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The Chefs’ Table

The Chefs’ Table
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Cost
R395 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Food
Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R85 (wine); R120 (MCC); R200 (French)

Critic's review

Seth Shezi

Chef Kayla-Ann Osborn was named the Eat Out Rising Star at the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards, an accolade bestowed upon bright young chefs showing exceptional promise. Chef Kayla-Ann has turned her lashings of ‘potential’ to bonafide success with her restaurant, The Chefs’ Table, which since its opening has become a shining beacon in the KZN food scene, with high-quality ingredients prepared earnestly.

Food
The seasonal menu uses ingredients and produce sourced from KZN as much as possible. There is a keen focus on the quality of these ingredients, some of which are supplied by Constantijn Hahndiek of Sagra Foods – a chef himself, who ensures only the best produce is supplied to clients. What Chef Kayla-Ann and her young team do with the ingredients shows a profound understanding for flavour and meticulous technique well beyond their collective years.

The starters offer an inspired selection of rare ingredients, with dishes such as the sea urchin risotto with preserved lemon, charred chive foam and parsley or the dune spinach and paneer ravioli with burnt butter and cashew paste. There’s also the stunning dish of chicken oysters with mushroom ravioli, wild mushrooms, parmesan and jus.

The generous main courses at The Chefs’ Table are all about celebrating provenance. Dishes such as the Moores Pitt chicken thighs with shiitake mushrooms, smoked apple, baby potatoes and spiced grapes, as well as the melt-in-your-mouth beef fillet with summer squash, pickled celery and horseradish are just some of the delicious standouts that are sourced from neighbouring producers.

The desserts are delicately plated, well balanced and always draw inspiration from a familiar childhood memory.

Drinks
The wine list reads like a bible and the modern cellar, visible from the dining room, keeps some of the finest Cape vintages. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the sommelier has a unique knack for pairing each dish with just the right wine based on the flavour profiles you tell her you enjoy.

Service
It’s no secret that some of the warmest people hail from KZN – so it comes as no surprise that the wait staff at The Chefs’ Table are charming, engaging and courteous. Even when the ball is dropped, the recovery is so affable that it’s as if it never happened.

Ambience
Modern bistro, Parisian café chairs, marble tops and jewel-toned velvets. The décor is lush and ultra-sexy without ever being over the top – even during lunchtime. The open kitchen is the added cherry on the top, for culinary connoisseurs to take in all the action from the slick bar seating.

Best for…
A gourmet gathering where quality and convivial charm is center stage.

(August 2018)

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.

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  • Nicola Ashe

    Food
    Chef Kayla-Ann Osborn was named the Eat Out Rising Star at the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards, an accolade for young promising talent on the restaurant scene. Her menu at The Chefs Table is intended to change frequently in order to celebrate the best of local farmers’ seasonal produce, but you’re guaranteed a selection of both land and sea ingredients, cooked well and presented beautifully.

    A salmon pâté amuse-bouche will be served while you peruse the menu, which on this occasion includes a selection of seafood starters: local oysters served with apple and chilli oil; a popular prawn-and-squid dish with a lemon-and-ginger reduction, served with tomato dust; and a portion of three salmon tortellini, which come drenched in delicious lemon cream and topped with mussel foam.

    Other starters include a roast lamb rib and smoked marrow bone dish, with a sensational intensity of flavour I have yet to experience elsewhere. It is accompanied by a wedge of mint jelly and jewels of pickled yellow onion – an inspired combination I will definitely go back for.

    Main course dishes focus predominantly on red meat, with the 300g wood-fired Waygu sirloin, served with potato rösti, roasted tomato compote, gremolata emulsion, baby veg and garlic butter, recommended by our waiter. We opt to share the wood-fired prawns served with garlic butter foam and a side dish of spicy basmati rice and lentils. These are the hero of the entire evening: fat and juicy and cooked to perfection. We have juice running down our hands and there is not one scrap left – just a bowl of empty shells that have been sucked dry. Tastier prawns I have yet to find in South Africa!

    Other proteins on offer included black Angus sirloin, a Merrivale fillet, pork belly, lamb rack and a rolled baby chicken served with cauliflower, raisin, ricotta gnocchi, local amaranthus and chicken jus. Vegetarians are catered for with truffled mushroom ravioli, and parmesan-and-thyme gnocchi served with butternut cream apple, feta, pumpkin seeds and gastrique.

    Leave space for a posset featuring textures of lemon – caramelised rind, lemon cream and deconstructed lemon meringue – and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and a dollop of rich vanilla ice cream. (You will want to lick the bowl.) The other option might be 'P.S. I Love You', which celebrates both salty and sweet, with layers of wafer and white Valrhona Dulcey Blond chocolate, decadent caramel and sea salt. A local cheeseboard and two other decadent chocolate desserts are also available, and the bill is presented with petit-fours – just in case you aren't ready to explode!

    Drinks
    There is a vast selection of both imported and local wine and bubbles, including vintage Champagne with a price tag to tempt those with a trust fund. There’s also a succinct cocktail menu, with a special gin list including some delightful South African variants. (It’s great to see Durban’s own 031 Distillery Gin make an appearance.)

    Ambience
    From the minute you sit down to take in the central open-plan kitchen with adjoining dining areas, both indoor and outdoor as well as a separate private dining room, you’re captivated by subtle attention to detail, right from the consideration of the crockery and cutlery to the generously sized leather chairs and velvet-covered benches. Exposed brick and concrete give the space an industrial vibe, but it’s not cold and uninviting; this rather adds to the drama of the space and the atmosphere is electric.

