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Chef Conrad Gallagher is back in Cape Town

Conrad Gallagher and his wife Candice are the new name and face at Café Chic in Gardens.

12 Dec 2014

Cape Town, 12 December 2014 -

Michelin-starred Irish chef Conrad Gallagher is back in Cape Town and at the helm in the kitchen of a new look Café Chic in Cape Town's Gardens.

The chef was last here in 2009 when his popular restaurant, Geisha Wok & Noodle Bar, closed amid much publicised financial woes. Since then he has spent most of his time in the States in Las Vegas and Los Angeles with PoshBurger Bistro and more recently The Chefs Studio - a cooking school in LA with 2 pop-ups including one in NYC. The plan is for graduates of the school to ultimately spend time in the Cafe Chic kitchen.

For his newest venture Chef Gallagher is staying in the kitchen and his wife Candice is the face of the business.

In their own words about their new venture:

There comes a time in a chef’s life where everything comes full circle.

For after the awards, the acknowledgements, the global consulting and the coffee-table recipe books, a great chef likes to be back where he or she started: in the kitchen.

“To be truthful, if this is all I do for the rest of my life, I will be a happy man,”

“This is where I want to be and this what I want to do,” says Conrad of his daily mantra which has brought him, Candice and family back to Cape Town from the US.

While Candice - widely recognized as a gracious host - is front of house (as well as having developed a superb cocktail and wine program), Conrad will be “where I belong”, in the kitchen, creating the remarkable dishes on Cafe Chic’s market modern cafe cuisine menu.

“Market modern cafe is about high end food served in a very casual, funky, energetic environment. In my opinion, fine dining served up in stuffy environs is dead,” says Conrad who defines his menu as “21 of my favorite dishes … a best of, if you like, which keeps on evolving”.

Café Chic serves lunch, dinner and late night cocktails in two gorgeous dining rooms, a bar, lounge, cigar room and private dining rooms in a Victorian stunner complete with roof filigree and wrap-around balcony on Breda Street.

The menu

From this - using the farm to table ethic as much as possible - Conrad’s menu is an accessible yet exciting journey into the mystique of taste: consider the Caesar Salad with corn bread, duck scotch egg and Parmesan appetizer; bamboo steamed kingklip with cumin cabbage, braised ox tail, red wine vinaigrette and baby leeks main; upside down mango cheesecake with chili and cilantro for dessert while; vegetarians will be fully catered for as fresh vegetables are the foundation of all of Conrad’s dishes and will be prepared to suit. Along with fresh local produce, Conrad imports the best Italian flour for this breads as well as aged Parmesan.

The decor

The theatre of world class cuisine, however, does not stop at the plate for beyond an antique, wooden, Egyptian front desk, Cafe Chic presents a casual glamour revealed within white-washed dining areas with gold brocade chairs and thrown cement floors; eclectic art-works; a Moroccan-boudoir style lounge area which leads to the dance-floor and; a colonial bar with a purple wall, within which a large silver mirror is set and a row of platinum-coloured bottle-keeps. The romantic balcony will be set outside when the weather is mild.

Conrad Gallagher won his first Michelin Star at the age of 24 and has cooked a dinner for Bill Clinton, he is a very talented chef with a colourful past, of that there is no doubt.  And if he keeps up the high standard of cooking, that he does so well in the kitchen, then we give Café Chic a fighting chance.

Follow them on Twitter for more pictures of Conrad's creations at Cafe Chic. 

- Cathrine Shone


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