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South Africa’s Top 10 restaurants

An unforgettable Sunday lunch at SunExhibits Centre at GrandWest set the scene for the announcement of South Africa’s top culinary talent at the 2015 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. Here are South Africa’s current Top 10 restaurants.

1. The Test Kitchen (Woodstock, Cape Town)
Celebrated chef Luke-Dale Roberts delivers once-in-a-lifetime experiences with his modern fine dining. “Creativity, talent, innovation, and oh, the food! This is what places The Test Kitchen at the forefront of South African dining.” – Chief judge Abigail Donnelly.

Pine-cured trout, smoed pine-nut puree, pine oil and organic beets. Photo by Jan Ras.

The Test Kitchen’s pine-cured trout, smoed pine-nut puree, pine oil and organic beets. Photo by Jan Ras.

2. La Colombe (Constantia, Cape Town)
Eat Out S.Pellegrino Chef of the Year Scot Kirton is dishing up outstanding food with character and confidence. Based at a new venue on Silvermist Wine Estate, this restaurant shot up to number two this year with dishes like seated tuna tataki served in a tiny tuna can, and ginger curd, cashew cake and mango sorbet for pud.

La Colombe's Asian-style seared scallops and pork belly with kimchi, corn, miso aubergine, crackling, lemongrass and ginger veloute. Photo by Jan Ras.

La Colombe’s Asian-style seared scallops and pork belly with kimchi, corn, miso aubergine, crackling, lemongrass and ginger veloute. Photo by Jan Ras.

3. The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (Franschhoek)
Executive chef Margot Janse is an artist who enthralls diners with her bold, creative experiments in local flavour. “Margot is one of our most accomplished, confident chefs. Her food, which pays respect to a sense of place, leaves the diner enraptured.” – Chief judge Abigail Donnelly

Perlemoen, waterblommetjie and sour fig at The Tasting Room. Photo by Jan Ras.

Perlemoen, waterblommetjie and sour fig at The Tasting Room. Photo by Jan Ras.

4. Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel (Constantia, Cape Town)
Executive chef Peter Tempelhoff combines local produce and brave flavours to produce truly refined plates. “Greenhouse impresses with its well thought-out menu, fantastic presentation and absolutely amazing food.” – Judge Siba Mtongana

Release the Kraken! A dish of octopus and game fish with ginger-infused squid ink and frozen yuzu dressing. Photo by Jan Ras.

Release the Kraken! A dish of octopus and game fish with ginger-infused squid ink and frozen yuzu dressing at Greenhouse. Photo by Jan Ras.

5. Five Hundred at The Saxon Hotel (Sandton, Johannesburg) – now closed
Having served exquisite dishes that were both elegant and a touch whimsical, chef David Higgs left a lasting impression.

Kabeljou pickle with raw pea juice at Five Hundred.

Kabeljou pickle with raw pea juice at Five Hundred.

6. The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Somerset West)
A newcomer to the Eat Out Top 10, chef Gregory Czarnecki produces seasonal food that’s beautifully balanced and plated. Applying French technique, he creates fare as light and ethereal his glasshouse lair in the mountains of the Helderberg.

Foie-gras terrine, hibiscus, quince and pain d'epices. Photo by Jan Ras.

Foie-gras terrine, hibiscus, quince and pain d’epices at the Restaurant at Waterkloof. Photo by Jan Ras.

7. Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient (Elandsfontein, Pretoria)
Chantel Dartnall is a chef in her element, serving precise, personal food that is creatively plated and brimming with flavour. Expect to be blown away by the sheer drama of the meal.

West Coast rock lobster with hibiscus consommé.

West Coast rock lobster with hibiscus consommé at Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient.

8. Terroir (Stellenbosch)
Michael Broughton’s menu overflows with sincerity and generosity, leading to an unforgettable dining experience. “Every plate demonstrates the precision and attention to detail which Michael and his team aspire.” – Judge Jackie Cameron

Smoked duck with chestnut puree, fontina tortellini, savoury granola, dried blueberries and parmesan. Photo by Jan Ras.

Terroir’s smoked duck with chestnut purée, fontina tortellini, savoury granola, dried blueberries and parmesan. Photo by Jan Ras.

9. The Pot Luck Club (Woodstock, Cape Town)
Chefs Luke Dale-Roberts and Wesley Randles take the diner on a remarkable adventure of flavour and texture. The descriptions on the tapas menu are understated, barely hinting at the magical dishes to come. “Fresh, modern, and perfectly in tune with its edgy environment.” – Judge Benny Masekwameng

 Springbok carpaccio, smoked pine-nut meringue, goat's milk curd and burnt-honey-and-rosemary dressing.

Springbok carpaccio, smoked pine-nut meringue, goat’s milk curd and burnt-honey-and-rosemary dressing at The Pot Luck Club.

10. Jordan Restaurant (Stellenbosch)
Chef George Jardine’s fantastic seasonal menus deliver personality, authenticity, and memorable flavour combinations. “I love the refreshing, tranquil experience that is Jordan.” – Judge Siba Mtongana

Butter-roasted lamb heart, caramelised onion and spring greens. Photo by Jan Ras.

Butter-roasted lamb heart, caramelised onion and spring greens at Jordan Restaurant. Photo by Jan Ras.

In addition to the Top 10, Eat Out recognised the following with special awards:

S.Pellegrino Chef of the Year: Scot Kirton of La Colombe

Service Excellence Award: The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (Franschhoek)

Nederburg Rising Star: Carmen Muller of The Tasting Centre at Rupert & Rothschild (Franschhoek)

Wine Service Award: Lloyd Jusa at Five Hundred at The Saxon (Sandton, Johannesburg) – now closed

Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award (in association with Novus Holdings): Liz McGrath

Boschendal Style Award: Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel (Constantia, Cape Town)

Woolworths TASTE Eat Out Bursary: Charlton de Ruiter

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