Athi-Patra Ruga’s iridescent art on black pioneers + more in Sculpture Garden
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 epi-curious. 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.
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 pretension.
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.” So he “just had to make them as a special for the day.” Then he told her where she could buy them herself. I thought, “Woah, this dude’s passionate about food!” Then I called the waiter.
Friends had recommended the daily lunch special. Served from noon–6pm, it’s a 5-piece tapas sampler with a glass of wine, soft drink or beer. Only R60. When it arrived, I gawked at the gorgeously arranged morsels: a Moroccan meatball / a chicory leaf with black olives, walnuts & Gorgonzola dressing / a roasted butternut with humus & pine nuts / a vegetable cake with Swiss chard, Parmesan & leeks / and a cured ham & onion croquette.
Looked great, tasted even better. Every fork-full exploded like flavour-crackers in my mouth. Indeed, it took a moment to recover from each bite. Unlike at other restaurants where each chew tastes less intense than the last, here gastronomic interest never wanes. Each dish goes in a new direction, granting unexpected revelations.
When I snuck a peek at the other diners, they were having their own little oral-gasms too. Some were digging into roast pork belly with a mustard and parsley crust while others were munching slowly on grilled tiger prawns wrapped with pancetta. I even saw a guy try to outmanoeuvre his girlfriend for their last bit of pan seared ostrich fillet, but she skewered it first. They laughed as she savoured her triumph, following it with another round of red from the thoughtfully selected wine menu.
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 cosmopolitans. And they also bring people together. J. D. says, “Tapas are best shared between friends 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.” J.D. nods his head, “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.
During this festive season, do check out Fork’s Christmas specials – lots of surprises
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