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.
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.
Sleek and impeccable, well-informed on signature dishes, and excellent sommelier advice on food and wine pairing.
Sophisticated in a contemporary space with views into the open glass kitchen at this showpiece glass, steel and stone cellar eyrie atop Helshoogte.
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.
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Exceptional fine dining experience, one of my favourite restaurants in Stellenbosch.