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2015 Boschendal Style Award nominee: The Test Kitchen

Our latest nominee for the 2015 Boschendal Style Awards is The Test Kitchen, with its trendy yet earthy style that epitomises the hip surroundings of Woodstock. A blend of sophistication and edge, here’s why The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale-Roberts deserves its nomination.

The space

Eat Out’s reigning number one restaurant offers diners a host of exciting and enticing new dishes and an interior to match. “Since winning number 28 spot in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants earlier this year, we’ve been spending time concentrating on all aspects of the restaurant,” says chef and owner Luke Dale-Roberts.

The table setting at The Test Kitchen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The seating space at The Test Kitchen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The finer details

Luke chose The Old Biscuit Mill as the venue because of its aspirational qualities and great community feeling. Aiden Hart of In House Design meticulously took care of the interiors and layout, with designer Sandalene Dale-Roberts, Luke’s wife, also adding her creative touch to the eatery.

Light shining in through the windows onto the furniture at The Test Kitchen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Light shining onto the furniture at the entrance of The Test Kitchen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Rice and grain sacks have been up-cycled as table runners, tie-dyed a deep charcoal, and perfectly juxtapose with the delicate John Bauer ceramics on the tables. The ceramic pieces are embellished with John’s signature floral porcelain work, which adds a touch of elegance to the industrial-style space.

New chairs designed by Sandalene make a bold, modern yet firmly African statement: copper supports combined with Nguni hide seats and backrests provide a warm and textured richness to the space. Fresh works of art constantly change on the walls. Currently, Peter Eastman’s watercolours provide splashes of drama. The designed stencils of the watercolours are also used in the kitchen, giving Luke and his culinary team even more opportunity to create an artwork on every plate.

The table setting at The Test Kitchen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The table setting at The Test Kitchen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The cuisine

Luke’s world-class and modern fine dining constantly pushes the boundaries with ever-evolving dishes that have a South African flair. Current favourites include African rosti, served with amasi curd, or the subtly deconstructed Lamb Smiley. The current signature dish is a Nordic-inspired blinissoisse, which consists of a chilled blini creme, barbecued langoustine en gele, langoustine tataki, and liquorice powder.

Does The Test Kitchen have what it takes to win the 2015 Boschendal Style Award? We’ll find out at the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards on 15 November. Stay tuned to see our other nominees.

A dish of chilled blini creme, barbequed langoustine en gele, langoustine tataki and liquorice powder at The Test Kitchen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

A dish of chilled blini creme, barbequed langoustine en gele, langoustine tataki and liquorice powder at The Test Kitchen. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

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