A new era has emerged, the proverbial phoenix has risen from the ashes. The phoenix in this case, and many of you would know this already, is the Tintswalo Atlantic, the luxury five-star hotel on the water’s edge just outside Hout Bay. It has emerged into something even more attractive since the devastation left after the Cape Fire in 2015 and has been wowing guests since its re-opening. More recently, a scintillating addition to both Tintswalo Atlantic and Cape Town’s foodie scene is the introduction of Executive Chef Guy Clark, his style and attention to detail has been turning heads.
Chef Clark’s travels first took him to India, where he spent a year re-designing and running the family kitchens of billionaire businessman Analjit Singh – now the owner of Leeu Collection in Franschhoek. He was subsequently appointed to launch European/African fusion restaurant Uzuri in New Delhi in July 2013. In 2014 he moved to Miami, Florida, first working as Executive Sous Chef at high-end seafood restaurant Seaspice, and then as Executive Sous Chef at the Artisan kosher bakery Zak the Baker. In 2015 he won episode 11 of the Food Network’s popular ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’ TV show (season 8) in Los Angeles. That same year also saw him take on the role of Culinary Consultant at the Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel.
In 2016, Clark decided it was time to head back home to the Western Cape, and in 2017 joined Tintswalo Atlantic as Executive Chef in 2017.
Growing up in Cape Town, Guy Clark’s culinary career took a different path to that of many other chefs. Entirely self-taught, he had a passion for cooking from a young age, but only considered taking it up professionally at the age of 30, when he competed in the first season of MasterChef South Africa in 2012 – and ended up finishing in the top 11. It gave him the motivation he needed to quit his day job at an auctioneer company and follow his dreams. After a stint as a chef at the Madame Zingara restaurant group in Cape Town, he decided to spread his wings and travel the globe, defining his style while learning from masters of the trade.
Chef Clark takes a simplified approach to cooking, focusing on flavour and substance. For example, the themed ‘Ocean & Ash’ tasting menu is a knock-out served over several courses. Local ingredients and foraging are important components of the process behind it. Unusual plating and presentation styles also play an important part in the dining experience.
The first course includes three variations of one of Chef Clark’s new favourites, seaweed – which, he says, makes perfect sense, seeing that it is available in abundance right on the restaurant’s doorstep.
The subsequent three courses carry ‘smoke’ as a central theme – diners may expect innovative creations including springbok, snoek and pistachio ash balls and rooibos-smoked kudu with wild garlic smoked ‘skattie’ cheese and ocean water cured egg yolk, presented over burnt wild garlic ash – which is then also used for the fourth dish, Liquid umami. This incredible blend in a bowl contains 32 ingredients and offers a flavour unlike anything other. It’s pure umami in a terrific form.
The fifth course of Atlantic line fish, burnt lemon rind, scallop and seaweed velouté pays homage to Tintswalo Atlantic’s breathtaking seaside location and Cape Town’s reputation as a glorious seafood dining destination.
This is followed by another local theme, ‘Fynbos’ – Fynbos rabbit is wrapped in a fermented goats cheese ash case and served with wild sorrel butter. The final main course comprises unique textures of six different mushrooms, including shimeji, king oyster and shitake. ‘Buchu’, consisting of Buchu ice cream, ash meringue and ocean salt itakuja valrhona chocolate, completes the taste sensation on a sweet note.
Tintswalo Atlantic was completely rebuilt in 2015, following the devastating veld fire earlier that year, and now boasts an even more spectacular dining room as a result – as well as a beautiful wooden deck with unlimited sea views. The lodge is one of only a handful of places in Cape Town where guests are able to engage all the senses as part of a unique culinary experience, dining close to the ocean, listening to the crashing waves below and breathing in the fresh sea air. It is also the perfect setting for a pre-dinner sundowner while watching the sun set. The open-plan kitchen inside meanwhile enables diners to enjoy an interactive dining experience, watching Chef Clark and his team up-close at work.
The restaurant at Tintswalo Atlantic is the perfect setting for a gourmet experience with a difference, and to celebrate a special occasion. It is open to both in-house hotel guests, as well as other diners by prior arrangement and subject to availability, with breakfast, lunch and dinner served daily.
This winter, guests can further take advantage of Tintswalo Atlantic’s special ‘Winter Warmer’ package – valid from 1 May until 31 August 2017, the overnight offer includes accommodation, breakfast and a five-course dinner (note this is not the 8-course Tasting Menu) with a bottle of house wine, at R7000 for two people sharing. (2-night minimum stay over weekends)
Chef Clark will initially present his ‘Ocean & Ash’ dinner tasting menu once a week, for a maximum of 10 guests. The menu will be priced at R1100 per person. Reservations are essential.
Photography Tom Clark