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Prue Leith Restaurant

Cost
R160
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Bistro fare, Fine-dining food, French, Italian
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Food
The thought of students cooking you dinner might be daunting for some, but rest assured, a meal at Prue Leith Chef’s academy restaurant is delightful from start to finish. The students are in charge of service and all food preparation, as well as doing the menu planning. It is clear that they are exposed to the very best ingredients and techniques because the menu promises everything you would expect from a modern fine dining establishment.

The curried kabeljou soup is a delicate and luscious start to the meal. The curried veloute poured table-side is perfectly spiced and seasoned and the kabeljou beautifully cooked.

The blue cheese, leek and biltong risotto was incredibly flavoursome although too al dente. For mains, expect a well-planned list of delicious dishes including a hearty vegetarian option in the form of creamy polenta with roasted mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, finished with Parmesan cheese. The Asian-style Mauritian sea bass was well-cooked and well-flavoured, served with stir-fried vegetables and a soy dressing. The chicken galantine was well-cooked and flavoursome but overall the main dishes are somewhat underwhelming, albeit perfectly plated. They are truly works of art.

The dessert menu is absolutely a winner, with every option delivering on every promise. The pastry chefs are excellent and their desserts are works of art. The apple tarte tatin with salted caramel ice cream was one of the best (if not the very best) desserts I’ve had this year. The apple was perfectly caramelised and beautifully cooked, the pastry was buttery and flaky and the subtly salted caramel ice cream the perfect accompaniment. It took every bit of self-control not to lick my plate.

The “Textures of chocolate” was equally impressive. A twirl of flexible chocolate ganache is served with caramel and milk chocolate mousse, roasted and aerated white chocolate, and candied hazelnuts. Truly, “textures of chocolate” is the perfect name for this dish. And although it might sound like it could all be too much, this dish is so well-balanced. Every bite is a delight.

Drinks
The wine list is extensive and very well put together. The majority of the wine list is comprised of South African wine farms and includes an “interesting varietals” section as well as a section dedicated to organic and bio-dynamic wines. Towards the end of the list you will find a few international wines from Italy, France, Spain and Australia. They also have a decent list of wines available by glass.

Service
As the students handle all the service themselves, there are a few nervous moments here and there (understandably), but they do an excellent job overall, from suggesting wines to have with your meal to flambeing your Crêpes Suzette tableside.

Ambience
The restaurant is set on the chef academy grounds in a beautiful, classic building. The interior is elegantly decorated and an exquisite fireplace keeps things cosy on cold winter evenings. During the warmer months, al fresco seating is available.

And...
It was a most enjoyable experience. It's very promising to see our future culinary stars producing such excellent food.

(September 2016)

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

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  • Diane de Beer

    Food
    This being a learning institution, with students in training, there might be some imperfect moments, but the benefits far outweigh these, with food that’s at the forefront of modern cuisine, methods that demonstrate the latest in the professional kitchens and quality that’s unquestionable. Under the leadership of executive chef Adele Stiehler, the cuisine is a classy affair. From items like a goats’ cheese spring salad consisting of Belnori chevre, baby carrots and beets, snow peas, sorrel, basil and beetroot gel, pretty as a picture with fun textures and flavours, to calamari (fried two ways), orange-braised fennel and potato and dill ravioli with lemon and parmesan cream, prawn foam and seaweed dressing, it’s not going to get more out there than this. From starters to dessert, they’re pushing the edges, with the menu adapted to the seasons. Also watch out for special events like the recent forager pop-up, which focused on creating interesting food to celebrate locally sourced ingredients.

    Drinks
    Go all out with Taittinger Prestige Rosé, or try some exceptional local wines from estates like Mulderbosch or De Grendel. A smart, well-sourced selection.

    Service
    The training element of the establishment comes through here, but not to the extent that you will necessarily notice or that it will spoil your evening. The waiters/students are enthusiastic and some might be our top chefs of the future, just paying their dues.

    Ambience
    Through the years they’ve cleaned up their interior act. Now it is simply a clean and classic backdrop for the food. Situated in a large old family home with major extensions done through the years, there’s a beautiful garden to relax in and a balcony where you can have pre-dinner drinks.

    And…
    They’ve recently opened a new culinary centre with the best facilities available, so watch out for their short food courses that offer anything from pasta to bread making.

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  • Diane de Beer

    Food
    This being a learning institution, with students in training, there might be some imperfect moments, but the benefits far outweigh these, with food that’s at the forefront of modern cuisine, methods that demonstrate the latest in the professional kitchens and quality that’s unquestionable. Under the leadership of executive chef Adele Stiehler, the cuisine is a classy affair. From items like a goats’ cheese spring salad consisting of Belnori chevre, baby carrots and beets, snow peas, sorrel, basil and beetroot gel, pretty as a picture with fun textures and flavours, to calamari (fried two ways), orange-braised fennel and potato and dill ravioli with lemon and parmesan cream, prawn foam and seaweed dressing, it’s not going to get more out there than this. From starters to dessert, they’re pushing the edges, with the menu adapted to the seasons. Also watch out for special events like the recent forager pop-up, which focused on creating interesting food to celebrate locally sourced ingredients.

    Drinks
    Go all out with Taittinger Prestige Rosé, or try some exceptional local wines from estates like Mulderbosch or De Grendel. A smart, well-sourced selection.

    Service
    The training element of the establishment comes through here, but not to the extent that you will necessarily notice or that it will spoil your evening. The waiters/students are enthusiastic and some might be our top chefs of the future, just paying their dues.

