TANG Waterfront opened in Cape Town on Thursday, about a year and a half after the opening of TANG Sandton, with a premier grand event which included dancing to Grammy Award winning DJ Black Coffee and a Chinese dragon ensemble.
TANG describes itself as an Asian Luxury Restaurant and Bar, and is owned by Nicky van der Walt, a former Capetonian who now lives in Johannesburg. The restaurant name stems from the Tang dynasty which ruled China from 618 to 907.
On arrival we were offered a choice of wines, gin, whisky, or vodka, there seeming to be almost as many waitrons as invited guests. The dress code was ‘glamour’ and most guests were dressed to the nines, in accordance with this red carpet event of the year, something Cape Town has not experienced since Lockdown in 2020. The stature of the event coupled with the entertainment by DJ Black Coffee made it an event not to be missed.
What made the event even more special for me was that a large number of former Zest staff now work at TANG Waterfront, and we had a very happy reunion. Josie Milner in particular looked after me and my plus one Ute Hermanus, as did her colleagues in bringing us top-ups of our drinks, a glass of Moët et Chandon at the time of the speeches, and numerous bites of dishes from their pan-Asian menu, including sushi, oysters, dim sum, short rib, tacos, black cod, salmon teriyaki, tuna tataki, and other Cantonese cuisine, reflecting what one would find in contemporary Japanese izakaya restaurants and bars.
The venue appears vast, being 700 square meters in size, with an outside seating area too. The decor is very understated yet it reflects luxury, with lots of marble and oak panelling, and two striking black vases with cherry blossom branches provide a splash of colour as one enters the restaurant, yet reflects luxury with style. Not all the tables had been set up, given the space needed for the opening party. Awards-winning Tristan du Plessis designed the interior, which includes a multi-gender bathroom, having created the interior of TANG Sandton too, as well as that of FYN Restaurant. Like its Sandton counterpart, it has a TANG branded waterfall at the entrance, a champagne fridge, and a walk-in cellar. Its location offers a stunning view over the Waterfront yacht basin and onto Table Mountain.
New GM Mark Williams impressed, not having met before, regularly coming to our table, explaining the menu and bringing me a copy to see one.
The TANG kitchens are headed up by Executive Chef Vixa Kalenga, previously with Willoughby’s and the Kove Collection in Cape Town, and Ethos Greek restaurant in Johannesburg. Signature large plate dishes include Peking Duck (R395 half/R789 full), black cod miso (R910), crispy orange chicken (R260), soft shell crab (SQ), coconut sea bass (R320), and a big offering of sushi and wok dishes. Wagyu dishes feature in the menu, including beef tartare (R195). The kitchen uses robata grills, infusing the dishes with smoky flavours, reflecting Asian fireside cooking. Paging through the menu, it offers a wide variety of Asian dishes, including small plates, dim sum, pot stickers (gyoza), tacos, salads, woks, robata grill meats and vegetables, and Signature large plates. Desserts include a Vietnamese Tiramisu (R130), Mandarin Crêpe Suzette (R115), Fortune Cookie (R120) and a selection of sorbets (R40).
TANG Waterfront will make a huge impression on the Cape Town dining scene, and will be a big challenge to Willoughby’s passage restaurant. It is not the cheapest restaurant in Cape Town, but the view, its excellent service, and its stylish feel will attract locals as well as tourists. Congratulations to Nicky van der Walt and his team. I can’t wait to try their Peking Duck.
TANG Asian Luxury Restaurant & Bar Waterfront, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town. Cell 076 652 8972. www.tanghospitality.com Instagram: @tang_waterfront Open Mondays – Sunday’s. Book at Dineplan.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide