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Top 5 Restaurants in South Africa

These Top 5 Restaurants in South Africa were chosen by Eatout.co.za with the help of four top judges: chef and lecturer Garth Stroebel; owner of ‘Chefs Warehouse and Cooking School’, Liam Tomlin; consultant and owner of ‘Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants’, Andy Fenner and Celebrity chef and TV host Jenny Morris.

No. 1: The Test Kitchen

Chef Luke Dale Roberts was born in Britain and went on to train in Switzerland, England and Asia broadening his skills and honing his palate. With a flair for flavours and what seems like a well-choreographed dance in the kitchen, Chef Luke has brought many accolaides to The Test Kitchen. Situated at the trendy ‘Old Biscuit Mill’ in Woodstock, Cape Town, this contemporary restaurant brings Peruvian, Venezuelan and Ecuadorean flavours to South African palates. A kind of Latin-American cuisine. “The Test Kitchen is serious fun. Our food is free to roam in whichever direction. If there is no immediate smile as we create a new dish then we are on the wrong track.  I want guests to be surprised and delighted, to wonder what ingredients we have used and how we made it. It should be an adventure!” – Luke Dale-Roberts, Chef and Owner, The Test Kitchen. If that is not enough to convince you to try out this world-class restaurant then listen to the names of some these decadent dishes: Starters: Grilled scallop, fine bean, tofu miso suke, braised scallop dressing, miso on toast, braised shitake, raw shitake; Main: Braaied Lamb Chop, spring summer vegetables, pea and mint foam, lamb jus; Dessert: Assiette of Chocolate, grilled white chocolate and cinnamon sponge, caramelia cremeux, guanja parfait. And if you can’t pronounce them, then best you try them! Visit The Test Kitchen’s website.

The Test Kitchen

No. 2: Five Hundred at The Saxon Hotel

Situated in Sandhurst, Johannesburg, this hotel and spa also offers guests a unique collaboration between food, wine and art. Chef David Higgs and his staff interact with their guests, offering them imaginative cuisine and wine pairings for a unique gourmet experience. Situated close to Sandton, many businessman and women find this the ideal place for business travel, but it is especially chosen by travellers en route to safari destinations. Only the freshest, handpicked seasonal vegetables are obtained from the Saxon vegetable garden. These are then expertly combined with exceptional crafted produce, making the menu a showcase of superb fragrance and flavour. Every course is then paired with the finest local and international wines. Here are a few examples of the courses offered: First course: green tomato soup, garden beans, tarragon, bean flowers, duck and egg, healys mature cheddar, brioche, burnt butter dressing, queli prawns roasted on shells and herbs, seaweed mayonnaise, garden chives and avocado. Second course: wasabi pea mousse, parsnip fudge, lemon curd, asparagus, halibut, marinated broccoli, sweet potato, ash jelly, ‘the quail circle of life’, elephant foot, leek and citrus. Third course: lamb and apricot, grilled rump, carrots, fennel blossoms, sweet potato chutney, impala loin, pumpkin seeds, guiness braised leg, sweet potato and ginger beer. Fourth course: eggless chocolate mousse, apple mint ice cream, coffee meringue, crispy garden mint lychee and liquorice, ‘macaroon massacre’, panna cotta, macaroon, sorbet apple, verbena cream, apple meringue and yoghurt mousse. Just reading that makes the heart skip a beat and the tastebuds dance with glee! Find out more about this superb restaurant by visiting their website.

No. 3: Rust en Vrede

This beautiful estate nestled away in the peaceful vineyards of Stellenbosch in the Cape was chosen by President Nelson Mandela for the Nobel Peace Prize dinner. Rust en Vrede was nominated as the first South African red wine estate in the Top 100 Wines of the World and repeated this achievement for four consecutive years. Rust en Vrede was established in 1694 by, Willem Adrian van der Stel, the Governor of the Cape at the time, so it is steeped in history with age-old Cape Dutch charm. The finest purveyors were selected to provide fresh, quality ingredients only to be matched by award-winning wines and exceptional service. Click here to discover what awards have been bestowed to the restaurant. They have chosen four different types of menus: Four course; Six course; Six course with wine, culminating in the Estate Experience Menu – a journey of taste, sight and smell that can only be enjoyed once in a lifetime. They promise to deliver a surprise menu, asking you to trust them as they specially prepare a completely unique dining experience that lasts for up to five hours! For more about Rust en Vrede (Rest and Peace), please visit their website.

rust en vrede

No. 4: The Greenhouse – The Cellars-Hohenhort

Established in 1963 and originally known as Klaasenbosch Farm, The Cellars-Hohenort in Constantia, Cape Town was the house of Hendrik ten Damme, Chief Surgeon of the Dutch East India Company. The farmhouse is situated close to cool forest walks, exclusive shopping malls, golf courses, the breathtaking Kirstenbosch Gardens and the best Peninsula beaches. So besides the hotel being well worth the visit, the restaurant, The Greenhouse, is an absolute must-see and taste! Cape Town’s first Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef, Peter Tempelhoff and his expert team are responsible for bringing the bountiful local produce and diverse cultures of South Africa together on a plate. Local ingredients and flavours undergo international techniques and styles, resulting in dishes that surprise and delight each diner. With seating for only 45 people you are promised 5-star service that is unobtrusive and personalised. Feast your eyes on a few examples of what’s on offer at this exceptional restaurant: Starters: Malay Infused Ostrich Tartare: apricot chutney, tuille & salsa, potato carpaccio, biltong, game custard; Game fish Sashimi – prawn and sticky rice salad, pickled ginger, tobiko, white soy & grape gazpacho. Mains: Broiled Du Toitskloof Rainbow Trout – Namibian crab, tomato risotto, cauliflower, sultana puree, Cape Malay butter sauce; Hibiscus Glazed Pork Belly – poached plums, young coconut jellies, tender stem broccoli, toasted sesame seeds. Desserts: White Chocolate & Strawberry Mousse – spring pea ice-cream & marshmellows, strawberry & mint spheres, poppy seed and lemon; Mango & White Chocolate Cake -ginger & coriander sorbet, lime bubbles, powdered dressing, mango salsa. Once you have indulged yourself with the fine food and wine, take a walk through the spectacular gardens that are set over nine spectacular acres, in the breathtaking Constantia Valley, regarded as one of the finest privately owned gardens in the world. For more about the restaurant, hotel and amenities, please visit their website.


No. 5: Hartford House

This hotel and restaurant has won many awards and is situated on Summerhill Stud in the charming KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, South Africa. The restaurant overlooks beautiful award-winning gardens and on some evenings they offer Traditional Zulu dancers and singers. After lunch or dinner you can wander through the extensive game conservancy where you can spot several rare wild animal and bird species that have made the estate their home. “You can feel the passion at Hartford; any meal here reflects our obsession. We live in one of the planet’s great pantries, a world of rich soils, a wonderful climate and bountiful harvests. ‘In season’ and local, are our keys.” Extract from their website. Jackie Cameron, the head chef, decided to invite a few youngsters to try out their culinary skills and these are a few of their special recipes that are available on their website: crumpets, chunky chocolate cookies, bacon and baby marrow frittata, macaroni and cheese, banana muffins, apricot jam doughnuts and much more. Children under 12 are welcome to the restaurant so that the whole family can be privy to the excellent dishes on offer.

About Bronwyn Paxton

Article by: Bronwyn Paxton
on March 6, 2014
Filed under  Africa Blog • South Africa • Travel Articles 
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