Review: Whimsical delights and dramatic theatre at La Colombe in Constantia

Fast facts

Average price of a main course: Tasting menus from R995
Opening times: Monday to Sunday 12noon – 1pm and 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Corkage fee: N/A
Parking: Secure parking on site. Be vigilant of the winding road to and from the restaurant.
Food type: Fine dining
Best for… Proposals or celebratory dinners.

Contemporary cuisine fusing local ingredients with French flair in upmarket vineyard restaurant. That’s what you get when you Google La Colombe, and while it’s factually accurate, it only begins to describe what awaits you at the top of the long winding road up the mountain at Silvermist Organic Wine Estate in Constantia. As you ascend the hairpin bends, the view to your left stretches across the southern suburbs and False Bay; on a clear day you can see forever. If an amuse bouche teases your mouth, this is the amuse les yeux, the eyes.

You are welcomed in the foyer, where a feature wall displays what appear to be artefacts from another time and place. They are the various items used, past and present, to serve incredible dishes to diners. This is where the inspiration often begins – first the plate, then the food. Here’s a giant mushroom with a removable cap, what shall we do with it? Use it to hide tasty morsels that will evoke glee. It’s all about the reveal.
Descend a few steps and the dining room opens expansively, with daytime views of trees and vineyards, and perhaps a fat pig snuffling around, its belly dragging on the forest floor.

“La colombe” is French for dove, and you’ll see references in the decor, and your first course, Dove’s Nest – a literal nest in which there are two eggs. Remove the tiny cork, insert the straw, and allow you palate to be awakened with a burst of citrus. This is just the beginning.

Whimsical delights follow – chicken liver parfait masquerading as a glossy red cherry flecked with gold; bread surrounded by foliage, fynbos and flowers picked that morning on the slopes behind you; a tomato that is…and yet isn’t; a charred dragon egg to be snipped open with ornate scissors that would not be out of place in a Victorian parlour where ladies embroider; the famous tinned tuna and blind wine pairing; snow cones and frozen roses and clouds of mist and smoke. The estate honey finale is a thing of beauty, almost too much so to eat. But eat you must.

As dramatic and theatrical as it is, there is restraint too; nothing is done merely for the sake of it. Every carefully considered element combines to create the spectacular whole. Similarly the flavours on that not-at-all-ordinary plate, inspired by a far-flung land: refined and subtle, always complementary, harmonious, balanced.


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A pairing with each course on the menu is available, as well as wines by the bottle or carafe. The wine list is extensive, running to several pages in a leather-bound book. The non-alcoholic gin and sugar-free tonic was declared the “best ever”.


The service on the floor echoes the kitchen ethos: calm, controlled and professional. Every dish is explained in detail, every wine’s provenance revealed. And in the bubble that is your table, for a few hours, you will feel as if you are the only ones who exist in this world where the extraordinary becomes real.


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The dining experience is understated elegance and luxury. It is comfortable. It gives you the feeling of being the only people in the restaurant even though you are surrounded by other diners.

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


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