Review: The Red Room – an exciting addition to the Chefs Warehouse Group

Fast Facts

Restaurant name: The Red Room by Chefs Warehouse

Address: 76 Orange Street, Gardens (at the Mount Nelson, a Belmond Hotel)

Phone number: 021 483 1516


Booking: Online

Opening times: Restaurant Mondays to Saturdays 6pm-9.30pm, bar Mondays to Saturdays 5pm-late

Average price of a main course: R850 for set menu, R75-R120 for bar menu (à la carte)

Corkage fee: No BYO

Parking situation: On-site, secure

Food type: Asian

Best for: The Red Room feels grand, and meets the expectations for a special celebration, but it can just as easily slide seductively into a romantic dinner for two, or a lively gathering of friends who want to expand their taste buds’ horizons.


Tucked away beneath the Mount Nelson, The Red Room is the newest addition to Liam Tomlin’s Chefs Warehouse empire. Therefore, you can expect the same excellence as shown by the other five restaurants in the group.

The food is Asian, with influences from all over the East – Japan, China, Vietnam, Korea… and can be ordered as a set menu (vegetarian option available) or à la carte from the bar menu. It’s called that but it’s a legitimate dining option, at a proper table, and includes the same bread course as the set menu: a piping hot Chinese flower bread served with hoisin butter, dark and sticky burnt leek teriyaki with oyster mushroom brunoise, and togarashi with a dash of soy sauce. Little bowls of chilli oil and house-made five spice salt flakes are provided for the table.

From the bar menu, the umami broth with swirls of wok-fried greens, edamame beans, noodles and silky tofu is utterly gorgeous and a master class in what ‘umami’ means. Crunchy sesame seed-coated prawn toasts are garnished with lumpfish roe and accompanied by black bean XO, which you’ll just want to eat with a spoon.

The char siu pork belly is salt-roasted and glazed, in a soft, generous portion, or try the crispy chicken karaage with doenjang foam spiked with yuzu caviar for dipping, and supplement with egg fried rice (optional calamari or lap cheong sausage) if you need some carbs.

Dessert is not included in the set menu. Explorations of Rice is rice pudding, sure, but not as simplified as you know it: rice milk ice cream under a layer of clear lime gel, red bean mochi, rough jelly, powdered crumbs, pretty flower petals and lingonberries, cunningly citrus flavoured. There is a lot going on in that bowl, almost outrageously so.

For the lavish eaters, you won’t want to pass up on the whole Peking duck with pancakes, hoisin dressing and broth. It clocks in at R750, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how reasonable sampling from the bar menu is.

* Note: the menu on the website has not been updated since April 2023 and differs from what is currently on offer (July 2023).


The wine list is manageable yet comprehensive, with a few options by the glass. Mark-ups are acceptable, and you can still get away with less than R400 a bottle in some instances. There’s a neat cocktail menu too, featuring interesting drinks made using trending techniques like essence sprays and fat washing, as well as all the digestifs, spirits, dessert and fortified wines you could want. There’s also an offering of refreshing speciality teas with intriguing names like White Sky, Weekend in Shanghai, Jasmine Queen and Gunpowder Supreme.


Service is impeccable. To a person, the staff are well acquainted with the menu, and work seamlessly as a team. They are attentive without ever being intrusive, and make a solo diner feel welcome and comfortable.


Discovering The Red Room is a delight. True to its name, it’s very… red, from the stairs you descend to reach it, to the sexy, moody, low-lit lounge area. Past the bar, the room opens up to lighter yet still luxurious gold and black décor. The side lighting to emphasise the large and dramatic art on the walls will please avid Instagrammers who so often have to deal with direct overhead light and ghastly shadows. The music is upbeat and clubby, the volume balances as diners fill the tables with their chatter. The location dates back several decades and mostly cosmetic updates have been carried out so it still retains the opulence and decadence of a below-ground pleasure den from the 1970s.

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

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