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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

  • 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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  • After dining at Chefs Warehouse and Canteen in Bree Street, Cape Town, South Africa, I wanted to visit all of Liam Tomlin’s restaurants. The Chefs Warehouse in Beau Constantia was fully booked. However, we were able to get a last minute slot. I was amazed at the beautiful view. Located at the top of Constantia Nek, overlooking False Bay and the vineyards. It was spectacular. They used a lot of natural materials in the restaurant interior and exterior that complemented the environment. Through their large windows, a lot of natural light enter as well as provide you with a picturesque view. The open kitchen creates a great vibe as you can interact with the chef and his incredible team and see how the ingredients are transformed into edible art. The pendant lights, above the kitchen counter, added an interesting feature as well as being functional keeping the food heated while awaiting service. The restaurant only opened in December 2016 but with its sister restaurant in the heart of the city and the ex- Test Kitchen’s chef, Ivor Jones it was bound to be a winning combination. The concept of the restaurant was base on sharing great tapas style food with a plant to table kind of feel as most of their ingredients are fresh from their large garden. The menu is seasonal driven and changes regularly. They serve eight different tapas dishes over three courses. You would be able to add bread or oysters as a starter as well as a dessert of your choice at an additional charge. We decided to start our dining experience with their bread. The local bread, butter and olives arrived. The potato bread from the Woodstock bakery was given a light toasting on their charcoal grill and served with a piped butter with a fennel salt and olives marinated with their garden herbs. The bread was crisp and together with the freshness of the herbs made for a great start to our culinary feast. The first course of three plates arrived. The first dish was a seared tuna with a miso cream cheese, fermented black bean salsa, pickled jalapeno and green pepper topped off with thinly sliced radish and tempura kale. The plating was very detailed and looked beautiful. The paper thin radish amazed me; some serious knife skills were used here. If I did not know as I had kale, I would never have quested it, judging by the taste. It was so crisp and delicious, adding a great crunch element to the dish. I need more of this Kale in my life. The second dish was one of their newer dishes, a Yellowtail sashimi with vermicelli noodles, crispy onions, charcoaled onions, spicy road dressing and a coconut-lime dressing. The coconut-lime dressing was poured over the dish in front of us, creating a bit of theatre at our table. An interesting dish indeed with some great flavour combinations. The third dish, a blacked beef teriyaki with a sour cream dressing, rice puffs, toasted coconut, roasted aubergine, tomato, cucumber, fresh basil, mint, coriander and to top it off a bit of chilli string. This dish had a little bit of a spicy side, and they recommended to finish off with it. The spiciness of the chilli together with the toasted coconut work brilliantly together. The rice puffs was a great little crunch to the dish. I have to admit at first glance they reminded me of little worms, but boy did they taste good. In between each course, the staff was very quick to clear the tables and fill up our glasses. The second course of two dishes arrived. The fourth dish was a pea risotto with Swiss chard, lemon salted butter, a Belnori goats cheese and topped off with fried peas and sugar snaps. This risotto was so silky and smooth and just damn delicious. My husband is not a pea fan and would never order a pea dish, he tried it, loved it and almost did not want to share it. He said if I made peas like this he would eat it every single day. Kudos to the chef for making him eat his peas. The fifth dish, was an Asia tuc mushrooms, sitting on a tahini mayo with a charred spring onion and teriyaki, a variety of different mushrooms cooked in a variety of ways, topped off with a crispy corn crepe and shaved button mushrooms. The presentation of this dish was excellent. I liked the plate as I felt it added so much to the overall presentation. The crepe was super thin and with a subtle corn flavour it disappears in your mouth. The flavour combinations of the different mushrooms worked well together, to add more dimension to the dish. The third course of three dishes arrived. The sixth dish, a pan fried Hake sitting on a charred corn puree with a burnt lime and topped with a corn salsa. The flavour combinations of the corn and the fish were remarkable. The fish was cooked perfectly with the skin crisp and the centre soft. The acidity of the lime broke through the sweetness of the corn. The seventh dish, a barbequed duck breast sitting on a peanut sauté, steamed bok choy and broccoli topped with a Mediterranean black pepper dressing. The presentation of the dish was mouth-watering. The duck was prepared flawlessly with its crispy skin and juicy centre. The eighth and final dish of our tapas menu was a de-boned Moroccan lamb rib, with a port jus around the sides, homemade ricotta, onions and topped with a Moroccan crumb. The flavours were spot on. The meat was so soft; it melted in your mouth. The crispy skin added an element of crunch, leaving you wanting more. This dish was by far my favourite and I might even go as far as to say the best lamb rib I have ever had. As we came to and end of a great tapas menu, we were so impressed with every single dish and felt that we could not leave this restaurant without trying their desserts and coffee. We asked the chef to recommend two of his favourite desserts. If I were to select I would have selected them all, as they all sounded delicious. Our coffee arrived on a slate tray and looked lovely. The coffee tasted great. The milk was frothed perfectly leaving you with a sweetish taste. This barista knew how to brew a good cup that was for sure. Great coffee! As our dessert arrived, I was amazed as it looked beyond expectation. Each served on its own tray, and I could not wait to dig right in. The first dessert was a wild honey and lavender crème served with a honeycomb topped with a lavender infused wild honey and served with a side of cassia bark ice cream. The crème was light with the burst of flavours coming through the crunchiness of the honeycomb, and the subtleness of the lavender was such a delight. Together with the ice cream, my taste buds went into overload. Winning combination. The final dessert was their chocolate pot. At the bottom was a chocolate cake drenched in salted caramel, topped with a chocolate mousse and grated chocolate served with an orange marmalade ice cream on the side. The salted caramel added a unique surprise element to the dish. The mousse was prepared perfectly with just the correct amount of sweetness to it. Looking back at our dining experience, there was not a thing that I could critique regarding the taste and presentation of the food. It was spot one, world class. The floor manager, Jami was great and together with the rest of the staff made our experience so memorable. This restaurant is a dining spot that I would return to again and again and highly recommend. Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia you get the biggest splash of approval.
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Facilities

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

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