Restaurant Review : New Shoreditch House restaurant at the refurbished The Winchester Boutique Hotel is not yet ready to receive diners!



On Saturday I met Gary Peterson at The Winchester Boutique Hotel (they have dropped the ‘Mansions’ out of the branding) to explore the refurbished 99 year old lady, which reopened last Monday, it being my first home for 9 months when my parents and I arrived in Cape Town from Germany, when I was 3 months old, an apartment block at the time.

Winchester Mansions also was where I got engaged, in its fabulous Orangerie Restaurant, one of few exceptional restaurants in Cape Town at the time, and also where my sisters and I and our families celebrated the life of both my parents.

While we had a lovely relaxed time exploring the hotel and having lunch, I was shocked at how unready the restaurant is to have opened and receive diners.

The Hotel

We walked the hotel area as a start, being checked in at a very smart looking desk with a qfuturistic sanitising machine that looked like a Fifties microphone. Our temperatures were taken and we had to sign in. It is a five star welcome outside the entrance door to the four star hotel. From the street the building bears the new name The Winchester.

As one nears the building, one sees new branding on mirror windows : Shoreditch House and Harvey’s, the former completely new and sounding like a guest house in a hotel but it is the unusual name of a new restaurant in the former space of  Harvey’s, while the latter now is the restaurant in the bar and former lounge. All very confusing,  On Google I found reference to Shoreditch being an ‘arty area’ in London, with ‘fashionable clubs and bars that surround Shoreditch Street’. I found a Shoreditch House via Google, described as a ‘polished members’ club with stylish hotel rooms, 2 restaurants, a spa, and a heated rooftop pool’. More about the restaurants follows below.

Given my historic link to The Winchester, I asked at the very modern designed reception desk, one of two, if we could see the room in which we lived, pointing it out to a receptionist, and what the rate is. It must have taken a good 10-15 minutes for him to find the rate and to get the key to take us up to show us Room 115, a Junior Suite with a rate of R2850. Room 115 looked very small, and may have been half the apartment at the time in which we lived there, adjacent to what is now Room 116. There is space for a double bed, a sleeper couch in a little alcove, and a small but very chic bathroom in black, with a lshower and one basin, one of the reasons why the hotel cannot achieve five stars despite the refurbishment.  The bedroom had tones of grey and white, with only the front cushions made with Ardmore design fabric adding a touch of green.  The walkways on the second floor were partly tiled and partly carpeted, and the receptionist told us that it previously had green carpets with put-put holes, for use by the guests and or apartment tenants.

The hotel is now run by Newark Hotels, Reserves, Lodges, & Residences, running Accommodation properties on behalf of their owners.  Interesting is that The Winchester restaurants are outsourced to a company owned by Rory Jossel, which also manages Yu Restaurant and MRKT Cape Town in city centre hotels.

The Courtyard is as charming as ever, now covered with wall to wall black and white striped umbrellas.  The old fountain reflects the history of the building and adds to the dining enjoyment of watching birds having a bath in it.  Ancient bougainvillaeas add splashes of colour on the higher floors of the building, visible as one enters the Courtyard, which has been tiled, the same design now on the outside terraces.

I loved the metal vine decoration on the ceiling leading from the entrance door to the Courtyard, with origami birds on it.


Shoreditch House and Harvey’s Restaurants 

Harvey’s has been moved to the Bar and previous lounge area, there being no lounge anymore, this area looked very bare except for the restaurant tables and chairs and bar counter, and is set to serve Tapas, we were told. However, as it is early days, only having opened a week ago, there is no menu for Harvey’s.

What was Harvey’s previously is now Shoreditch House Restaurant, intended to have a more upmarket food offering.

Both restaurants have the same furniture, despite Shoreditch House having more upmarket cuisine. The colour scheme is white walls and grey curtains, with no colour added, not even any plants, and  the walls being bare.  It was no surprise that barely anyone sat inside the restaurants, and that the few tables on the outside terrace and in the Courtyard were full.

What was confusing was that despite there being two restaurants one could only order from the Shoreditch House menu, offering 5 Small Plates and 4 Large Plates options. Sharing is the mantra here.….. except that the Small Plate Springbok Tartare dish that Gary ordered was so tiny that we had a third of a toast and a forkful of the tartare, avocado, coriander, crispy leeks, and Asîan dressing each, at R95. We shared a R65 bowl of chips with a horrid spice on top, just dreadful. Other Small Plates options were two oysters at R50, three tiny Tacos with seared tuna, Mexican molé (Crème fraîche and 14 spices) at R80, crispy chicken wings with two Asian dips (R85), and Edamame beans charred on the grill with a chili dressing and burnt lime. (R78). The Small Plates are supposed to be the Tapas of Harvey’s too…….. more confusion!.

Large Plate dishes range between R165 and R225.  The four options are slow-cooked Beef Short Rib (R225), Dirty Rib Eye seared on the coals (R220), charred Linefish (R220), and peri-peri glazed Baby Chicken (R165). Side dishes are very expensive, ranging from R45 – R75.

It was a delight to reconnect with Charlene van Heerden, the Food & Beverage Manager, whom I first met when she managed Giorgio Nava’s Caffe Milano, a favourite of mine at the time, which he changed into his only existing Carne. She also worked at Zenzero in Camps Bay. Nothing was too much trouble for her.

She organised for Chef Tim Pick to come to our table in the Courtyard, a friendly chap whom I had not met before. He refused to answer my question as to where he had worked previously, but through a process of elimination and determination I worked out that it is Foxcroft in Constantia, and at La Colombe, Sixteen82, and The Foodbarn before that too. He did not want to reveal the restaurant names as he did not want us to expect food of that fine dining calibre at The Winchester. Chef  Tim told us that they encourage ‘communal eating’ at the restaurant.  Chef Tim told us that they gutted the hotel kitchen, and started from scratch, with a Diablo stove and oven, and an open charcoal grill in the centre of what has become a very hot and small looking kitchen.

We shared the only two desserts on offer,  at R75 each: three mini churros filled with a custard cream liquid and served with horrid Miso ice cream,  and three small ice cream sandwiches with flavours that the chef was not even sure of, thinking they were rum and pineapple, burnt honey and rosemary, and lavender and coconut.

We saw an Afternoon Tea set up, with a Baked Cheesecake (price per slice unknown by anyone), Lamingtons, and scones (R40), with disgusting looking marmalade, and blackberry jam, and cream, nothing like their fabulous scones from the good old days. We were told that there will no,longer be Breakfast Brunches on Sundays, but that non-Hotel guests can order breakfast at the hotel. They are thinking of bringing back the Sunday Jazz for lunch.



Anyone who has been a fan of The Winchester could be disappointed with the reopened old lady. The rooms have been refurbished, and the bathrooms especially look very snazzy and modern. The reception desks and lifts opposite Reception are very modern. The courtyard has been tiled and covered with black and white striped umbrellas.

I would strongly advise that one stay away from ordering the food until they have settled in. The staff only started working in the kitchen 10 days ago, and things felt very disorganized. Food is extremely expensive for the minute portions you get! Don’t expect to find any dishes you have ever had there before. The emphasis on the dishes is spiciness, with an Asian focus. All the staff appear to be brand new,  the former staff probably retrenched when they closed the doors for the renovations during Lockdown.


Shoreditch House Restaurant, The Winchester Boutique Hotel, 221 Beach Road, Sea Point, Cape Town. Tel (021) 434-2351, Instagram: @shoreditch_house_capetown  @thewinchester_hotel @pick.timothy


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide


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