As Haiku nears 20 years of trade on Burg Street, their continued popularity despite Cape Town’s ever-rotating door of dining spots is a special study.
Haiku Cape Town’s appeal is unique in many ways – ditching food trends of the moment and constant rebranding in favour of staying true to the original idea that keeps a steady stream of diners coming back.
A mix of modern Asian cuisine served in tapas form has always been their standard. On our recent visit, we found the same small plate offering packed with punchy flavours. The dimmed lighting and romantic Kyoto feels. The rare sight (and scent) of whole Peking duck quietly roasting in the background – a process the team claims run for an entire day. All tied together with attentive but not overbearing service.
The ever-popular prawn toast with dhania still continues to be a photographed favourite and never disappoints, but the real highlights lie much deeper in the menu. Think crispy prawn tempura wrapped around steamed dim sum pastry made with rice flour drenched in sesame dressing under Dim Sum Head Chef Jagat Ram.
In charge of all wok dish creations are Head Chef Chok Thapa. Try the sizzling spicy beef served with seasonal greens served on a hot skillet. Vegetarians don’t miss out on the hot skillet concept with eggplant, mushrooms, and tofu cooked to perfection.
Further big hits include the gourmet bbq half duck with pancakes, crispy lamb covered generously with Cantonese hoisin sauce, and the Thai lemongrass prawns for a more fresh and zesty flavour.
For dessert, you can’t go wrong with crumbed and deep-fried banana crepes or a trio of mango, coconut, and sesame ice cream.
A recent addition includes the Set Menu offer that gives groups of 8 or more the full culinary experience. The two options include curated starters, mains, and desserts crossing a host of flavours priced at R425 or R695 per person, excluding drinks.
Drinking is a similarly high-end experience. The expansive list covers a solid selection of South African wines from different regions that can be matched with meal choices. Keep an eye out for their cocktails with mostly gin and vodka-based mixes that are beautifully balanced while playing up to the cornerstone spicy, sour and sweet Asian flavours.
It’s clear that a lot of effort went into training the waiting staff who are ready to share some great suggestions. As General Manager Shahied Savahl explains, Haiku relies heavily on a regular group of returning guests so on-the-ball and consistent service is a must.
The fine dining restaurant in Cape Town comes with a strangely tranquil atmosphere despite being tucked between buzzy Wale street and the equally buzzy Greenmarket Square. Design and interiors feature timeless Japanese minimalism with moody lighting and finer accents of stone, paper, wood and the occasional burst of bright red. The elegant surroundings and slick service makes them ideal for romantic date nights and intimate group gatherings.
It’s this focus on intimacy and elegance — from the front door through to the food, furnishings and service — that makes Haiku a staple in Cape Town’s highly competitive restaurant scene.
– Benn Ndzoyiya
Address: 58 Burg Street, Cape Town
Tel: 021 424 7000