The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale-Roberts

6 Reviews
Fine-dining food, Modern
Phone Number 0214472337 Opening Hours

Monday Closed; Tuesday to Saturday 6pm to 9pm


Menu - The Test Kitchen Vegetarian Menu - Updated February 2018 The Test Kitchen Pescatarian Menu - Updated February 2018 The Test Kitchen Dinner Menu - Updated February 2018


10-course Gourmand Menu R1600 (R2250 with wine pairing, R2000 with tea pairing)
Fine-dining food, Modern
R60 (1 bottle per table)
10-course Gourmand Menu R1600 (R2250 with wine pairing, R2000 with tea pairing)
Groups, Special occasions
Diners Club, Mastercard, Visa
Accepts credit cards, Booking required, Cocktails, Dinner, Food, Licensed, Parking, Serves food, Wheelchair, WiFi

Critic's review

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food

Tessa Purdon

The journey begins in The Darkroom, an intimate space with low seating and small tables – where aperitifs are served in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere. The mood is mysterious and seductive with its low lighting and wood-clad walls.
Chef Luke Dale Roberts trained in Switzerland and England before spending five years launching restaurants in Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and the Philippines. His gastronomic offerings at The Test Kitchen are inspired by these regions, with the first wave of snacks aptly called Map of the World, paying homage to each of these places. Think crunchy pork scratchings with stout foam (England), lamb with XO dressing (China), and Bo-Kaap slangetjies and wagyu biltong (South Africa).

The Test Kitchen’s iconic millionaire’s shortbread bites, inspired by Luke’s time in Scotland, are moreish and rich, representing a savoury twist on the classic ‘millionaire’s shortbread” that will leave your taste buds in a dance between sweet and umami. Expect a porcini mushroom base topped with truffle jelly that’s sandwiched with a deliciously creamy duck liver parfait topped with a very thin layer of dark chocolate finished off with 24 carat gold leaf. And that’s just the beginning.

It’s this precise attention to detail on every plate that demonstrates the level of skill and artistry for which Luke and his team have become known. Just when you’ve taken the last sip of your num-num and rose-infused cocktail, the waiter signals that your time in The Darkroom has come to an end. You’re now ready to experience the next leg of the journey in The Lightroom, a more formal setting where the rest of the show unfolds.

Highlights include the TTK lobster salad served in a porcelain shell reminiscent of a real seashell, poached lobster with calamansi caviar and a generous spoonful of coconut ice and a drizzle of nam pla dressing. The light and delicate beginning to the meal steadily gathers momentum with Luke’s interpretation of bibimbap – a traditional Korean rice dish that’s served with kimchi vegetables done three ways.

Meat-eaters will enjoy the beef tartare with its interesting presentation: hidden under a lattice-like Yorkshire tuile that’s crispy and crunchy. The accompanying red-wine-and-onion dressing adds a level of depth and intensity. Desserts are a feast for the eyes and brilliantly balanced in flavour. The grape and rhubarb trifle with elderflower, rose and mascarpone has a gentle quality, slowly easing you towards the finale of the meal.

You can’t leave the table without nibbling on a few mini TTK gummy bears and a fun and playful petit four.

The drinks menu is extensive, featuring many unusual wines made by boutique South African producers. The expertly curated collection is crafted and overseen by sommelier Tinashe Nyamudoka, who also makes wine under his own label named Kumusha.

The Test Kitchen has made a name for itself not just by virtue of its gastronomic offerings from the kitchen but also because of its service. The waiters are professional, knowledgeable and have the finesse and proficiency required of a top-end dining establishment. Every guest’s needs are met with a sense of genuine hospitality, and it’s the personable interactions that are remembered.

The restaurant seats 40 guests in an intimate, unintimidating interior where the atmosphere and energy are generated from its beating heart – the open kitchen, infusing a warm buzz that provides comfort in a classy setting.

Best for…
Special occasions and celebrations like anniversaries and birthdays.

(August 2019)

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.

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User reviews

6 Reviews
    Totally worths the wait for our booking and even worth the price. A total food art experience
    Exquisite from beginning to end. Enough said. Go and taste for yourself.
    Finally ticked this off my bucket list - The Test Kitchen in Woodstock. It's not just a restaurant - it's an experience and after a long chat with the Sous Chef Ryan Cole we understand how much thought has gone into every element. From the slightly underground feeling of the dark room to the chic but cosmopolitan atmosphere of the light side... It was incredible. The staff were attentive but not in your face and had good knowledge of everything th eyes were putting in front of you. The food and the flavours were perfectly matched with the wine pairing and sitting by the counter afforded us a view of all the action - quite a sensory overload at times but you can see how carefully yet quietly managed this kitchen is - everyone has their role and gets on with it. And staying til passed midnight we saw the attention to detail in the clean up operation. Certainly not an every day place (the cost will make your eyes water!) but a once in a lifetime must do experience!
    We have eaten here 7 times and I have given them good reviews in the past , at least every year since it opened, which considering we come all the way from the UK is not bad. Booking used to be easy. given we were limited to only a couple of days out of 365 when we could eat here we would book a reasonable time in advance. The booking process has changed and now at 0800 South Africa Time (0600 UK) on the 1st of each month , all bookings for the entire next month open. i emailed to explain this new process would be difficult and never heard back. I put it in my diary however and got up at 0545 and got the computer cranked up. At 0600 bookings opened but most days in December had already gone. i managed to get a table for two after trying for 20mins but then the system crashed. i tried ringing but no one answered and I tried emailing but no one replies. So much for being a loyal customer. They don't seem bothered about individuals any more. What a mess...not what you would expect and not what I have had from other top 50 restaurants. Visited December 2015
    Extremely disappointed in The Test Kitchen. 7 months of anticipation and what a let down! Food was below par, never eaten so much gelatin in my life. Worst part - they could 'not find' my R1500 deposit so It was not deducted from my bill. Ruined the evening and after I complained via email got a very 'sorry, not sorry' response. 48 hours later and still no deposit repaid. not worth the 10 k bill.

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