A gorgeous new restaurant in Cape Town’s popular Kloof Street neighbourhood is creating a buzz with locals and visitors alike, thanks to its imaginative interiors, clever cocktails and continental Africa-influenced sharable dining experience.
Upper Union, housed in MORE Family Collection’s Cape Cadogan Boutique Hotel, is the South African hospitality group’s first foray into the restaurant scene. While the MORE’s hotels and safari lodges are known for their upmarket décor and elevated cuisine, onsite dining has always been a necessity of place rather than a destination-worthy endeavour.
That changed when CEO Robert More and his team decided to turn Cape Cadogan’s restaurant into a gathering place that would not only add to Kloof Street’s burgeoning food scene but become a place to escape, indulge and connect over food, wine and cocktails. He tapped talented chef Amori Burger, who formerly oversaw the culinary program at the company’s renowned Lion Sands properties, to bring the food concept to life.
Chef Burger brings passion, creativity and a love of bold flavours to the table. Believing that every meal is meant to bring people together, she favours a family-style sharing experience, where each dish serves as a touchpoint of connection as it’s passed.
“A good meal isn’t just about the food. It’s about the entire experience,” Burger says. “It should be a time to have a glass of wine, talk, laugh, maybe even fight, but it’s all about connection.”
Her seasonal and evolving menu starts with bold flavours from the African continent, such as Cape Malay-spiced mussels and marmite ox tongue flavoured with blood orange. Next, a small selection of four mains, usually centred around a lamb or beef dish, vegetables or fish, is chosen by the table with the sides shared family style. Those sides and a selection of tapas-style small plates are given as much creativity and thought as the mains.
“It’s not all about the protein,” Burger says. “We focus on everything on the plate, building layers of flavours. We’re very spice- and flavour-forward and always changing. This lets the team get creative and try new things, new ideas.”
A small but “fabulous” wine list full of small-scale boutique and local wineries and a serious cocktail program led by award-winning Just Short cocktails round out the culinary program.
Interiors were also given the bold treatment, with a playful design by Caline Williams-Wynn of Artichoke Interior Design, who cleverly married the building’s heritage bones with a modern emerald, black and white palette in a deeply inviting space reminiscent of New Orleans.