food, Food News, Interviews

Gastronomic Experience: the Stratus Steak House Serves Up Jack Daniels and Jazz

A collaboration that elevates the dining experience.
Patrick King

When it comes to establishments that have great reputations, there is somewhat of an expectation when you visit them – and it is often the responsibility of the hotel manager to create experiences that will meet these high standards. On the food front at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Cape Town, this person is food and drinks manager, Deen Hopcroft.

Hopcroft's latest project is The Stratus Steak House, where he helps transform dinner into a gastronomic experience. The Stratus Steak House has collaborated with Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey to create a menu that incorporates the spirit of the renowned brand into food, creating mouth-watering dishes using quality ingredients. To elevate the experience, you can also enjoy live jazz music while you dine. Hopcroft chatted to us about how this partnership came to be.

what inspired you to create this particular unique gastronomic experience?

My first drink was a Jack Daniels and water! The Jack Daniels brand itself speaks a lot about live music and, in particular, jazz. I've always had a liking for a good steak house and, after conducting research, I noticed Cape Town seemed to be lacking quite a few quality steak houses. So the idea of marrying the two concepts was born. People are looking for experiences when they come to dine; gone are the days of having a seat, eating, paying and leaving. Guests now want an experience that is worth their money and this is exactly what we are offering when you come dine with us.

the menu features dishes that have Jack Daniels-infused bastings and sauces. Why was it important to create these basting sauces?

We wanted to create a Jack Daniels experience, not only in the glass, but also with the food. Our incredible executive chef Duncan Pontac jumped right in on the best ways to complement the premium cuts of steaks.

how long did it take to develop the sauces?

It took roughly 3–4 hours with Duncan to create the sauces. In the end, we knew the base of each sauce and managed to pair it to the right Jack Daniels. The tasting session in the pairing stage left Duncan and me quite merry, to say the least.

which dishes on the menu make use of the sauces?

All the sauces come as an added extra; we leave the choice up to you. However, what we do offer is the freedom to fry your premium cut of steak in a Jack Daniels variant of your choice.

wagyu beef is the star of the menu, but at the launch there were also incredible dishes such prawn toast, pork belly and lamb chops. How was the menu put together?

The menu was put together to make sure we catered for everyone; we realised not everyone wants a steak thrown at them for starters, mains and possibly dessert (steak-flavoured ice cream). The other variants were a way to cater for the other tastes people might be craving. 

which dishes are the most popular?

Our top-selling dish at the moment is our Wagyu beef burger and the top-selling sauce is the Gentleman Jack Jus. These two pairings go together like a match made in heaven.

this is a steak house, but are there vegetarian and vegan options on the menu?

Of course! 

which dish do you think everyone should try?

I would definitely recommend our 200g Wagyu rump. Add some buttered Jack Honey Sauce and a side of the mozzarella-stuffed onion rings and you have an absolute winner! Not forgetting a glass of Jack Daniels Sinatra on the rocks 😉