Review: Returning to The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
While food is always quite good in South Africa, it’s absolutely spectacular at The Test Kitchen in Cape Town, South Africa. With dozens of awards and accolades under it’s roster, dining here is a wonderful and reasonably priced experience by first world standards.
This post is one chapter on our trip to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates. This trip was redeemed through American Airlines AAdvantage & Alaska Mileage Plan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
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Read More from This Trip
- Trip Introduction: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the United Arab Emirates via Emirates First Class, South African Airways Business Class and Qatar Airlines Business Class
- American Airlines First Class: Vancouver – Los Angeles
- American Airlines AAdmirals Club: Los Angeles
- Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge: Los Angeles
- Qatar Airways Business Class: Los Angeles – Doha
- The Westin Hotel and Spa, Doha, Qatar
- Souq Wahif, Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Business Lounge, Doha, Qatar
- Qatar Airways Business Class: Doha – Johannesburg
- The Slow Lounge, O.R. Tambo Domestic, Johannesburg, South Africa
- British Airways Club Class: Johannesburg – Cape Town
- The Westin Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
- Winelands of Paarl, South Africa
- Shark Diving at Gaansbai, South Africa
- The Hermanus Coastal Walk, Hermanus, South Africa
- Returning to Stellenbosch & Franschoek, South Africa
- A Repeat Visit to the Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
- Air Namibia: Cape Town – Windhoek
- Overland Travel: Driving to the Desert; Windhoek – Sesriem
- The Sossus Dune Lodge, Sesriem, Namibia
- The Majestic Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia
- Overland Travel: Sesriem – Walvis Bay, Namibia
- The Pelican Point Lodge, Walvis Bay, Namibia
- Overland Travel: Walvis Bay – Spittskope – Windhoek, Namibia
- The Hilton Windhoek, Namibia
- Air Namibia Windhoek – Maun – Victoria Falls
- The Victoria Falls Hotel, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Stopping Hippopotamus on a Zambezi River Cruise, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- Feeling the Smoke that Thunders, a day at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
- British Airways Club Business Class: Victoria Falls – Johannesburg
- The Hyatt Regency Johannesburg
- South African Airways Business Class: Johannesburg – Mauritius
- The St Regis Mauritius, Le Morne, Mauritius
- Emirates First Class: Mauritius – Dubai
- The Grosvenor House, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- The Heat of the Desert at Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
- Emirates First Class Lounge Terminal “B” Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Emirates First Class: Dubai – Los Angeles
- Alaska Airlines Board Room Lounge, Los Angeles
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Los Angeles – Seattle
- Delta Sky Club Lounge Seattle South Terminal
- Delta Airlines First Class: Seattle – Vancouver
Review: Returning to The Test Kitchen, Cape Town, South Africa
This was our second return visit to the wonderful Test Kitchen restaurant. For our previous visit, please see our previous review of The Test Kitchen.
After a terrific morning massage at the spa at The Westin Cape Town, we went onto the Test Kitchen for our lunch via Uber. This was our second visit to the restaurant, having had our first visit a few years earlier.
The Test Kitchen is frequently on the San Pellingrino Top 50 Restaurants in the world and is rated as the number one restaurant in Africa. I had attempted, once again, to get reservation for an evening dinner setting here but they must go immediately within the reservation window opening (60 days out). As a result, we had to settle for a lunch visit. We wait listed for dinner cancellations for dates during our trip but there weren’t any available or any calls to check either.
Getting to the Test Kitchen:
The Test Kitchen is located in the Old Biscuit Mill complex which is a short distance from downtown Cape Town.
Inside the Test Kitchen:
The inside of the Test Kitchen is a contemporary space. It is beautiful and contemporary, all at the same time.
The Lunch Menu followed the dinner menu in featuring a five course tasting menu completely paired with South African Wines. On my visits, the menus were interesting, appealing and paired with excellent boutique South African Wines that do a terrific job of showcasing the country.
The Test Kitchen fixed tasting menu for a set price with wine pairings. On our visit, it was 525 / 825 ZAR ($37 / 59 USD with wine pairing) for the lunch offer, I find it to be a fairly good value for a 5 course, 5 wine meal. It’s less than $12 USD per course including wine. I had recently been promoted at work so this was taken as our celebratory lunch. It was certainly a spectacular event to celebrate a work promotion.
The Meal: A Five Course Tasting Lunch
We started off with fresh assorted breads to start, along with “The Test Kitchen Appetizers”
Home smoked salmon with beetroot, crème fraiche, parsley jellies, saffron pickled onions, buttermilk crème paired with Neil Ellis Amica Sauvingnon Blanc 2013.
Scallop with naturalist bacon, cauliflower salad, black garlic, caper and pine nut salad, and cauliflower cheese foam with Fable Bird Jackal Mountain 2014.
Light curry glazed kingklip, carrot and cashew puree with carrot beurre noisette Lammershoek Chenin Blanc. It was presented in a smoked stone container and presented with precision after it’s cooking process. It tasted absolutely fabulous and perfectly cooked.
Springbok, chargrilled loin, ember roasted red cabbage, almond cream, red cabbage emulsion, pine oil paired with Joubert Traudaw Syrah 2011.
Beer barley and figs, poached fresh figs, smoked milk ice cream, beer barley fudge and fig leaf granata, paired with Jordan Mellifera 2013. A strange combination but it went together really well and was super satisfying.
And a final dessert item compliments of the chef.
Our experience at The Test Kitchen:
As always, the food product was absolutely sensational. We had the opportunity to have a brief casual discussion with the chef Luke Dale Roberts. Service was a little bit lacking as I think they are more accustomed to completing orders in a line assembly manner in sequence. MrsWT73 ordered individual wines off the list, which seemed to throw the waiter a bit. In closing, it was as enjoyable the second time around and I would easily make time to return on our next trip through Cape Town.
Since our visit, The Test Kitchen has been re-branded as the The Test Kitchen Origins. The new concept features both a 3 and a 5 course menu (as opposed to solely a five course option) with wine pairings. The concept is run by the same executive chef and Team behind the original The Test Kitchen.