Fork makes a point with tapas on Long Street

For fine cuisine in a relaxed, down-to-earth atmosphere, Fork delivers: one bite at a time

Fork is an innovative, trend-setting restaurant in vibey Long Street. It attracts an eclectic crowd with its distinctive dishes for the epicurious. By focusing on fork-sized tapas, it packs tons of flavour into small servings, perfect for sharing with friends. It’s a choice place to unwind after work and the perfect launching pad for a night on the town. The interior reminds us of a hideaway tapas bar in downtown Barcelona.

Inspired by Spanish tradition and modern European styles, Fork adds a South African twist to its fare. Taking local and seasonal ingredients, diners get a stab at unique interpretations of classic favourites or utterly new creations. The result is food that is sophisticated yet honest: complex without pretention.

Personalised passion

The same could be said of owners J.D. Haasbroek and Ed Saunders who welcome everyone through the door. Together, they provide outstanding service, making everything seem effortless.

They’ve dressed the place in 1930s minimalism: simple, understated and warm. Exposed brick walls give an earthy texture while copper-banded wooden tables and leather couches hint at casual elegance. With soft-glow fixtures hanging over each table, meals are enjoyed in cosy intimacy.

But recently, I glimpsed Fork’s rare quality before even picking up the utensil. One afternoon while sipping one of their silky cappuccinos, a patron inquired about a white asparagus special she’d just enjoyed. Chef Jonathan Japha came out and enthused that he’d: “found these rare gems at the freshest grocer in town.” And that he just had to make them as a special for the day. He then told her where she could buy them herself

What the fork?

This restaurant is renowned for running good-value specials; picture a tasting of tapas such as grilled kingklip with cauliflower puree and mussel sauce; roast chicken with fondant potatoes; pan-seared ostrich fillet served with a sweet and sour chutney and rosemary honey dressing, and plenty more.

It looks great, and tastes even better. Every fork-full explodes with flavour. Indeed, it takes a moment to recover from each bite. Here gastronomic interest never wanes. Each dish goes in a new direction, granting unexpected revelations.

When I sneak a peek at the other diners, they are having their own tapas enjoyment too. Some are digging into roast pork belly with a mustard and parsley crust while others are munching on grilled tiger prawns wrapped in pancetta. I even spot a guy try to outmanoeuvre his girlfriend for their last bit of pan-seared ostrich fillet, but she skewers it first. They laugh as she savours her triumph, following it with another round of red from the thoughtfully selected wine menu.

Best shared with friends

I later learned that the owners are just as passionate about great dining. For them, tapas provide endless opportunities for diners to educate their palates and become culinary cosmopolitan. And they also bring people together.

“Tapas are best shared between friends,” says J. D. “Who can enjoy new tastes together and share in laid-back conversation. In fact, we get groups that come in after work and order a plate or two every hour until we close, just chilling over a nice bottle of wine.

 “That’s what we wanted to create here: a place to relax with friends and enjoy a world of flavour.”

Well, they’ve done just that. So do yourself a favour: round up your chums, head to 84 Long Street, and when you come to a Fork in the road, take it.

Top tip:

Molo coffee
If you're looking for a way to sustain the energy and laughter after dinner you might want to try a Molo coffee with your dessert. The Molo coffee is similar to an Irish coffee but with different ingredients and an energy bite to it that kicks in and keeps everyone from wanting to go to sleep. Don't ask for the recipe - they won’t share it with you.

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