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Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia

Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia
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Cost
avg main meal R200
Ambience
Groups, Local cuisine, Views
Food
Modern, Tapas
Payment
Amex, Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R80 (only 1 bottle allowed per table)

Critic's review

Katharine Pope

Food

The influence of former mentor Luke Dale-Roberts is apparent in chef Ivor Jones’s punchy flavours – the best of them inspired by Asian cuisine – and dishes that feel very well resolved. There’s a Thai sour curry with fermented lime that you’ll want to bottle, dumplings with layers of flavour that’ll make you regret eating your half of the shared portion in one mouthful, and Korean chilli chicken tacos that’ll make you want more and more.

There’s a risotto, of course – all of Liam Tomlin’s restaurants have one of those – and this umami-laced version is a home run. The secret’s in the coal-fired oyster mushrooms that lurk beneath a thyme-infused milk froth and the perfectly cooked, wondrously cheesy rice.

Line fish gets a lift from caraway and burnt butter dressing, and a simple tartare takes things in a different direction with a barbecue garlic aioli.

If you don’t want the experience to end, finish with wild honey and lavender creme, with honeycomb and a cinnamon-y smoked cassia bark ice cream. It’s a perfect rich honeyed cream, undercut by the clever, almost rosemary-like lavender. A chocolate-filled doughnut is less successful – it’s slightly too salty for most palates, and jars a little with the sour frozen yoghurt. That’s easy to forgive, though, when the rest of the dishes are as spectacular as they are.

Drinks

Beau Constantia bottles are available by the glass, and there’s a good list of heavy-hitters available by the bottle.

Service

Staff are well-trained and well-informed about dishes, without being pushy. One quibble: when bringing the bill, waiters shouldn’t make assumptions about who’s paying based on their gender identity.

Ambience


With sweeping views out over the vineyards and Cape Town’s twinkling lights, the setting couldn’t be better. The glass-fronted space makes the most of it – though that can make things a tiny bit chilly in winter. (Fireplaces do their bit in warming up most of the dining room, however.) The ballet of the chefs in the small kitchen adds to the mood of the space, with a chorus of ‘oui’ going out after each of Jones’s orders.

Best for…
A special occasion, with friends who don’t mind sharing.

(August 2018)

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

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  • Linda Scarborough

    Food
    Liam Tomlin’s award-winning tapas restaurant has extended its reach to the southern suburbs, where chef Ivor Jones heads up the kitchen, drawing crowds with beautifully crafted small plates. The restaurant made its debut in the Top 10 this year.

    Homely, simple dishes these are not. Each one is a layered delight, with big flavours and little flourishes. It’s an ever-changing menu, and you and your dining companions will share the dishes presented to you, usually two at a time, in the order that makes the most sense.

    The home-smoked trout with burrata, beetroot dressing, saffron and a garlic emulsion is a light and bright start, which pairs nicely with the plate of tender tuna, autumn citrus, ginger-and-citrus dressing and zingy lime-cured cream cheese. The beef tartare is somewhat overpowered by spicy Szechuan dressing, but makes for a punchy bite.

    Chefs Warehouse risottos are always a highlight, and the humble-sounding carrot risotto is no exception. It’s served, as per usual, in a perfect little copper saucepan, glossy with beurre noisette and silky carrot purée, and dotted with crispy sage leaves, raisins and roasted walnuts. The horseradish cream lifts it all. It is a triumph, incredibly delicious and flawlessly executed, and I can’t wait to go back to have it again.

    Another comforting vegetarian dish is the oven-roasted cauliflower with earthy Jerusalem artichoke cream and crispy kataifi pasty, and then there’s another seafood option (no complaints by any means) – pan-fried hake with coal-roasted sweet potato and spiced buttermilk cream.

    The roasted pork belly (or sweet potato, if you don’t do pork) with lime pickle, queso fresco, toasted rice and coconut crumb is a lively and unusual dish, replete with textures, flavours and fun. The last tapas plate of Persian-spiced lamb rump with pommes anna, mint salsa verde and lamb jus is very good and will please those who are less adventurous.

    Desserts cost extra (but are always necessary, especially at Chefs Warehouse), and I can’t forgo my usual favourite of lemon posset with raspberries. However, if you’ve had the wild-honey and lavender crème, you will know why I now have a new favourite. It’s floral but not overpoweringly so, tempered by earthy honey and the slight bitterness of the golden honeycomb shards, as well as smoked cassia bark ice cream, which has a gentle spiciness not unlike cinnamon.