    Ambience
    Through the years they’ve cleaned up their interior act. Now it is simply a clean and classic backdrop for the food. Situated in a large old family home with major extensions done through the years, there’s a beautiful garden to relax in and a balcony where you can have pre-dinner drinks.

    And…
    They’ve recently opened a new culinary centre with the best facilities available, so watch out for their short food courses that offer anything from pasta to bread making.
    October 2015

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  • Hennie Fisher

    Food 
    The menu is elegant yet simple, with between six and seven choices for starters, mains and desserts; and all menu items are carefully labeled to indicate whether they are suitable for vegetarians or may contain nuts.

    You’ll find delights such as spaghetti alla chitarra, which is square spaghetti made from toasted flour, with roasted pumpkin, crispy bacon, parmesan, sage and a hazelnut foam. A delightful lamb tongue starter item is served with a pistachio sponge, dried apricot, green olives, parsley and harissa, along with aubergine crisps, almond tarator sauce and baobab dressing.

    A standout on the mains menu is a fabulous puy lentil bobotie, made with curried coconut sabayon, coconut custard and toasted almonds and served with sambals and red onion chutney. Other main options include prawn risotto and a steamed duck breast wrapped in cabbage and served with pickled cauliflower, mushroom soil, crispy skin and star anise jus.

    For dessert, consider the lemon tart with rosemary, marshmallow, homemade yoghurt foam, grapefruit and pink pepper sorbet. Or perhaps Parisian toffee apples – gingered apple, burnt honey cream, apple sorbet, ginger soil, candied ginger and apple chips – to satisfy a range of tastes.

    Drinks 
    The wine list is designed with care and attention and includes such delights as Domaine des Dieux Claudia 2008 MCC or a Taittinger Prestige Rosé. Local producers included on the list are of fine quality, including Klein Steenberg, Lourensford and Simonsig. There is also a section listing interesting varietals, Rhône-style reds, Bordeaux blends and a great selection of international wines. Feel free to ask your waiter for suitable wine suggestions.

    Service 
    Despite the fact that the restaurant is part of this well-known training facility, it remains one of the best value-for-money dining experiences in the country. The restaurant and service staff are professional and eager to assist. Kudos to the restaurant for ensuring that all their chefs are versed in the art of dining-room service.

    Ambience 
    The Academy is undergoing significant expansion and some impressive new buildings have recently been erected on the premises. But the charming original main building still takes pride of place, with lovely red polished stairs leading up to the main entrance. The dining room, with its beautiful parquet flooring, is simple and modern, with large trompe l’oeil paintings of Proteas gracing the walls. Including the stoep at the front of the building, the restaurant seats a fair number of guests, and is one of the best party spaces around. Those going there for the first time had better use a GPS, however, since getting there takes a fair number of intricate turns.

    And… 
    Not only do they offer full-time training, but the academy also provides for the huge demand for short courses and fun training sessions for corporates or adults. They are in partnership with the Alma International Culinary School, meaning that you could combine your diploma with a 7-month stint in Italy.

    (July 2014)

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  • Diane de Beer

    It's one of the best meals in town, taking everything into consideration – from the currency of the cuisine to the class of the presentation. It's the restaurant of one of the best cookery schools in the country, so their menus are of its time – trendy but with a classic French feel which forms the basis of their teaching. You're not going to get a better meal at more punchy prices.
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  • This restaurant of one of SA’s top cookery schools has trendy menus with a classic French feel, which forms the basis of their teaching. Dishes constantly change to keep their students in touch with the latest trends. (EO mag 2014)
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  • Food
    Order à la carte, the food is magnificently plated and exquisitely prepared. Savour a delicate artichoke heart quiche followed by melt-in-themouth springbok with braised red cabbage, the best rösti ever and cherry compote. The menu changes seasonally and the desserts are magnificent.

    Wine
    A good selection to complement the fine food.

    Service
    It’s a training facility so the waiters are young and on their toes.

    Ambience
    The restaurant has been spruced up and is looking smart.

    And...
    It’s obvious that this is a top cookery school. (DdB)
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User reviews

  • The restaurant was quiet on the evening we were there, but this was made up for by the attentive service and willingness of the staff to interact with us. The ala carte menu had more than enough options to choose from, such that it created that interesting dilemma of what to have and what to miss out on. There was nothing I would have called "ordinary" on the menu-everything was creative, seasonal and perfectly prepared. In case you are not a regular fine diner you should not expect large meal portions. Used a full plate of food I was quite alarmed at the very modest portions, however the interesting thing was, despite this, after three courses I was so well satisfied that even the thought of a cup of coffee to end off with was too much. The intricate presentation of the meals, the combinations of flavours and the boldness of some of these ideas made for conversation throughout the meal - just like discussing art, I guess. Everything from service to every course are prepared by the students and everything was perfectly seasoned, and the service staff could recommend any wine with any dish plus explain what everything on the menu is-you do not find that everywhere these days. Everyone was professional and no flaws at all. The menu changes as the students rotate kitchens and front of house every 4 weeks, helping to keep everything seasonal and up to trend.
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  • For dinner reservations they are only open Wednesday to Saturday's.
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  • This restaurant is simply fantastic - fine dining at pub prices. The staff know their stuff because they are being trained to know, the presentation of dishes is top notch, the flavours are unusual and out of this world (mustard ice cream with my starter was a first for me!) And the ambience is really nice even on a stormy Jozi evening. Just get over there!

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Vegetarian

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