Breaking: The Test Kitchen to start serving pub grub

It seems nothing can stop Luke Dale-Roberts and his team. The chef of SA’s number two restaurant is mixing things up by bringing a bit of Britain to Woodstock, with Ye Olde Test Kitchen pub lunches.

Fish and chips at Ye Olde Test Kitchen. Photo by Andy Lund

The new concept, which will launch on 21 August, will be a pop-up experience where Luke and his brigade of chefs will serve up British-style pub grub for lunch service at The Test Kitchen. The inspiration behind the new pop-up stems from Luke’s childhood home town of Punnetts Town in East Sussex. The small village “had about 15 pubs in a mile’s radius” from his home, says Luke. The Top 10 chef has recently seen the demand grow for more accessible, heartier meals and decided to explore the pub-food experience.

Chef Luke Dale-Roberts in The Test Kitchen. Photo by Andy Lund.

What’s on the menu, you ask? Forget the fifteen-course extravaganza: “This is not The Test Kitchen in terms of a multi-course, multi-sensory experience, but we are offering the same degree of skill and attention to detail to good, old-fashioned, honest food,” says Luke. An a la carte menu will feature starters, mains and desserts, with a range of sides. Think pressed terrine of the day, salt beef ploughman’s plate, or potted langoustine to start, mains of mini beef Wellington, slow-cooked lamb shanks and, of course, fish and chips. Desserts will include a cheeseboard, sticky toffee pudding and a crumble of the day. Dishes will range from R95 to R220.

Brioche French toast with porcini marmalade and seasonal mushrooms. Photo by Andy Lund

As for the drinks, there will be no set wine pairings, but head sommelier Tinashe Nyamudoka will be preparing a wine list comprising some special vintages and bin ends. And, although the space doesn’t allow anything on tap, there will be a selection of craft beers available by the bottle.

The interior at The Test Kitchen. Photo by Justin Patrick.

Ye Olde Test Kitchen will open at The Test Kitchen on 21 August and will serve lunch every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday for two months. Bookings for seats in the Light Room will be available online, while walk-in guests will be welcomed in the Dark Room.

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