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The Banting Kitchen in Cape Town
Green Point welcomes one of the world’s first dedicated low-carb, high-fat restaurants
Call it a cult, a fad, pure genius or whatever you like really, the (in)famous Tim Noakes (Banting) diet, which calls on adopters to follow the low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) regimen first laid out by William Banting in 1861, has undeniably revolutionised the food scene in Mzansi. Every second South African is cutting back on starch and espousing the ‘full cream is king’ philosophy, a myriad of local eateries have added related items to their menus, and now, one of the first restaurants on the planet entirely devoted to this eating plan, The Banting Kitchen, has opened in Cape Town’s gourmet-centric Green Point.
For the founder of this new fine dining venture though, the inspiration for opening the eatery went much deeper than merely following the professor Noakes-inspired trend, which has actually come under fire for its potential to raise cholesterol levels and exacerbate heart disease. UK-born Lindsey Hughes has ‘banted’ successfully most of her life solely because it felt right and has long used the regimen to control her diabetic sons’ blood sugar levels. So, she’s seen the benefits for herself, and hence, launching the space was more about encouraging others to learn to listen to their bodies like she has than about suggesting patrons blindly conform to a current food fashion.
Quite simply, what she aims to offer is a healthier alternative to standard menus, not a dining wonder cure. And importantly, the focus is first and foremost on top-quality, delicious dishes – they just happen to cater for those who choose to pursue a certain lifestyle.
“It’s not primarily a health food restaurant; it’s a great food restaurant,” explains Lindsey. “So you can come enjoy a meal here and not even realise you’re ‘banting’ because the food is so tasty.”
What this means is that regardless of whether you’re pro- the LCHF approach or not, The Banting Kitchen, which sits at the front of the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, is a fine place to go for an unforgettable breakfast, lunch or dinner – and it’s an extra bonus that you can enjoy your order guilt free.
Gifted chef Ryan Brand has called on all his creative resources to create dishes that burst with flavour and fulfil all sorts of cravings despite the lack of carbs – great news for banters who are tired of rustling up the same old bland grub at home. His offering includes items like homemade muesli with Greek yoghurt and a coconut oil coating, beef bolognaise lasagne, grilled lamb loin with chunky ratatouille and sweet potato fondant, creamy garlic mussels, salt and pepper calamari and pan-grilled kingklip with Brussels sprouts, bacon and butter-braised leeks.
In line with the eating plan, the desserts are all sugar free, but so surprisingly decadent and delicious that you’d never be able to tell. So, you can tuck into a to-die-for baked cheesecake that rests on a chocolate brownie crust and drips with berry coulis or indulge in lemon panna cotta dotted with chocolate berries and decorated with candied citrus peel and not have to worry much about your weight.
After all, as Lindsey emphasises, regardless of what eating regimen you’re following, it’s important that you still enjoy the experience of dining. Accordingly, the fresh, elegant restaurant – it claims lots of light wood, a refreshing green colour palette and a generally warm, natural aesthetic – also has a full bar, so guests can enjoy some wine or whisky with their courses, and it doesn’t operate on purist principles – if you desperately want some french fries or rice with your cream cheese chicken supreme, the kitchen team can make it happen for you.
Though, you’re likely going to want to stick to the Banting menu; it’s all part of the experience and, trust us, it’s heavenly enough to make this Green Point gem far from just a passing fad.
Tip: The restaurant plans to launch a retail section soon, so keep an eye out for ready-made Banting bread, muesli, cakes and more that you can purchase for home consumption. Also, if you plan to visit the eatery on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening, be sure to make a reservation as it gets full fast on these nights.
The Bill: Prices are slightly on the upper side of average, but they’re very reasonable for a fine dining restaurant and for Banting food, which is known to be expensive. Breakfasts range from R35 to R105, starters sit between R57 and R65, mains vary from R95 to R158 and desserts are all under R65.
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: breakfast: 6:30am – 11am; lunch: 12pm – 3pm; dinner: 6pm – 11pm (note: the restaurant will only be open for lunch from 1 October 2014)
47 Main Road | Green Point | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 430 0506
Keen to learn about other spots that specialise in nutritious fare? Take a look at our overview of healthy eateries in Cape Town.
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