    All dishes come on perfectly chosen crockery of varying colours, textures and shapes. They are art in and of themselves.

    Drinks
    There are a couple of local ginger beers, Wilderer grappa, Beau Constantia gin, Four Beau Constantia Wines and Pas De Nom. There are two more pages for wine, including Radford Dale, Iona, Raats, Luddite and Vondeling.

    Service
    The staff members are young and pretty, and keep things moving with personality.

    Ambience
    The view is really incredible, with floor-to-ceiling glass showing off the estate’s vineyards and Cape Town’s suburbs rolling towards town on the one side and out to False Bay ahead. The lights twinkle as day moves into night, and you might spot an aeroplane or two taking off or landing in the distance. Soft greys and touches of creamy wood keep everything feeling extremely chic and calm inside. The outside seating areas – amongst some shrubs and the bushes – look gorgeous, with a few private seating areas built out of platforms. There’s an open kitchen, where you can spot the chefs in high-precision mode. The music, though excellent, seems a little out of character: Rolling Stones, The Cure and Led Zeppelin.

    And…
    You may have to walk up and down quite a steep paved incline on your way from the parking to the restaurant and back, so it might be a good idea to wear comfortable shoes. (And don’t overindulge in the drinks!)

    (October 2017)

    Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.

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User reviews

  • 100% worth it. Stand out experience. I am still dreaming about the amazing delicious food.
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  • Great food and ambience. Probably the best service in CT too.
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  • Great location, food and wine. However the profile says that they accept Amex and Diners, which is not true. We had people in are group who's cards were declined...
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  • The food was excellent, the ambience was lovely and the service was on par. Well worth the money spent. An awesome first fine dining experience.
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  • The most delicious food we have ever tasted - a true taste sensation. Our lunch was on a cold, rainy day and the welcome of the fire place was just perfect. Cannot wait to go back!
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  • I am a constant foodie and lover of all the Chef's Warehouses in Cape Town, with #Chef_Liam_Tomlin at the helm. My experience at CW BC has always been amazing and regretfully I remain disappointed by Saturday's meal. Chef Ivor, unfortunately, you missed the mark on the majority of the dishes, leaving us underwhelmed and cheated out of pocket (the incredible view of the vineyards and the pretty plating cannot compensate for the lack of flavors)...My critique as follows: The oyster garnish overpowered the taste of the actual shellfish. The Vietnamese rice paper roll had no business being on that plate - I can make a more authentic one - and a tastier one too. There was nothing exciting about it, or fresh about it - it lacked herbs and crunch and was just some cucumber and vermicelli wrapped up with a satay/peanut dipping sauce to inspire it - the kimchi stole the stage (and starred on another dish again later....?) The tempura mushrooms were soggy, and the addition of the fried rice paper did not compensate for that particular lack of tempura texture and lightness. I remember the sauce was delightful. The tuna and kale dish was good - and something I expected from you. The baba ganoush had subtle smokey flavours - yum! The ceviche bored me and was overpowered by the red peppers - I'd had loved a fresher lightness to it. The risotto was a dish of the day, but as with other CW's, tends to hit the palate at a colder temperature (not warmed up enough). I suggest you inform dinners to eat this dish first. The polenta substitute for the lamb dish was a brave attempt and had some success - it lacked a sauce I think (the lamb dish failed to amaze the carnivores at our table too) I was told the pork belly was good. The hake tacos were highly praised and very delicious - extra lime was needed and requested. As always the cassis creme dessert and coffee were stellar. Maison 1 Beau Constantia 0 Thali is booked for this weekend.
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  • We had the good fortune of eating at Chefs Warehouse the other night and it delivered on all points! We have had lunch there a number of times and have never been disappointed but I must say the dinner was even better! Service was great, food was amazing, creative and beautifully presented, every dish cooked to perfection and wonderfully executed. A real gem of a place and possibly one of the very best restaurants in the country! We will be back very soon!
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  • I have visited this restaurant on 2 occasions. Both times the food has been flawless and the service outstanding. In addition this is excellent value for money (finally locals can once again afford to eat a meal at this level of fine dining without mortgaging our homes to pay for 11 course tasting menus designed for tourists). Chef Ivor Jones is the best chef in South Africa at the moment. I hope this is reflected in the upcoming Eat Out award nominations
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • WiFi

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