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The 2014 Restaurant of the Year takes home a shiny new set of wheels

They’ve been named Restaurant of the Year three years in a row and – equally impressively – they’ve convinced Capetonians to plan several months ahead to get a table. What is so special about The Test Kitchen, you may ask?

The review

Food
Local and international food lovers alike flock to this gem, often after a months-long wait to get a table – and what an exceptional meal awaits them. It’s no surprise that this celebrated eatery by chef Luke Dale-Roberts, the very deserving third-time winner of Restaurant of the Year, is now featured on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Incorporating South African flavours and some serious Asian flair, every dish is technically precise, totally original and beautiful to look at. More importantly, every mouthful, created under the watchful eye of head chef Ivor Jones, is delicious. The grilled scallop with miso and shiitake is brimming with expertly layered, clean Asian flavours – a beautifully balanced and well thought-out delight. A creation of ‘foie gras with four trees’ charms with flavours of oak, pine, chestnut and maple. The seared springbok is an innovative dish, with a turnip milk stencil in the form of a tree and a splash of fermented red cabbage. Every course shines with its own identity and outstanding quality.

Barbequed langoustine en gele. Photo courtesy of Manley Communications

Barbequed langoustine en gele. Photo courtesy of Manley Communications.

Wine
An extensive wine list with a great selection of local wines. Sommelier Wayve Kolevsohn furnishes professional service and knowledgeable recommendations.

Service
Flawless, professional and slick, with smartly turned out staff members gliding quietly between the tables.

Ambience
A perfect blend of edge and elegance. Seated in this workshop of a culinary master, you might feel like you’re in New York or Copenhagen. It’s been said before, but Luke has put Cape Town on the map.

Pan seared Foie gras smoked over hot coals, pine needles and chestnuts. Photo courtesy of Manley Communications.

Pan seared Foie gras smoked over hot coals, pine needles and chestnuts. Photo courtesy of Manley Communications.

The judges’ comments

“Luke is a genius chef who excites and challenges the palates of his diners through flavour, ingredients, innovation and attitude. Every year it gets better and better.” – Abigail Donnelly

“Luke’s cooking feels almost effortless, even when you know it’s anything but.” – Kate Wilson

“The Test Kitchen has a delightful mix of industrial and neo-Parisian bistro styles, whose combination of chic art and an open kitchen leaves you the feeling of being in an atelier. You are – this is a workshop of a master culinarian. – Arnold Tanzer

“So much is said about the food (rightly so) at this place but the attention to detail in terms of design is off the charts. Everything feels world class. The logo, the menu, the stationary, the light fittings, the uniforms, the chairs… It’s all flawless. Most importantly for me, it’s done with such a specific personality. It’s not stuffy or pretentious and there are no airs and graces – it’s just flat-out cool. I feel like this venue could go toe-to-toe with anything in London, Barcelona or Copenhagen in terms of style.” – Andy Fenner

(Read more about the judges here.)

The Test Kitchen team with the Mercedes Benz C-Class they get to drive  for a whole year!

The Test Kitchen team with the Mercedes Benz C-Class they get to drive for a whole year!

The prize

Thanks to our new title sponsor Mercedes-Benz, The Test Kitchen team will get to drive a new Mercedes-Benz C-Class for a whole year!

The reader reviews

Six of us had dinner last night, and all the raves are totally true! It was one of the best meals of my life, and I’m already saving to go back. We had a wonderful time and were engaged, thrilled, enchanted, surprised and excited by every plate. By the time you’re through the five-course menu (which actually is more like an eight course with various titbits, starters, amuse bouches, palate cleansers and the like), you’re in complete sensory overload. Thanks for a great experience.” – Cobie van Oort

Chicken & Sherry glazed sweetbreads, Almond Milk, Almond falafel, Celeriac Crisps, Grapes. Photo courtesy of Manley Communications.

Chicken & Sherry glazed sweetbreads, Almond Milk, Almond falafel, Celeriac Crisps, Grapes. Photo courtesy of Manley Communications.

“Dining at The Test Kitchen was such a treat, from the overall service to the mind-blowing detail and taste bud explosion of each delicious course (including the many surprises in between). Superb experience, I can’t wait to be back.” – Francesca Tiganis

“Absolutely superb!!! Whenever I can get a reservation it will always be my first choice. Had lunch on Friday the 18/9/2014. Every mouthful was a delight and surprise. Who ever thought that Luke Dale-Roberts and his team could still surpass their amazing standards and wonderful clever and innovative dishes? I have eaten all over the world in fine dining restaurants. This restaurant can match any top ten in the world. The Test Kitchen is surely the best in SA.” – Elisbie Kies
Have you been to The Test Kitchen? Add your own review here and Eat Out will sponsor a meal for a child with our partnership with Stop Hunger Now SA.

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