HEAD chef at The Stack, Jason Kosmas, says he “really just enjoys being around food all the time and loves giving diners an experience where they are left reminiscing about all details of their meal.”
After having lunch there yesterday I can confirm he has achieved this, as has pastry chef Meghan Christelis.
The Stack begins delivering even before you walk in the front door of Leinster Hall, with its pretty garden and veranda where you can sit in comfort with a cigarette and a glass of wine. Just inside, to the right, is the bar, and to the left is the Brasserie. These two areas contrast each other with bright bold colours on the one hand, a muted and soothing environment on the other.
Owners Nigel Pace and Sarah Ord bring their combined skills in hotel management and interior design respectively to create an environment which oozes style – and is accessible to everyone who appreciates a fine eye for detail. Yes, it is also a private members’ club; that happens on the upper level where those outrageously gorgeous jewel colours, vibrant prints and stunning art on the walls provide a work space with a difference.
In the Brasserie, Kosmas’s menu full of classic French influences combines with impeccable service to give diners that memorable experience he’s after. Here, “bistro” has been perfectly interpreted and it’s no wonder The Stack won a well-deserved Eat Out award earlier this month.
It took me all of two minutes to decide what to have – to start, the Stack Salad with peas, asparagus, avocado and leaves topped with a perfect hardboiled egg and tiny croutons, followed by steak frites. Divine Lady D took a little longer but eventually chose butternut salad, and the last portion of the sea bass plat du jour, served with pea risotto.
My salad was spring on a plate – not only tasty but with the added benefit of being a medley of glorious greens as well as a side order of robust good health. Divine Lady D took the first forkful of her salad and, with eyes rolling back in her head, declared: “Oh my god, this is fabulous!” When one has this reaction to a bowl of vegetables and toasted seeds, you know you’ve grown up. A little bit, at least.
My 250g Chalmar sirloin was perfectly prepared as per my request. Slowly but surely, I am introducing “rare medium” rather than medium rare…not to mess with kitchens but because it best describes how I like my steak. Sometimes this can miss the mark, but here it was a bulls eye hit. The meat was juicy, with a lovely strip of fat. It’s served with frites and a béarnaise sauce, also spot on. I gave the frites to Lady D and had a side dish of chargrilled broccoli – half a whole head – with yoghurt and lemon.
Lady D was equally delighted with her sea bass, with its crispy skin and vibrant risotto. “You do know you have to take one for the team and have dessert, right?” I told her. A fleeting expression of concern crossed her face but she stepped up and ordered lemon curd tartlet with burnt Swiss meringue and summer berries.
Who cuts blueberries in half, and pipes coulis on the raspberries? Meghan Christelis, that’s who. Just when you think the kitchen cannot possibly raise the bar, it does. Not only was this exquisite on the plate, but on the palate. A tart tart, if you will.
If you still need to ask how good The Stack is, I’ll leave you with this: I’m going back for dinner next week.
The Brasserie is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more info or to make a reservation, click here.
ABOUT THE CHEF
Jason Kosmas has been working in popular Cape Town restaurants such as The Roundhouse since 2008. Till most recently he has been acting as head chef at the award winning Chefs Warehouse & Canteen and as assisting head chef at trendy Indian restaurant Thali, also part of the Chefs Warehouse group. Now this young chef with Greek and Italian roots is adding his signature style to The Brasserie at The Stack.
“I grew up in an Italian family always surrounded by amazing food cooked by my mother and grandmother, which means that from a very young age I was always interested in creating bold and interesting flavours,” he says.
The stylishly designed Brasserie is known for its authentic, hearty French style cuisine, and with Kosmas on board, diners can look forward to the same no-fuss authenticity but with a fresh spin. With a focus on bright, light flavours and plenty of vegetarian and calorie counting options, this menu is perfect for all day dining for this spring.
“I really just enjoy being around food all the time and love giving diners an experience where they are left reminiscing about all details of their meal,” says Jason.