    Service
    Kitchen service is slick and professional, with a delightful chorus of ‘yes chef’ signalling the call of a new order. Table service is friendly and mostly efficient, but lacks consistency, with menu explanation and ingredient description not well communicated and plates taking a while to be cleared.

    And…
    Look out for wine-pairing and -tasting evenings, which allow you to experience a considered five- or seven-course menu of delicious wines and seasonal produce.

    (August 2017)

    Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

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User reviews

  • We ate as a table of four during restaurant week. The food was adventurous, but over seasoned, particularly the rissotto which was totally overwhelmed by the truffle oil. For me, the fish was totally under seasoned and over cooked. The menu was interesting, but the chef needs to work out flavour balance. The service was faultless. Ambience was great. Very disapointed at the unavailability of Bombay Saphire gin 7/10
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  • One of the Best Gourmet Dish Restaurant in Umhlanga. The service was fabulous, our waitor was very welcoming, made sure that we were okay all the time and served us with a smile. The Fooood OMG it was out of this world. Those Chefs truly know their story. Definitely coming back
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  • Easily the best restaurant in Durban and one of the top restaurants in the country. If you're in Durban and haven't been as yet, go now!!!

    Had a superb meal here this evening. Everything was carefully thought out and well attended to. Outstanding service, excellent response to unplanned occurrences - ticked every single box.

    Impressed by the vegetarian option tasting menu - unusual for restaurants to have such an option. I had the non-veg tasting menu and my dining partner had the veg option - again highly unusual as most restaurants insist on the same tasting menu for the entire table.

    Every dish was exquisite - great flavors and interesting challenges on some dishes. Thoroughly enjoyed it and can't wait to go back.

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  • 5 November, 2017 Four of us went to Chef's Table for my Birthday on Sunday, what a treat! We had the most superb meal and it was everything it was set out to be from their website, stipulating such fresh produce! The service was fantastic and I so enjoyed meeting Kayla Osborne, the chef. Thank you Kayla and your staff for making my day so special and for my Birthday cake!!
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  • I had been itching to try this place out the minute I heard about it and finally got to with a group of friends on a Saturday night. The concept of fine dining isn't really that well executed by restaurants in Durban so it was really refreshing to try a spot that didn't disappoint. The only gripe were the cocktails. Not particularly well done, with one needing to be sent back for somehow having salt but into it. The food however was good. The mushroom starter did however sound a lot more exciting than it actually was, I did expect a lot more broth than what was plated, but it was tasty. The lamb was definitely one of the most well carried out and plated lamb dishes I've ordered at a restaurant. Perfectly cooked and well flavoured. We didn't stay for dessert however I will definitely do so the next time I visit. Overall a pleasant experience.
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  • Having heard many good things about the Chefs Table and as a very old friend of ours was going back to the UK to live we decided to spoil her by taking her to this well recommended restaurant. It was very busy when we arrived to take up our reservation and the general atmosphere seemed very cheerful. I was the only one to have a starter and as I am partial to oysters chose the Wild Coast Oysters. I was very disappointed in them as priced at R22 each I expected something substantial. They were very small in content although some of the shells were large. I chose the rack of lamb as a main course and although I did enjoy it once again I thought that paying R197 for basically 2 lamb chops was rather excessive. My wife and friend chose the rolled baby chicken and were both very laudatory about the meal and enjoyed it immensely. Perhaps I am too critical in my appraisal but I do expect value for money and do not wish to pay just for snob appeal. Maybe I am a peasant at heart but nouvelle cuisine with a hint of this and that and drizzled in some sort of jus does not appeal to me. No side orders of chips or salad? What next. I doubt very much if I will ever dine there again but concentrate on restaurants where I can have a substantial meal for a fraction of the cost. Exotica is OK in it's place and the Chef's Table is the place for that if that is what you want.Contrary to other reviews our service was excellent and our waiter Enoch performed a first class role. Total cost for 3 people including 2 drinks for 2 people as one only drank water was R891 plus tip. Not your average night out. It was interesting to note that 1 family group arrived and after studying the menu took their leave. I wish I had.
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  • Wow, wow, wow!!! The attentive, engaging service from both wait staff (Lynda deserves a super special mention, you were AMAZING) and management Ayrton and Gary, your natural hosting skills are to be admired. The food was INCREDIBLE- the tasting menu is top notch. Top compliments to Chef. A gastronomic and service experience of note!!!
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  • This is the best restaurant I have been to in Natal, and is absolutely world class, with a London feel that I have not felt since I last dined at Nobu at London. Claude was our waiter, who was superb - the best service ever in South Africa - EVER. Our food was delicious, the interaction with the staff and management was brilliant - I cannot wait to return. Well done on a fine dining experience extraordinnaire.
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  • Truly fantastic food - the Duo of Lamb was perfectly cooked and every element on the plate complimented each other. The Borenkaas had such unique flavours and was so different. Brilliant service, especially considering it was during an incredibly busy time - the waitor was very attentive and knew the menu well. An excellent evening at Durban's best restaurant.
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  • We went on 20/12/16 for dinner wjhich was a hectic time of the holiday season - 4 adults 2 of whom from UK. Great atmosphere, busy, good energy and good waitress (Liesel). Only issue was food took + 1 hour to arrive, had to call on waitress to top up wine and my wife had steak which was average.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • WiFi

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