After a 10-year cooking stint in London, Giles Edwards has returned to South Africa to open his first restaurant, La Tête, in Cape Town. The restaurant is a farm to fork eatery giving a nod to the French, with the emphasis on direct relationships with producers.
Dishes which feature are mussels with bacon and cider, roast shallots, mint and pork terrine, hake, chard and anchovy, beef and kidney pudding and ox heart with chips and horseradish. Desserts are classic offerings of salted chocolate caramel tart, poached guavas, and chocolate pots.
While in London is was Giles’s long held ambition was to work with Fergus Henderson in the St. John in Smithfield, an establishment widely acknowledged as having kick-started the British food renaissance.
“Fergus became my mentor,” says Giles. “At St. John I encountered a food philosophy that centered on simple ingredient based concepts. The food had to be seasonal. You served what was fresh and available that day. The menu changed often, sometimes twice a day.”
Returning to Cape Town last year he started looking for a suitable restaurant space, and in the intervening period, opened a pop-up called Salt Cellar, in Woodstock.
He found his ideal premises for La Tête in an old Lion Beer public house, located near the Foreshore, on 17 Bree Street. It’s in a 1930s art deco style building.
“It’s perfect for what I want to do,” says Giles. “I want a simple space, without distraction. The focus has to be on the food, the wine and the company.”
“I have decided to name it La Tête. It symbolizes what we will do. I intend to use the entire animal. The head has a brain, tongue and cheek and I suppose I am giving a nod to the French, who are masters at offal.”
Giles aims to create food from the whole carcass, with nothing wasted. Beef, lamb, goat and seafood will all feature. “Direct relationships with producers will be important to me. Provenance is key.”