To dine with Vanessa Marx, recipient of the 2013 Eat Out Rising Star Award, is always a treat. Here is real talent in the kitchen. Vanessa has a unique ability to match food and wine as though they were made for each other. I have attended a couple of wine launches there and she always brings the food to the wine with such sensitivity. Definitely a chef to watch.
Her restaurant, Dear Me, at 165 Longmarket Street Cape Town, is housed in a restored heritage building almost two hundred years old. It’s divided into three sections, with Tjing Tjing – a busy, buzzy wine, cocktail and food bar – on the top floor, The White Room in the middle for dinners and functions, and Dear Me on the ground floor.
Dear Me is an all-day brasserie and pantry which offers Vanessa’s delicious food in this unique setting. It’s open Monday to Friday for breakfast from 7–11 am and lunch from noon to 3 pm.
The White Room at Dear Me is where fabulous dinner-time fun happens on Thursday and Friday evenings with Vanessa doing her serious work behind the stove. In fact, The White Room at Dear Me has just been nominated one of Eat Out magazine’s Top Twenty Restaurants for 2014 – justly so.
The White Room offers two tasting menus: a 5-course and an 8-course, served with or without wine pairings. We chose to drink Vondeling Chardonnay 2010 as our guest, Maureen, is a huge Chardonnay fan, for which she blames me. Happy to be guilty on this count.
Images of the dishes we enjoyed are below, but we were particularly enchanted by the dessert. Caciotta is a cheese from central Italy made from cow’s, sheep’s or goat’s milk. Vanessa came to the table and scraped some honey and comb off a bee hive frame (which you can see at the back of the photo) and then worked it in a warmed pestle and mortar to a cream. This was then patched on to the dessert, which has a little pathway of crumbles and seeds on it. Delicious!
Do make a reservation in advance – the place is very popular and will now be even more so with their well deserved Top 20 nomination.
Where 165 Longmarket Street, Cape Town
Trading hours The White Room is open for dinner on Thursday and Friday evenings
Good to know Parking available at Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital (entrance on Loop Street) and Heritage Square (off Bree Street).
Contact +27 21 422 4950, www.dearme.co.za
Photography Claire Gunn Photography