Since the historic Constantia Nek restaurant was given its major facelift two years ago it has become a deserving destination thanks to the dynamic, local talent, Dylan Laity.
‘We’re serving modern South African cuisine with definite influences from my travels abroad. There’s a good mix of seafood, vegetarian, vegan and meat courses and I’m determined to use only the best and most seasonal produce I can source,’ says Chef Laity who comes to The Restaurant @ The Nek from The Roundhouse in Camps Bay, where he earned himself two consecutive Top 21 Restaurants and One Plate Awards in the prestigious JHP Gourmet Guide for 2017 and 2018.
Laity honed his skills over four years at Aubergine, one of Cape Town’s most consistently excellent fine dining eateries. He also cites his years spent in a michelin star restaurant in London as some of his most formative, and where his journey to crafting the best seasonal produce into superb edible art was set. He adds: ‘When I was in the UK I worked at the Feathers Hotel. Their sister hotel, The Lords of the Manor, still has a michelin star. I would work there on my days off to gain as much experience as possible. I must admit though that I learnt how to cook when I was on home soil. Buitenverwachting and Aubergine were where I grew and benefited the most in my culinary upbringing.’
Inspired by his passion and love of food, stimulated by books and YouTube, he simply wants diners to enjoy his cuisine. When he is not cooking he is surfing, believing that balance, on the plate and in life, is of utmost importance. It clears his head and gives him space to think.
Chef Laity’s humble demeanour, his serious commitment to excellence and pushing boundaries in his repertoire have resulted in his new role as a kingpin and fine dining expert. He believes that the success of a restaurant is a team effort, ‘It’s my job to stimulate and motivate my team to cook the food that I have thought and dreamt about. My style is very natural, seasonal and ingredient driven. I use modern techniques and plating styles, but never let that be the only focus of the dish. It’s all about the flavour and product quality.’ Laity bravely claims that people are often more important than food in creating an all-round, good restaurant experience.
The view of the Constantia Valley remains a central focus of the style-centric space. The new eatery is dressed in a palette of moody hues teamed with wood and natural stone and a careful selection of lean lined, Scandi-influenced furniture. Expect bold flavour marriages with a grounded approach to cuisine and interesting South African twists. Some of the signatures that have already made it onto the launch menu include: Mozambique Langoustines with Amasi, Kimchi and Smoked Trout Roe and Rare Karan Beef Sirloin seasoned with Rooikrans Coal Oil and Fermented Chillies.