She’s done it again! The quirky, highly talented Ash Heeger has created a Cape Town dining experience unlike any other. Bringing honesty, family and sustainability to the table; as the much-anticipated Riverine Rabbit opens its doors for summer 2018.
Nestled just off the beaten track on Church Street in Cape Town’s city center, a new breed of restaurant is set to reveal itself to an eager crowd, hungry for something a little different.
This October, Riverine Rabbit, formerly known as Ash Restaurant, will welcome guests to an upmarket and sophisticated space curated by sister team Ash Heeger and Mandy van der Berg.
Living sustainably is important to the duo, who believe that living sustainably should be important to everyone. Choosing a name that was representative of that, coupled with their unique personalities, beliefs and brand goals was the very first, vital step.
“The riverine rabbit is an indigenous animal found in the Karoo, which is facing near extinction,” says van der Berg. “And it’s a direct result of human behaviour. Extensive cultivation and livestock grazing have destroyed their natural habitat. So immediately, this brings about a sense of something close to home, and how we need to protect it.”
“For us, it’s not just a name. It’s a showcase of what we as a brand want to achieve.” That is, educating clientele on sustainability.
Head Chef Ash Heeger’s sentiments echo the same beliefs. “Dealing with fresh food and ingredients on a daily basis, we have a responsibility to sustainability. As a brand, we have a platform from which to inspire others to tread lightly and leave something worthwhile behind. We can only hope that the message resonates. And others follow!”
As a fresh new offering on the Cape Town foodie scene, Riverine Rabbit promises a delightful escape from daily stress, typical cuisine and the humdrum hustle and bustle of everyday life. Expect bold and creative flavour combinations, local artworks, fresh designs, natural light and oodles of greenery, to create a light and welcoming eatery.
All in all, an upmarket fine dining experience where the emphasis is less on pompous place settings and stiff upper lip, and more on seriously great food prepared with passion, served with heart and enjoyed in comfort and class.
“Cooking inspires me more than anything else,” says Heeger. “Working with local ingredients and being allowed to add creativity to each dish. That’s why I love doing what I do.” Add a room filled with hungry guests expecting to be impressed… and that’s all the motivation she needs. After two years of hard graft running, cooking and managing Ash Restaurant, Heeger attributes the fact that she was both young and ‘unseasoned’ as a restaurateur to her success.
“It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I was forced out of my comfort zone and had to become this employer who just managed everything. It fast tracked my maturity, in a big way. Now, I’ve really enjoyed the hard thinking that comes with a rebrand and I’ve particularly enjoyed working with my sister. The whole experience feels right in my heart, and I know that self-assurance will come across to anyone who walks through the door.”
Included in the new restaurant offering is an intimate Chef’s Table experience. “I’ve always wanted to have a table in my kitchen, but I just never found the right place or space. So I’m really excited about being able to give guests an exclusive look into how our kitchen works, a dedicated server and of course, lots of one on one time with me. It’s a cosy and unique experience and gives us a chance to try new dishes, and have guests be a part of the process while savouring on something delicious at the same time.”
Since renovations began in June this year, the team have used the time to reset, re-evaluate and get inspired for their next culinary adventure. “We have loved every second of the rebranding process. From the winter break that allowed us to find inspiration around the world, to sourcing local materials, and commissioning up-and-coming artists, and of course, creating the new Riverine Rabbit identity. Our logo is strong and bold, and it depicts exactly what we want the brand to represent,” says van der Berg. “We have worked tirelessly, and passionately to get this right and we believe that we’re in a place that we can be very proud of.”
Riverine Rabbit opens for business in October 2018. Guests will be able to select from a short three-course offering, a five-course reduced tasting menu, or go all the way with a carefully curated seven-course degustation, paired with carefully selected wines.