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A FYN time for dining

FYN, a marriage of South African and Japanese dining, climbs the ranks of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

If The World’s 50 Best Restaurants is the epicurean Academy Awards, then Cape Town’s FYN has just accepted its second Oscar. And, while chef Peter Tempelhoff may not be an actor, his skills as a culinary virtuoso have never been in question. The man can direct a gastronomic opus with aplomb, which is what he has done at his neoteric Japanese dining establishment, FYN, since it opened its doors in 2019.

While there are no criteria for restaurants to be considered (other than the fact that they are open for business and haven’t placed first for the awards previously), the voting process is rigorous. Votes are cast by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, a body made up of 1 080 leading restaurant critics, chefs, restaurateurs and gourmets from 27 regions globally.

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With each of the 1 080 selecting 10 restaurants, competition is tough. The fact that FYN has yet again been listed by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in its brief three-and-a-half-year lifespan, this time placing at number 37, is nothing short of remarkable. For many chefs in this climate, just keeping the doors open has been a challenge, let alone shining brighter than the tens of thousands of outstanding culinary establishments the world over.

FYN’s manifesto of a marriage of South African and Japanese cuisines is ambitious. Paying tribute to Africa’s ingredients and her stories while applying the techniques and rigours of Japanese food, this union manifests in a kaiseki-style menu featuring Chokka, Truffle and Ink mayonnaise, Outeniqua Springbok, Kabocha Squash, Hokkaido Pumpkin, Shiitake and Caramelised Onion Jus or Rice Ice Cream with Soya Syrup. All of this is served in the sultriest of settings, where a ceiling of wooden disks inspired by the soroban (Japanese abacus) swells into the double-volume space and a moody darkness permeates the walls and floors.


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