Fyn’s unique brand of South African-Japanese cuisine may at first glance seem an unlikely candidate for the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award – but you only have to scratch the surface of Cape Town’s award-winning restaurant to discover a far-reaching philosophy that influences every aspect of the dining experience.
Take, for instance, its name. ‘Fyn’ (pronounced as ‘fayn’) is actually a nod to Fynbos, the name of the coastal and mountainous ecosystem that the culinary team has focused its research on as well as one of its most widespread plants. A hotspot of biodiversity and endemism, Fynbos is home to the Cape Floristic Region and its 9,000 species – and celebrating unique local ingredients is the cornerstone of Fyn’s concept.
Opened in 2018 by chef Peter Tempelhoff with culinary director Ashley Moss and service and beverage director Jennifer Hugé, the restaurant quickly gained a reputation as one of Cape Town’s finest and most innovative. With a deep knowledge of Japanese techniques and their rigours, Tempelhoff and Moss set to work creating a kaiseki-style menu anchored firmly in local ingredients, such as dune spinach, sea lettuce and kelp.
The team is methodical when it comes to sourcing, visiting every farm and supplier it works with. This has led to the restaurant partnering up with some of the country’s best producers, from Cape Wagyu for free-range, pasture-reared cattle, to Abalobi, South Africa’s first community-supported fishery. Meuse Farm provides the vegetables, which are grown in accordance with the principles of ecological conservation and regeneration.
In an area where water scarcity is a recurring issue, Fyn has also taken conscious steps to train its staff in water management and practical water-saving applications. Its sustainable philosophy goes beyond the obvious to comprise a commitment to its local community, for instance through a partnership with Infinity Culinary Training in Cape Town, which works with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to provide them with culinary skills.
With over 50 per cent of Fyn’s menu readily suitable for vegetarians or vegans and endemic vegetables taking centre stage, the restaurant is doubling down on its sustainable philosophy while also upholding the highest standards of flavour and technique, making it a worthy winner of the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award 2023.
The Sustainable Restaurant Award is given to the restaurant that achieves the highest environmental and social responsibility rating as determined by 50 Best’s audit partner, the Sustainable Restaurant Association. All restaurants on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 1-100 list were invited to enter the award via self-nomination and each entry was assessed across three main pillars: sourcing, society and environment.
Discover more about the previous award winners