Update On Cape Town?
Noted that discussions here are dated. Anyone have updates on great eats in and around Cape Town for trip planned early December? Looking for suggestions for both business dinners during conference and post work enjoyment of nearby wine region.
Have only just arrived but can already recommend Pot Luck Club for casual dining with interesting flavor and texture combinations. Will attempt a full report while traveling but, at the latest, by end of month. You must book several weeks ahead for parties larger than two.
Also on our list is their sibling, The Test Kitchen, very highly regarded by locals and also needing to be booked well in advance. Again, details to come...
Just to quickly follow up, before a longer report later, our dinner at The Test Kitchen was superb. Intricate combination of textures and flavors and well worth the price which, while high for CapeTown at ZAR 1483 for two persons (currently about 10 ZAR to $US1), presented excellent ratio of price to value. Again, will write in full after return.
As promised, more details on my (two) dinners at The Test Kitchen in the Woodstock neighborhood of Cape Town:
THE TEST KITCHEN
We had two outstanding dinners at this award-winning restaurant which occupies a ground floor former industrial space in the Old Biscuit Mill Complex, not far from its more casual sibling, the Pot Luck Club. Diners adhere to one of two set menus; there is no a la carte option. The dishes do not change much in the course of a week so, essentially, we had the same meal on two different evenings, something I cannot recall ever doing in a restaurant. Dinner was so good that this was hardly a hardship. (The restaurant has just snagged the top spot in the 2013 EatOut Awards for the best restaurant in South Africa)
On both evenings, my partner had the Discovery Menu (R520) and I had the same, with wine pairings (R765). All wines were South African.
Dinner opened with two amuse and a bread plate highlighted by wonderful pretzel bread sticks, followed by a shaved salad starring pickled yellowtail accompanied by BBQ carrots and a honeycomb dusted with Ras Al Hanout spice blend. This was truly lovely.
Second course, for me, was Plum-cured foie gras with cinammon poached guava. Marvelous! For my partner: Grilled scallop with miso and shitake mushrooms, prepared two ways. Like all of the dishes we enjoyed, these were intricately arranged and imaginatively presented in a manner that reminded me a bit of the work of Wunderkind British Chef Paul Liebrandt. Next, for both of us: Pork belly with apple and honey, served alongside pork cracklings. Absolutely smashing; perhaps the best dish of the trip!
Main course, again for both: Chef’s signature dish of duck, magret and confit, with truffle and foie gras egg. Another winner.
Dessert: Assiette of chocolate..intricate and fantastic.
I gave the barest details above; the dishes were so intricate, and so inventive, with so many complimentary elements drawn from not only European and South African, but also Asian and North African flavor profiles, that it is very difficult for me to recount with any accuracy exactly how they were presented.
Here is the menu, with a bit more detail; the menu had changed slightly when we dined there last month:
The industrial-chic design--metal, wood, and brick elements, towering ceilings crisscrossed by weathered wooden beams--is handsome and, thankfully, the dining area was not deafeningly noisy. There is counter as well as table seating. Dress is casual. Service was exemplary: Informative and very friendly.
Taxi fare is about R70-80, each way, from the center.
Reservations are needed many weeks in advance, perhaps more for high season. Outstanding! The total for dinner, for two of us, amounted to
R1483, including tip, or about US$150.