The Chefs Table in Umhlanga Rocks is a real masterpiece, says Eat Out critic Trushka Soni.
Average price of a main course: R150
Food type: Seasonal and fresh fine dining
Best for: A special occasion with foodie friends
Star rating: Food 5, service 4, ambience 5
Started by head chef and visionary Kayla-Ann Osborn and her team of qualified super chefs, The Chefs Table is a place where you eat with your eyes first. The meals are seasonal, simple and fresh, and the menu changes daily. The open-plan kitchen is the main attraction of the restaurant as you watch the chefs prepare exquisite dishes made with high-quality local produce. It’s a foodie’s paradise with that MasterChef feeling.
The day’s starters showcase roasted pumpkin tortellini, smooth and velvet parcels served in a rich bacon cream, drizzled with bacon powder and topped with a stick of bacon biltong. The flavour combinations are exceptional: smooth, creamy, a slight crunch from the biltong powder and a superb balance of salty and sweet. Another standout starter is Greenfield’s roasted bone marrow with slow-braised beef tongue, gremolata, sweet mustard and sourdough.
The main meals from the bar include wood-fired swordfish served with rustic mash, fresh mussels, lemon aioli, charred naartjie and bouillabaisse broth. The fish is tender and juicy, showcasing simple flavours and hearty textures, with the charred naartjie giving a beautiful dash of vibrant orange colour. Also recommended is the Moores-Pitt free-range baby chicken with a rice mushroom farce, tarragon gnocchi, cauliflower florets, a creamy garlic emulsion and mushroom jus. The Merriducks confit and breast duo is a real treat, too, incorporating cherries, braised red cabbage, fresh apple and fennel salad, served with quince, pea purée and salted caramel apple.
Dessert is fun and decadent, featuring the likes of chocolate popcorn: A sphere of chocolate with a cream-infused centre, garnished with crushed chocolate and popcorn, and served with a lightly favoured mint ice cream.
The drinks menu mirrors the ethos of the kitchen, emphasising local treasures. A truly vast selection of South African wines has been carefully selected to represent the best in the country. Try the Cape Point sauvignon blanc or the Creation pinot noir from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
The restaurant also sports a walk-in wine cellar, which showcases a stunning selection of vintage wines and champagnes, presented by a sommelier. Cocktails are seasonal, with each creation unique to the day’s produce. The current hit is a beetroot Bloody Mary.
Chefs are polite, friendly and engaging. The waiters are pleasant, but could be better trained; luckily the kind restaurant manager fills the gaps.
The Chefs Table is airy and open, with greenery giving freshness to the restaurant. The space is elegantly decorated with some rustic touches in décor and dishes.
Take an enlightening moment to watch the chefs do what they do best.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.