#HighburyHearsYou – we at Cape Town etc are passionate about getting local restaurants back and booming in business. As part of our #HighburyHearsYou initiative, we’re dishing out the deets on some incredible restaurants in and around town.
It’s not every day you stroll into a cafe and you meet the founder of what is now an international restaurant group. Natasha Sideris, affectionately known as Tasha, has grown tashas from a single store in Atholl in 2005, to a burgeoning group of 21 bespoke locations in South Africa and Dubai.
When I sit down for a menu tasting, Natasha casually joins our table and chats about the restaurant’s innovative new vegetarian menu.
She is cheerful, warm and unassuming and if you didn’t know it, you would never guess she is the one who runs it all behind the scenes. The chances you’ll run into her are slim, though as she mainly lives in Dubai, making me feel all the more lucky to meet this powerhouse of a woman.
Each tashas has two menus – the Classic Menu, which is available at every location, and the Inspired Menu, which is particular to each specific location offering customers both the comfort of what they are used to and an opportunity to try something different.
“The new dishes on our Classic Menu reflect feedback from our customers – a continuing shift to healthier eating, vegan options or a flexitarian approach to vegetarianism – and the option to add in protein,” Natasha explains. “The Inspired Menus will remain the same for now.”
Digging into the tantalising meals that continue to be placed in front of me in a never-ending stream, I revel in the freshness of each dish. At tashas, almost nothing is pre-made, meaning when you order a dish, everything is made from scratch. Full of taste and imagination, I am surprised by each new item on the menu. Forget the boring, “same-old, same-old” feeling you often get when returning to a restaurant. This might as well have been my first time ever, it was so exciting.
If you’re on a health kick (and even if you’re not) the Classic Menu will satisfy your every craving. And if you’re vegetarian (and even if you’re not), you’ll be delighted in the countless options on the menu and the amazing quality of the food.
The new dishes, all vegetarian with the option to add a protein, for the Classic Menu are (and yes, I tasted them all, I don’t need your judgement):
- butternut zucchini rosti R98
butternut & zucchini rostis, labneh, lime, grilled onions, rocket, red onion, chives, roasted butternut, pickled red onion, coriander, sunflower & pumpkin seeds
- little miss sunshine R88
homemade granola, caramelised fruits, yoghurt, berries, paw paw curd, coconut flakes & mint
- tashas comfort quinoa bowl R104
red & white quinoa, roasted cherry tomatoes, sauteed brown mushrooms, napoletana, chives, spring onion, egg & crispy chilli mushrooms
- sicilian panini R92
ciabatta, olive tapenade, napoletana, sauteed brown mushrooms, capers, olives, roasted cherry tomatoes, basil & mozzarella
- barley & broccoli salad R126
barley, charred long stem broccoli, rocket, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, grilled onions, pumpkin seeds, lemon basil dressing, feta yoghurt, sunflower seed brittle & preserved lemon
- zucchini rosa R98
zucchini spaghetti, roasted cherry tomatoes, olives, red onion, capers, baby spinach, napoletana & crispy chilli mushrooms
There is a brand-new hot drink, a delicious homemade honeybush chai for R33, and four new smoothies to try:
- peanut protein R68
peanut butter, banana, almond milk, chia seeds, spiced agave syrup & cinnamon
- berry açaí R68
banana, berries, coconut milk, dates, açaí, cranberry & honey
- golden mango rooibos R68
mango, yoghurt, honey, orange, chia, turmeric & a rooibos shot
- green goddess R68
banana, pineapple, kale, apple, honey, mint, cucumber & lemon
“We live in a world where everything is automated and instant – but we believe it is important to slow down and celebrate the handmade – even if that means waiting 20 minutes for a dish that is prepared with care. It might be old-fashioned, but we want our customers to have a complete dining experience – service, décor and food,” Natasha concludes.