pageview

Venues

Tokara Restaurant

Tokara Restaurant
Write a Review
Cost
R180 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Quick meals, Special occasions
Food
Fine-dining food, French, Modern, South African
Payment
Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO

Critic's review

Jeanne Calitz

Food
If you’re looking for modern South African food with a true gourmet backbone (possibly to entertain guets from beyond our borders?), Tokara restaurant should be on your list. Think buchu, think heerenbone, think poached quince – chef Richard Carstens finds fresh new ways to play with local flavours. He’s also not afraid to combine them with a bit of Asian flair – like in a starter dish of tempura line fish with smoked snoek amasi, avocado and ginger sauce.

The menu teeters on the expensive side of the spectrum but there is good value to be had in tasting menus, like the 4 course Cape Senses menu on the day of our visit. Roasted hake with cauliflower purée and (a divine) chardonnay mussel sauce is followed by the very umami mushroom ravioli with soft goats’ milk cheese. Braised lamb is complemented wonderfully by heerenbone purée and sweet poached quince, and for dessert, a square of lemon cake gets along famously with a very subtle olive oil ice cream. Some of the flavours, notably the fresh mozzarella with this latter dessert, were a bit too experimental for my taste, but overall the food is delicious, innovative and beautifully presented. And there are some items on the a la carte menu – like a dessert of caramelised apple with ginger ice cream, vanilla mousse and almond – that I would not mind getting to know better in the future …

Drinks
A very nice wine list. The Tokara wines are available of course, and by the glass. (And a glass of their Reserve Collection chardonnay, enjoyed on a beautiful spring day, is a treat not to be taken lightly.) There is also a strong selection of great wines beyond the Stellenbosch borders, from the Cederberg region to a couple of big hitters from Hemel & Aarde.

Service
Excellent – service is swift, smooth and very welcoming.

Ambience
The setting alone is enough to knock your socks off. There is a serious appreciation of beauty here, both artistic and natural. The venue boasts a strong collection of fine art (some of it for sale), and is designed to allow the diner to drink in the natural beauty of the area. Enormous glass windows and walls offer views for days – let the eye wander over the olive groves, the pretty town of Stellenbosch down in the valley, and even, on a clear day, towards Table Mountain in the distance. Inside, it’s all sleekness with wood and glass and greenery, and clever little half moon tables pushed agains the glass panes for optimum view-finding. There’s also a sophisticated bar, which would make a very fine option for a pre-dinner drink …

Best for...
This is the perfect spot to bring friends visiting from overseas – the combination of the views, the setting and the clever use of local flavours is sure to impress.

(2018)

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

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Graham Howe

    Food
    Richard Carstens, one of South Africa’s top chefs, is renowned for his original creations grounded in a brilliant blend of classic and contemporary culinary techniques. Two decades on, this chef at the forefront of the renaissance of winelands cuisine in the 1990s continues to delight followers with innovative compositions which bear his signature of balance, subtlety and simplicity.

    A handful of signature dishes from his own gastronomic journey remain on a tempting seasonal menu – like his renowned Franco-Japanese interpretation of seafood or peppered springbok with beetroot and sherry gastrique. Classic South African ingredients are enhanced with truly sublime sauces, jus, purées and dressings. Attention to detail starts with a moreish bread basket dipped in Tokara’s home-grown olive oils brought to table on arrival, and carries through to the finish like Tokara’s acclaimed dessert wine.

    Earthy flavours are kept clean, pure and deceptively simple in seamless combinations with a savoury Asian twist of umami; try the smoky home-cured duck breast with pickled shiitake mushrooms, pears and black-vinegar chilli, or signature fire-roasted beef with kombu (kelp) cream and truffle jus. Vegetarians will enjoy an exotic starter of broccoli and goat’s milk cheese with eringi mushrooms and miso honey-mustard dressing, and mains of soya-glazed mushrooms with tempeh and buckwheat. Never fussy or fiddly, the plating is elegant.

    Make sure you leave room for dessert: fabulous layered compositions which are variations on a theme, like orange-and-polenta cake with candied orange and orange crème, or caramelised poached pears with Tokara brandy caramel cream, honeycomb and lemon ice cream as fragrant as a walk in a citrus orchard.

    Drinks
    A five-star wine list tempts with Tokara’s own acclaimed wines by glass and bottle, plus more options from beyond the farm. Allow the sommelier to guide you.

    Service
    Sleek and impeccable, well-informed on signature dishes, and excellent sommelier advice on food and wine pairing.

    Ambience
    Sophisticated in a contemporary space with views into the open glass kitchen at this showpiece glass, steel and stone cellar eyrie atop Helshoogte.

    And…
    Enjoy a wine tasting in the spectacular cellar, and post-prandial walk around the art gallery. Lunch on the deck offers spectacular views of the vineyards.

    (October 2017)

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

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

User reviews

  • Small portions of food. Attitude of Chef poor. Try other options
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Exceptional fine dining experience, one of my favourite restaurants in Stellenbosch.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

Menu

Set menu - Tokara - Updated August 2017

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Takeaways
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair

Write a review

Nearby Restaurants

Promoted restaurants

Eatout