food

Nikkei Cuisine Comes to CT

Micky Hoyle


Cape Town's Bree Street has recently become home to Japanese-Peruvian restaurant Charango. Known as Nikkei cuisine, this interesting mish-mash of cultures makes more sense than you might think. Expect fresh fish dishes with enlightening flavour combinations of chilli, citrus and fresh herbs like coriander.

The restaurant is named after a traditional South American stringed instrument made out of armadillo shell. That’s a nice little nugget of knowledge to tell friends over dinner.

The interior features a dramatic mural by Faith47, black mosaic flooring in the bar and comfortable leather seating throughout, all with an industrial-chic feel and a few fun details, including the naked bulb light fixtures in the bathrooms.

On the tapas menu, which is only served in the evenings, try the dirt-rubbed tuna tacos and the ‘black’ kob with langoustine quinoa. Wash it down with the El Gringo margarita that offers just a hint of chilli.

Lunch offerings include a Peruvian wagu burger and fries, house ceviche and a spiced calamari salad amongst others, ranging from R130 to R65.

Chef Kieren Whyte, formerly sous chef at famed Constantia restaurant The Greenhouse, has a strong handle on the delicate flavours and range of textures in his new kitchen. His unassuming manner is perfectly highlighted in a short exchange we had on the satin-smooth texture of the toasted quinoa cream. The young chef shrugged, brushing off the compliment by pointing out that the dish is a simple one to prepare – for him, perhaps. Maybe that’s the secret to this new kid on Bree Street – simplicity is exactly where the flavour is at.

charango5

Expect to pay between R45 and R90 for tapas dishes and R85 to R150 for main dishes on the evening menu.

Address: 114 Bree Street, Cape Town

To book, call 021 422 0757

Lunch from 12pm until 3pm, Dinner from 6pm until 9:30pm

The bar opens from 12pm, with food served until 10pm

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