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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A gourmet gathering where quality and convivial charm is center stage.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
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!
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.)
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.
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.
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.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
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.