Tucked into Rosebank (one block from the lovely Keyes Art Mile and Rosebank's humming shopping district) is Clico restaurant at Clico Boutique Hotel, an unfussy fine dining destination headed by chef Marnus Scholly.
The hotel was named for its founder’s favourite French champagne and true to its establishing inspiration, Clico Restaurant offers up a carefully selected and constantly updated list of fine tipples, that includes wines from a range of top Western Cape farms.
Scholly spent the early years of his career in the world of private game lodges, among them the top-listed Sabi Sands Game Reserve, the Singita Lodges, and the Savanna Private Game Reserve. He moved to Clico in 2015, giving up wildlife for a wild city and was appointed head chef in 2017.
For breakfast fans there are a feast of options, including a delicious Eggs Benedict, poached eggs draped in Hollandaise sauce, omelettes, a Clico healthy breakfast of poached eggs with grilled haloumi and confit tomatoes and indulgent flapjacks served with crème fraiche and fresh fruit. For sharp winter mornings the Rooibos maltabella with stewed fruit is delicious or opt for oats dressed with honey and Egyptian dukkah.
You’ll find flavoursome dishes using seasonal, locally sourced and organic ingredients. Scholly is a farm-to-table kind of guy, who knows where everything on the menu is grown and takes pride in local sourcing. In his words, the three most important people to know are "your butcher, your wife and your priest".
The six-course dinner tasting menu (an a la carte menu is also offered, but we strongly recommend you go for the six courses) has a well-considered wine list to match, and changes with the seasons, while service is sophisticated and charming. Salmon gravlax, oxtail tortellini, butternut gnocchi and an unforgettable braised lamb shoulder grace the winter menu, which is full of rich and satisfying flavours. This is comfort food, superbly plated, delightful in taste and thoroughly unpretentious.
Scholly's meat dishes match his vegetarian dishes, and he appears to revel in cooking with fresh ingredients where a depth of flavour can be conjured. A signature of his dishes is often a little jug that allows you to pour some jus, gravy or even parmesan cream on to your dish that will create a new harmony of tastes.
The restaurant’s setting is a chic and intimate triple-volume glass structure that looks out onto a lush garden, making it an inviting dinner venue, or a gloriously lit breakfast or lunch spot. A 36-seater, with private dining space it's also ideal for small special occasions or even business lunches.