Review: Bold flavours on small plates at Ember & Oak at Constantia Uitsig

Fast facts

Restaurant name: Ember & Oak

Address: Constantia Uitsig, Tokai Rd, Cape Town

Phone: 067 499 5621

Opening times: Monday–Saturday 12–9pm, Sunday 12–4pm

Food type: Tapas and drinks, small plates around R100

Parking situation: R20 paid parking within Constantia Uitsig


Ember & Oak serves big flavours on small plates at Constantia Uitsig. The tapas-style a la carte menu isn’t large but is bursting with bold flavours – perfect as you soak up the last of the afternoon sun before winter arrives, while overlooking the beautiful rose garden.


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Every dish at Ember & Oak is crafted with the freshest ingredients and executed to perfection by chef Tim Pick, formerly of Foxcroft and La Colombe. From the crisp shell of the linefish ceviche puri, to the sweet gochujang glaze on the yakitori wings, each element is meticulously prepared. The puri offers a light, refreshing experience, enhanced by an airy, mousse-like cream with subtle hints of coconut. The glaze on the wings is sticky, sweet and smoky, paying homage to the restaurant’s name, without overwhelming the palate. The dishes showcase a masterful fusion of Indian and Asian flavours, executed in a modern way. Another standout is the Cape Malay cauliflower that isn’t too heavy on the spice and carries a hint of sweet and sour from the addition of apricot, and nuttiness from toasted coconut shavings. It’s a modern celebration of the flavours of Cape Malay culture.


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The only thing missing is a sweet ending. There are many coffee shops and ice cream stops a little way down from Ember & Oak, but it would be exciting to see what small plates they could offer as dessert.


The drinks menu offers coffees, “softies”, “stiffies” and “brewskies”, as well as wine and a few inventive “panty droppers”, including a wine slushie. You can also indulge in a curated selection of Uitsig wines, featuring the estate’s outstanding Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. For those who can’t resist a glass of bubbles, the Estate’s Cap Classique is available.


You can make a booking at Ember & Oak, but it’s relatively quiet during the week and walk-ins are welcomed. You won’t wait to be seated or for the attentive waiters to serve you. The waiters are familiar enough with the menu and are happy to accommodate any dietary requirements.


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The small plates come out relatively quickly. You can spend all afternoon at Ember & Oak despite the small menu – there’s enough to keep you busy and satisfied.


The atmosphere at Ember & Oak is calm and casual, with an outdoor seating area with wooden tables and chairs. It can get busy over weekends, but the picturesque estate provides the perfect escape for a day out with the family (ask your waiter for the kiddies’ menu), a casual meet-up with friends, or a date in the Constantia Winelands with the mountains as a backdrop.


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

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