With the year-end holidays almost upon us, one of the Mother City’s best loved eateries is back with a delicious bang after Covid in the form of drool-worthy “feastive” season menus. Established 17 years ago and still serving up small plates that are as delectable as the day they launched in 2005 – back when Capetonians were delighted to discover then still relatively unknown eats such as Pot Stickers – Haiku Asian Tapas restaurant remains a trendsetter when it comes to dim sum and then some!
The popular spot, replete with a designer interior that takes Asian influences to heart, is part of the famed Bukhara group. Haiku is located in the heart of the CBD, adjacent Bukhara’s new flagship restaurant Awara – Asian Grills & Modern Indian, on the corner of Church and Burg Street, making it a convenient venue for urbanites and inner city workers.
While you can still order all your favourites directly off the a la carte menu, if you’re in a group of eight guests or more, you’ll have the choice of a duet of set menus that run the gamut from starters through to desserts. The concept is shared feasting and to make the moment even more special, the restaurant will help you create the mood by decorating the table with celebratory touches of your choice. It will also happily accommodate an events team if a specialized themed setting is required.
“From flowers to cakes, we’ve done it all, or they come do it themselves!” smiles General Manager, Johan Venter and Shahied Savahl. Over the years, Haiku has successfully hosted key memory moments like birthday parties, engagements, weddings, corporate team building gatherings, and year-end functions.
Once the scene is set, then comes the restaurant’s reason for being, the dishes themselves. “It’s always a lot of food!” Savahl proudly states. “Everyone has a feast and they share all the different flavours that come to the table.”
Haiku’s set menus are ideal for those with decision paralysis as the only choice that needs to be made is whether you’ll opt for Set Menu A or Set Menu B. The kitchen does cater for vegetarians and you are able to swop out items in the case of dietary allergies. After you’ve decided whether you’ll have a total feast (Menu A) or an absolute feast (Menu B), the dishes simply arrive at the table in generous waves.
“We’ve never had a situation where there hasn’t been enough food. We once had the Springbok rugby team come through many moons ago and even they couldn’t even finish it all – and our quantities haven’t changed since!” says Venter. “Usually, we’ll see someone leaving with a takeaway box in tow…”
As for what to expect from the three-course menus, Set Menu A starts with dim sum: Prawn Har Gau, Spinach Har Gau, Lamb Pot Stickers and Prawn Toast. This is followed by Sizzling Beef, Chicken Hot Pot, Cheng Yuan Fish, Cantonese Veg and Egg Fried Rice for the mains. Cheesecake and Asian Ice Cream round off the meal.
Set Menu B is more extensive. First to be served are Tuna Tacos, Salmon Tartare, Crispy Prawn Cheng Fan, Lamb Shui Jaio, Spinach Har Gau, Mushroom Pot Stickers and Peking Duck. For the main course, there’s Singapore Chilli Prawns, Salt & Pepper Calamari, Sizzling Beef, Chicken Hot Pot, Cantonese Veg, Veg Hakka Noodles, and Egg Fried Rice. Chocolate Spring Rolls, Cheesecake and Asian Ice Cream make up the desserts.
Plates are placed on the table to enable communal dining, and the experience is far more interactive than “each to his own” single portions. “We see our guests spending less time on their cell phones and more time talking as they are experiencing the various flavours and tastes and all the drama with the various skillets and plating. People are finding it very interactive and they are way more talkative!” says Venter.
Communal gatherings such as this, where the style of the meal catalyzes engagement, are perfect for festive functions. This is especially the case now, the first Xmas season after the lockdowns, at a time when the saying “the more the merrier” has new-found meaning for us.
Haiku’s set menus are priced at R425 or R695 per person, excluding drinks. Booking is essential for groups. While the restaurant may be able to accommodate walk-ins for smaller tables, making a reservation in advance is still advised due to the popularity of the venue.
To make a booking call 021 424 7000 or use the online tool: https://bukhara.com/haiku/. The restaurant’s physical address is 58 Burg Street, Cape Town City Centre.