The Test Kitchen: a tasting menu sensation

We sample what is surely the most cutting edge food being served in South Africa.


All our Christmases came at once last week when Food24 was invited to eat at arguably South Africa’s most sought after table, The Test Kitchen, at its very trendy location - The Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. 

Award-winning chef Luke Dale-Roberts has chosen his venue well, kept it small with eclectic décor to suit his laid-back, charismatic personality – in short he’s nailed it. 

But let’s get down to the real reason we were there. The new tasting menu - 11 mind-blowing courses paired with wine for R850.

The food
The Test Kitchen, what can I say – phenomenal, awesome, mind-blowing. Luke has shot the top off the taste barriers and his attention to detail is quite astonishing. What I love most is that whilst the pretention factor is low, the food surpasses fine dining in its entirety and blasts all boundaries of tradition, bringing fusion to a new level.

His food is funky, fun and filled with colour and texture. The flavours are surprising and beautiful and each dish has Luke’s special magical touch.

Think salmon tataki with halva, veal tongue and scallops, duck salad with juniper salsa and fig and pinenut parfait. These, just a few of the flavour explosions on the journey of a menu.

This pairing is something out of Alice in Wonderland, it's over the top, crazy, out-there. The best part? The pairings themselves work so beautifully and in the words of Eben Sadie, ‘The wine and the food have run and walked a path together’. Too true Eben, too true.
(Caro de Waal)

The wine
When it comes to experimental, you don’t get more offside and ‘out there’ wines than the wines of Adi Badenhorst and Eben Sadie. Innovators-extraordinaire, they are always happy to give any combination a shot and are constantly coming up with new and interesting tipples.

The wines paired to this menu are a mixture of certified, regular releases and extraordinary, one-off, winery specials which will never be made available to the public. This means that if you want to try something truly unique, The Test Kitchen is the place to do it.

I particularly loved the Vin Jaune (aka ‘funky white’) which is a sherry-style wine without the extra alcohol from fortification. Its salty tang was a revelation with the oyster and watercress. My other favourite was the Pan-fried Sweetbreads and the Columella 2008 – a combination of rich creamy food, savoury liquorice glaze and robustly elegant black fruit in the wine – a taste sensation to be revered.
(Cathy Marston)

Perfect for

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Read more on: luke dale-roberts  |  review

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