The influence of former mentor Luke Dale-Roberts is apparent in chef Ivor Jones’s punchy flavours – the best of them inspired by Asian cuisine – and dishes that feel very well resolved. There’s a Thai sour curry with fermented lime that you’ll want to bottle, dumplings with layers of flavour that’ll make you regret eating your half of the shared portion in one mouthful, and Korean chilli chicken tacos that’ll make you want more and more.
There’s a risotto, of course – all of Liam Tomlin’s restaurants have one of those – and this umami-laced version is a home run. The secret’s in the coal-fired oyster mushrooms that lurk beneath a thyme-infused milk froth and the perfectly cooked, wondrously cheesy rice.
Line fish gets a lift from caraway and burnt butter dressing, and a simple tartare takes things in a different direction with a barbecue garlic aioli.
If you don’t want the experience to end, finish with wild honey and lavender creme, with honeycomb and a cinnamon-y smoked cassia bark ice cream. It’s a perfect rich honeyed cream, undercut by the clever, almost rosemary-like lavender. A chocolate-filled doughnut is less successful – it’s slightly too salty for most palates, and jars a little with the sour frozen yoghurt. That’s easy to forgive, though, when the rest of the dishes are as spectacular as they are.
Beau Constantia bottles are available by the glass, and there’s a good list of heavy-hitters available by the bottle.
Staff are well-trained and well-informed about dishes, without being pushy. One quibble: when bringing the bill, waiters shouldn’t make assumptions about who’s paying based on their gender identity.
With sweeping views out over the vineyards and Cape Town’s twinkling lights, the setting couldn’t be better. The glass-fronted space makes the most of it – though that can make things a tiny bit chilly in winter. (Fireplaces do their bit in warming up most of the dining room, however.) The ballet of the chefs in the small kitchen adds to the mood of the space, with a chorus of ‘oui’ going out after each of Jones’s orders.
A special occasion, with friends who don’t mind sharing.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
It was our third visit in about 18 months.
I want to start by asking a serious question: who in SA makes better food than this establishment? No, really. Please tell me.
As someone who's first impressions of a place lingers long after the moment has passed, all I can say is that the security guards at the gate of this establishment seem to be unaware of people coming for dinner. We stood outside the gate for quite some time before the guard mosied out of his post to come open the boom. Our booking was for 7:30pm, so I find it strange that they were so reluctant to open the gate. Also, the same happened on our way out. The security wouldnt let the Uber in to fetch us, and we had to walk down the cobble road (in my nice heels, nogal) to the gate.
Other than this, the experience was flawless. From arrival at the restaurant until we left. Service was friendly, efficient and food came out at a steady pace and was explained to the table properly.
The food was, once again, exceptional. Flavours were balanced and complex and every mouthful was a taste sensation. Only the pork dumpling with confit egg yolk seemed a bit out of place in the third course. That said, it was an incredible dish.
As per our tradition, we had the lavender creme brulee with smoked cassia ice cream, which is categorically the best dessert I've ever had.
The ambiance was festive and bubbly. The evening was chilly but inside it was cosy. We had a large booking at a table by the side of the venue, so we not only had a little privacy, we also had breath taking views.
This venue will keep getting my vote for the best SA has to offer. There is no dramatic fanfare, just incredibly delicious food and superior service. 10/10 again.
100% worth it. Stand out experience. I am still dreaming about the amazing delicious food.
Divan de Koning
Great food and ambience. Probably the best service in CT too.
Great location, food and wine. However the profile says that they accept Amex and Diners, which is not true. We had people in are group who's cards were declined...
The food was excellent, the ambience was lovely and the service was on par. Well worth the money spent. An awesome first fine dining experience.
The most delicious food we have ever tasted - a true taste sensation. Our lunch was on a cold, rainy day and the welcome of the fire place was just perfect. Cannot wait to go back!
I am a constant foodie and lover of all the Chef's Warehouses in Cape Town, with #Chef_Liam_Tomlin at the helm. My experience at CW BC has always been amazing and regretfully I remain disappointed by Saturday's meal.
Chef Ivor, unfortunately, you missed the mark on the majority of the dishes, leaving us underwhelmed and cheated out of pocket (the incredible view of the vineyards and the pretty plating cannot compensate for the lack of flavors)...My critique as follows:
The oyster garnish overpowered the taste of the actual shellfish.
The Vietnamese rice paper roll had no business being on that plate - I can make a more authentic one - and a tastier one too. There was nothing exciting about it, or fresh about it - it lacked herbs and crunch and was just some cucumber and vermicelli wrapped up with a satay/peanut dipping sauce to inspire it - the kimchi stole the stage (and starred on another dish again later....?)
The tempura mushrooms were soggy, and the addition of the fried rice paper did not compensate for that particular lack of tempura texture and lightness. I remember the sauce was delightful.
The tuna and kale dish was good - and something I expected from you. The baba ganoush had subtle smokey flavours - yum!
The ceviche bored me and was overpowered by the red peppers - I'd had loved a fresher lightness to it.
The risotto was a dish of the day, but as with other CW's, tends to hit the palate at a colder temperature (not warmed up enough). I suggest you inform dinners to eat this dish first.
The polenta substitute for the lamb dish was a brave attempt and had some success - it lacked a sauce I think (the lamb dish failed to amaze the carnivores at our table too)
I was told the pork belly was good.
The hake tacos were highly praised and very delicious - extra lime was needed and requested.
As always the cassis creme dessert and coffee were stellar.
Maison 1 Beau Constantia 0
Thali is booked for this weekend.