Getting closer to an idea of what we really want to do with Mess. It started out as an idea of … feeding really :), and has developed into more of an experimental, conceptual idea of getting people to break thru what they usually do and how we usually think - don’t think u like aspic? you do actually. not sure about that person you’ve met at the bar a 100 times but never spoken to properly. now u do. want to eat out but tired of ye old fusion/steak/smartiepantspizza restaurant. ring ring. hello? hi, kate? yes. please can we come to Mess. YES! and here’s the next thing. we’re NOT exclusive. goddamn. if i have to have one more conversation where someone says “oh, that restaurant next to kitchener’s? i’ve seen that. isn’t it like, really, like (sneer of lip) exclusive”. er. no. it’s not. apparently no one wants to phone. so herewith email: [yip, that is an embarrassing looking address, it’s my full name in case you wondered]. So email me if you would like to come. it happens once a week or so, and i can let you know when you and your maatjies can come. but please, be warned - there is a concept, there is a menu that may make u wonder, there might even be people you don;t know (gasp!) and yes, you do have to drive INTO braamfontein. if you have a prob with any of that, then … maybe we are exclusive after all. JOKES! we’re not :) email me bitches. Kxx

The menu:

french onion soup (v)
mushroom puree (v)
warm liver puree
scothched eggs
smoked duck, pork, liver and parma ham aspic

watercress and parsely soup (v)
asparagus and egg (v)
green and pink mash (v)
smoked trout and green sauce
grapefruit jelly
prawn cocktail
smoked salmon and prawn terrine

selection of jellies (half v)

People were mad for the Green Sauce on the fish. And i agree. so here’s the recipe from the St John’s cook book “Beyond Head to Tail Cooking”:

Half bunch curly parsley
Half bunch flat leaf parsley
Half bunch dill
Half bunch mint
A little tarragon
12 cloves of garlic ( yes 12 )
Tin of anchovies
Lots of capers
Olive oil
… and then liquidize

Thanks St Johns. mwah.


A quick trip to London last week meant i could finally eat at St Johns. Their philosophy of Nose-to-Tail-Eating is right in line with what we think is good about real wholefood. no bullshit, no tricks, just a kind of old fashioned authentic approach to eating that is strangely familiar and disarming. The menu is short on description whic can make ordering difficult: does one really want fagot for dinner (yes and no). I ate pigeon (mainly because you cant get them in SA - along with almost anything else I want to eat or cook - like hare, pheasant, poisson, white aubergines, truffles, affordable duck fat, good charcuterie in general, organic pork, duck eggs, a sufficient range of salami’s, Spanish Jamon, and some other things I don’t even know I want because I’ve never seen it to know that i want it). Anyway; that’s why think we should start an epicurean store soon, so we can get these ‘necessary’ ingredients. so now i have at least found a favorite restaurant and a kind of inspiration. The two recipe books they’ve published are wonderful and the green sauce from Pam’s Birthday was from there. That recipe is above.


My first contribution

i woken up by ‘hi this is jonothan cane speaking’ and told if i don’t upload photos i would be fired from my position as thing-doer!

and these photos are late but generic enough to get away with! they’re from last thursday!

see you tonight jono

1 copy

btw our new lights are up



I’m currently boiling 4 large pots of tail. i don’t know if any of you have ever done this but MY GOD i cant express to you the horror of boiling 7 Kilograms of raw meat. i feel nauseous in the morning at the best of times and now my beautiful flat smells like a shack with rancid entrails. even smoking doesn’t help. luckily i know that this recipe will result in delicious stew but right now! fuck.

The recipe then asks you to “skim off the froth that rides to the top with a slotted spoon”. I’m not sure that modern folks like us are prepared for this experience of food cooking. right now im longing for homogenised chicken fillets in plastic with those cute “tampons” to absorb the blood. Oh, and the blood from fish heads/tails/bones for the soup spilled down the front of the fridge and into the fruit/veg tray. I’m a celebrity, get me out of here.

i don’t know what to do with the skimmed scum so I’m going to flush it down the toilet. eeek

Now, once the filthy meat-scum has been disposed of, stud whole onions with one clove and add to the pot(s). Add whole carrots, peppercorns, bay leaves 350ml white wine and simmer for as long as you can … or until it seems edible.


Sometimes one just needs a little bit (a lot) of good old-fashioned Omegas, Iron and some VitaBs that don’t come in a jumbo pill, involve bending over or are disguised in tasty water.

And so, in this changing world, where tiny micro-greens and organically grown chaff are often served as supper, we invite you to join us for a diner of hearty 19th century style fish and meat.

  1. Soup: A fish veloute, served with quenelles. This French recipe is actually considered to be haute cuisine, but we serve it more like your local bistro, sloppy and toe-warming.

  2. Salad: Radachio, watercress, green leaves and maple syrup, mustard and lemon dressing to change mouth from soft sublimeness of soup to …

  3. Mains: kilos and kilos (7kgs to be exact … ) of white wine, bay leaves, cloves, onion and green peppercorns silky oxtail loveliness, sourced from our new favourite butcher. We’re going Rome on this recipe and serving the oxtail with piles and piles of pasta.

  4. Dessert: 2 x Bird Cage beautiful chocolate goo and rasberry tarts with a thin buscuit base.

  5. Coffee

Don’t forget wine for the table and R160 per head for your Member’s Fee :)

Laters. Kxx

The 2nd mess


Well, yummy, this week were eating old classics:
Traditional Spanish chicken with almonds and olives - its totally delicious. I never get tired if the sticky, white winey sauce
Chizoro with white beans and chilli (and some hidden parma ham)
Spanish tomatoes with anchovies
Italian fennel pork sausages in lentils
Aubergine salad
Bread, bread, bread, bread

Don’t worry vegetarians, there will be some green things too.

Cant wait to see you all. Don’t forget to bring wine