Under chef and co-owner Ivor Jones’s leadership, there’s a gravitas and confidence to the food on offer here. The through line is bold, often Asian-influenced flavours, innovative ideas, exceptional technique and faultless execution. Each plate shows careful thought and planning, with immaculate presentation. The four-course set menu is neat and succinct, with a considered selection of dishes that showcases variety but doesn’t overwhelm the diner. It bears noting that this tasting menu is the perfect size: it leaves the diner satisfied without being uncomfortable or reeling from flavour confusion. The signature oysters Beau Constantia appetiser still hits all the right notes, offering a marvellous interplay of textures and flavours: tart, crunchy apple, crispy onion, smoked paprika and a tiny pearl of cucumber, beautifully complementing the delicate briny taste of the oyster without overpowering it. Another dish of transcendent beauty is the linefish sashimi starter, where each element on the plate plays a crucial role. Coconut creme forms the base for rolled black-bream sashimi – the fish irresistibly fresh and sexily succulent – flavoured with lime, lemongrass and ginger, enlivened with a BBQ south-Asian dressing and garnished with toasted curry leaf and lime zest. As far as meatier fare is concerned, the main course – “We eat with our hands” – is so much more than the sum of its perfectly executed parts. A shiitake-mushroom emulsion dusted with dried kale forms the base for the gentlest of chicken-liver parfaits, which rests beneath a surprisingly light skirt steak beef tartare that’s nestled between hibiscus petals and lemon parsley jellies popping on the tongue. To end, “Flavours of chef Ivor’s childhood” is a medley of the most perfect creme caramel; lemon meringue pie with burnt meringue and a soft, tart lemon centre; and orange and lime sorbets with elderflower jellies. The rich, sweet and refreshing elements come seamlessly together. On balance, the quality, complexity and beautiful presentation of the dishes makes the bill at the end seem like great value.
The wine list offers a good selection of wines and bubbles that match the style of food, and at very reasonable prices. Servers are knowledgeable and can confidently recommend varietals that are fine-tuned to the menu’s abundance of full-throttled spicy, creamy, umami flavours. And if you want to kick off or clinch your meal with something stronger, the whisky sour is spot on.
Servers are professional but warm, knowledgeable without feeling the need to talk your ear off, and attentive without being imposing. They’re great at answering questions, talking diners through aspects of the menu and making suggestions, should they require some guidance.
The restaurant is darkly dramatic and minimalist, with a tactile feel thanks to elements such as the wooden kitchen hatch and stone walls. The real hero, though, is the view of the estate, which diners can appreciate through floor-to-ceiling glazing. For those who like to be close to the action, there are a few tables situated next to the open-plan kitchen, offering diners a front-row seat to the brigade doing its thing. Depending on the weather, the terrace seating is first prize for lunch on a clear day.