Ritual Café in the homely suburb of Linden is a real family business. Chef Sean Ackermann’s restaurant came into being with lots of consultation with his mother-in-law about what should go on the menu, and the ceramic plates on which each dish is served are the work of his wife.
Ackermann is a self-taught chef who got his start in the restaurant business at the age of 17 when he worked as a bartender and then waiter at The Singing Fig in Norwood (long since closed, but in its day, the late 1980s and early 1990s, Jaco Welgemoed’s restaurant was the toast of the town). Serendipitously he got an opportunity to get into the kitchen as a relief chef, and knew from that moment that’s where he wanted to be. His chance to test out his skills came more recently when he opened a food stall at Melville’s container shopping centre 27 Boxes.
Now he is at the helm of this Linden bistro, an intimate space that fits right in to Linden’s neighbourly atmosphere and growing range of culinary hotspots. Like many Linden businesses Ackermann avowedly supports local food producers, sourcing his meat, fish and produce from nearby suppliers.
The seasonal menu has a range of dishes to suit most tastes - meat-eaters and vegetarians, and is displayed on a chalkboard above the open kitchen. Ackermann favours sweet and spicy flavours, combining these to make for interesting taste sensations. Try the lamb meatballs with homemade habanero relish. For vegetarians there is a delicious brinjal stack with herbed cottage cheese and tomato and red pepper chutney. There’s a good range of mains – which include sirloin and lamb chops, chicken medallions, and a Thai vegetable curry. Ritual Café also offers a curry of the day.
Ackermann's burger menu is a treat offering up a wide range of burgers made more interesting by the use of different relishes. Try the chicken burger (with miso and pineapple), lamb burger (with tzatziki and onion chutney), beef burger, haloumi or mushroom variety. The mushroom burger is a highlight, meaty but meat-less flavour, topped with goat’s cheese and cranberry sauce on a bed of rocket and tomatoes. Ackermann also serves up homemade sweet potato crinkle cut crisps, a perfect accompaniment to any burger, or just delicious to nibble with drinks (the restaurant is not yet licensed, so bring your own wine).
For dessert try the chocolate ganache, banana and chocolate spring roll or the homemade fig ice cream (a recipe that has been lovingly transported from menu of The Singing Fig).
This is good, wholesome and honest food, tasty and made with fresh ingredients and lots of integrity. A ritual worth supporting.