EXHIBIT A is a 40-seater fine-dining restaurant located on Cape Town’s trendy Bree Street, with a focus on sustainability, the menu highlights indigenous ingredients and elevates local favourites. For those who are ready to go on a sensory journey, an unforgettable dining experience awaits.
Maverick duo, Chef Rikku Ó’Donnchü and Chef Warwick King, are the minds behind EXHIBIT A.
With more than 30 years of combined experience, including stints in the Michelin-starred kitchens of The French Laundry [Thomas Keller], and The Fat Duck [Heston Blumenthal], and Delaire Graff respectively, they are ready to drive a new wave of South African cuisine.
Along with their team, the two chefs will work to redefine fine-dining by offering guests a fun, immersive experience defined by the freshest local produce, and world-class wines.
The first time we made acquaintance with the chefs at this restaurant was at the Eat Out Steak Out event last year. They were a late entry, and the showstopper in my opinion. Their food was on a different level, and the chefs were hands on and down to earth. Chef Rikku then told us then that their pop up, Synn, was to become a permanent restaurant called Exhibit A, a few weeks later.
I have been dying to go ever since this interaction and little taster of what they are capable of.
When Exhibit A launched, I was eager to book but the pricing made me take a step back. This had to be saved for a really special occasion. So I coveted the food via their social media platforms instead.
An opportunity to showcase some exceptional South African restaurants to two international foodie friends became the perfect reason to finally get ourselves to this restaurant. We went last night.
After ascending the many stairs to the top floor of the Villa 47 building, we were transported into a world of sensory overload. The bright green walls, statement ceiling and gorgeous lights awakened our senses and prepared us for what's to come.
We opted for the 7 course menu, with wine pairing for 3 of us (one was the designated driver) @ R1200 per person (I think).
What followed was a series of mind blowing dishes, with different textures, scents and flavours with much theatre involved - including dry ice and Chef Rikku cracking the golden egg on each plate. I really loved how each dish was finished off at the table, as part of the experience.
Consensus was the tomato dish to be the dish of the day, and my partner has started hunting on the internet for the 12 year old balsamic vinegar they used (injecting the quail egg with a syringe!).
Every single dish spoke of years of perfecting a craft, and hours of perfecting the prep and careful detail of perfecting the plate. Every dish was... well.. perfect!
I was close to tears on a few occasions, while my mind tried to comprehend each dish's complexity and delicious flavours. The service was slick and professional, and Chef Rikku was present on the floor a few times.
While the 7 course meal was enough food for me, my partner (a big and tall man) was still a little hungry afterwards. Not ideal at the price tag per person. Also, we found the wine pairing a little underwhelming. Most of the wines worked well with the food, but the caliber of wines used was a little disappointing. I would've liked to see a few interesting wines, not available in the mainstream market to complement the dishes and elevate the experience in line with the baddass-ness of the chefs. In hindsight we should've ordered the 12 course menu, without the wine pairing for the perfect experience. That's definitely what we'll do next time.
I have no doubt in my mind that this place (and the chefs) will go on to win big at this year's Eat Out awards (in their debut year) and soon make a few international lists too. No one is doing what they are doing in SA, and they are doing it so well! They have the potential to move the entire SA Culinary industry forward, by raising the bar and challenging other chefs to also think outside the box more and take a few risks. I would love to return to this establishment, every chance I get. At the price tag it wont be as often as I would like but I encourage everyone to go see what they're about. My personal foodie experience bar has been raised because of them. Hats off to Chefs Rikku and Warwick. You are doing something truly exceptional.
I want to start with I don’t normally review restaurants, ever! Not even if I have a bad experience, I just won’t go back, pretty simple really. But our server on the evening made us feel like we wanted to, especially when we found out that Eat Out it’s self feeds a child every time someone reviews.
The restaurant is located on the top floor of the Villa 47 building Food of note, unbelievably technical, beautifully presented and packed full of flavor. There’s a lot of local classics with very modern twists on the menu, a lot of interesting theatrical elements and more impressively, it keeps you immersed in creativity and fun throughout the whole experience.
The menu was didn’t to the normal offering as it was New Years Eve...
