dishes, as well as the handy glossary printed on each menu: so helpful when ingredients are obscure, foraged or locally named.
While succinct, the wine list is smart and bold with some notably unusual names on the list. It is tough to pair a single wine with the litany of dishes bound to populate your evening, so order by the glass or throw caution to the wind and just try a couple of different bottles between the table. Our tipple of choice included The Blacksmith Prince of Bones Cinsault – a delectably smooth boutique Swartland red that suited our collective palates.
The decor is minimalist in every respect, but a gorgeous floral mural lights up an entrance wall and exposed wooden beams as well as fresh greenery liven up the charcoal schema. Out back, the pretty courtyard with a vertical herb wall is ideal for balmy weather, summer celebrations or private business lunches.
Book Your Seat
Janse and Co is a slick and welcome addition to Kloof Street’s culinary scene. And like a good LBD, it’s something to be revisited time and time again special occassion or none.
Contact 021 422 0384, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website for more.
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 9pm
Wednesday – Saturday, 12pm – 2pm
Blog post by: Tarah Darge