Sommelier’s day off: Where to eat in Cape Town – according to The Test Kitchen’s Tinashe Nyamudoka

Tinashe Nyamudoka is the head sommelier at Cape Town’s The Test Kitchen (currently number two in the Eat Out Top 10 and recently announced as one of the best restaurants in the world).

Though he also has his own wine (which Ed Sheeran fell for during his visit to SA in March), named Kumusha, the 2016 winner of the Eat Out Wine Service Award has just as much of a love affair with food, so we got him to tell us all about where and what he eats (and drinks, of course!) when he’s not on the job.

The Test Kitchen’s sommelier Tinashe Nyamudoka. Photo by Andy Lund.

My wine journey has run parallel to my journey with food and people, and years spent working in top restaurants has given me exposure to different experiences and expectations regarding tastes. My appreciation for good food has only grown during that journey and it’s something I intend to pass on to my young daughters. My youngest, Nashe, is just three years old, and the pleasure I have dining with her has much to do with the pleasure she herself takes in eating, as well as the biting intelligence and goofily elegant charm of her company. (She recently mastered chopsticks and eats oysters like a pro, never forgetting a squeeze of lemon.)

A Tavola (Claremont)

As soon as you step inside this Italian restaurant, you’ll notice the joie de vivre of its clientele. The room is filled with people talking and laughing over glistening shellfish and other delights of the sea. My go-to dish is the linguine pescatore. Thin pasta is tossed in a seafood sauce of tomato, mussels, prawns and calamari, with a touch of chili. A Tavola flawlessly marries Italian-inspired food of the highest quality with well-chosen wines. Fabulous bottles of reasonably priced wines litter the room, and you get a sense that this is a place where people come to drink the wine list; it’s not there just for the show.


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The Commissary (City Centre)

On busy evenings, guests are packed in like sardines at The Commissary, one table abutting the next. There’s no chance for intimate conversations of any kind, which leaves you to concentrate and enjoy what’s on your plate. The décor and ambience resonate with the mostly Asian-inspired dishes that leave the open kitchen. (Be sure not to miss out on some KFC – Korean fried chicken 2.0). Like me, most aficionados will adore the simplicity of the wine list.


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Sepial’s Kitchen (Salt River)

The small team running the restaurant welcomes you with homemade popcorn tea brewed to perfection. The budae jjigae (or Korean military soup) is a dish that provokes and delights the palate. The flavours form a polyphony and the presentation is original, yet simple. Satisfying subtlety is what you’ll find in every dish and drink here.


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Budae jjige “ Korean Military Soup”: Served for lunch @sepialskitchen. It’s got a real bite

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Pahari African Restaurant (Salt River)

I may have adopted the exotic culinary of the west and far east, but my taste is firmly planted in my roots. I always get a feeling of home when I enjoy the simple but authentic dishes at Pahari. My favourite delicacy is the spicy mopane worms, which I feel are the oysters of Africa. There’s a decent spread of dishes from which to choose. Fried tilapia, cow feet, tripe, pap and green veggies are all most enjoyable with friends or family, when you get to order everything at once and share.


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Maguru : Mazondo : Madora : Hove : Muriwo : Sadza: @pahari_african_restaurant How long can you go without having an authentic African meal?

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Three Wise Monkeys (Sea Point)

Nashe has become a ‘ramen head’. Our favourite spot for a good bowl is at Three Wise Monkeys in Sea Point. We are drawn to the duck ramen – it’s profound, sensual and served with modesty. It has an intensity of flavour without force or pressure, like magic. I love a light touch of chilli with it. Corkage is allowed, so I always bring a good bottle of wine on a lazy Sunday. (Kumusha, of course, or a bottle of champagne.)


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