All kinds of quality and special products on the menu, the highlight for me being the Wagyu ribeye with foie gras, cep, truffle and koffman cabbage in a ball.
The others couldn’t agree on whether or not the Cape Malay scallop with okra and pomegranate or the lobster with fennel, mint and lemon verbena tigers milk, pickled apple and bisque aerosol.
The wine list Is a huge wow, not only for pricing but also for products.
It was expensive, but it was a special menu for New Years Eve and It was worth it just for the amount of truffle we got!
There was one thing that nearly ruined the evening unfortunately but completely out of the restaurants hands... There was an awful guest that was very drunk and disturbing the other guests, he was screaming how amazing everything was and being quite rude to the staff.
The chef actually asked him to calm down, then when he was presented with the bill, he got very aggressive mentioned various Michelin Star restaurants prices (which we’ve eaten in and believe me, this restaurant is definitely on par with most two stars) and got asked to move into another room to pay as not to disturb the other guests.
But again, not the restaurants fault.
Perhaps they should of checked with the restaurant what menu was on offer, because it was obviously a bill issue.
Good on the restaurant for dealing with it swiftly and quietly, and our food and service was that great, it didn’t completely ruin the evening.
They do add on a 12.5% service charge which seems to be normal for this sort of restaurant and they have air conditioning which was a god send after the hot evening.
Give yourself 2-3 hours for the meal, 12 courses sounds a lot but the portions are actually very well sized, so it wasn’t a problem for any of us and the pace of the delivery was actually perfect.
Go for the ‘drinks pairing’!!! It has all kinds of weird and wonderful pairings which mimics the food beautifully as our daughter put.
All in all, probably the best meal we’ve had in South Africa to date. I won’t mention the so called top restaurants we’ve eaten at, but this is on a whole different plane of existence.
Toilets... there are only 2, but there is one allocated for women only, fresh towels in a beautifully designed sink cupboard and very clean! The most important!!
We’ve already booked for a normal evening along with the very lovely German table who was next to us.
If you are into lots of gadgets and tiny pretentious portions this is your place. There is no proper sommelier, no introduction to the wines in a restaurant charging the price of a 2 star Michelin restaurant. Unfortunately many dishes were too salted and the service was very basic. They should put more focus on getting the flavors & service right instead of the show and the gadgets.
Exibit A is not only an exciting new edition to the cape town food scene but also a treat for the senses. You're warmly greeted by chef and owner Rikku which is a wonderful touch. Upon entering you are met with a beautiful interior and warm atmosphere. The food is next level. It challenges you to rethink everything you know. The wine list is extensive but not overwhelming. Right on Bree street makes for an accessible and effortless find. We had a fantastic evening and can't wait to got back
Made a booking to go and experience this spot in Bree street, and oh my was it a treat. Arrived at 8pm to one of the friendliest and most knowledgeable waiters that my wife and i had ever met, he showed us to our seats which was situated in the main area, and the decor in what they call the “green room” was such a stand out with the most amazing pieces of art on the wall, which i believe by the way are all also for sale.
My wife and i opted for the 12
Course with wine pairing, and it did not disappoint. their signature Holy smoke dish was one of the most playful dishes i had ever come across, but the textures and flavours were to be even more mind blowing.
With out giving away to much, and having it ruined for those wanting to go, between my wife and i we could’nt decide which course was the best, however my personal stand out dish was the Marron with pickled apple, and a apple and vanilla puree, delicate but packed with flavour,
Every course paired perfectly with the wine selection chosen by Neville our waiter.
All in all, a crazy dining experience that is not heavy on the pocket.
Well worth making a booking for, and we shall return soon to see what the Chefs conjure up next when the menu changes for the new year.
What an amazing place and experience! I really can’t believe a restaurant like this exists in Cape Town. We’ve been to ALL the top restaurants and only found out about this one because of a video we saw online. How is this not on any lists?! It’s going to be very interesting to see next years top 10 list, that’s all I can say!
But from interesting and bold decor, to the amazing drinks list and world class food, there’s nothing to fault.
The chefs do most of the service, which I haven’t really seen before, so nice touch. But again, this is a world top dining spot, and we’ve eaten at most of the worlds 3 michelin star and worlds top 50 restaurants. Just brilliant, really fun, really flavorful