Master Chef Luke Dale-Roberts scores straight A’s with his “Test Kitchen”

“At Travel Concepts we love our fine dining and this last week has been the culinary highlight of the year for us with three huge reasons to celebrate.”

“At Travel Concepts we love our fine dining and this last week has been the culinary highlight of the year for us with three huge reasons to celebrate.”

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At Travel Concepts we love our fine dining and this last week has been the culinary highlight of the year for us with three huge reasons to celebrate.

Highlight one was that Luke Dale-Roberts, previously the head chef at La Colombe (consistently voted as South Africa’s top restaurant and last year voted 12th in the world) announced the launch of his brave new venture THE TEST KITCHEN.

Highlight number two (and the biggest of all) was that we were amongst the first 30 people to taste his new menus after being invited to a special  pre-opening tasting night. How we got on this A list who knows, who cares, but for somebody of Luke’s calibre we certainly didn’t mind being the guinea pigs, especially when a treat like this is the equivalent as getting an invite to the Vanity Fair Oscars after party.

In his invitation Luke described his new venture as a “creative space for his team to explore the relationship between art and food, where time will be split between developing new dishes, researching flavour combinations and designs, and of course operating an intimate dining venue offering guests something quite out of the ordinary”.

Luke has also collaborated with some of South Africa’s most talented designers and artists in an effort to bring a wholly original sensory dining experience to his restaurant scene. So with expectations high and excitement at fever pitch we arrived at the Test Kitchen located in Cape Town’s Old Biscuit Mill development in Woodstock.

Our first impression was how small the restaurant was with seating for only thirty diners, but the interior was very intimate and stylish. It has a rustic feel with lots of thick wood, metals, red brick and amazing but subtle lighting which created a really great atmosphere. With tables surrounding an open plan kitchen we also got an inside look into how the food is prepared.

With select artwork and designer ceramics the surroundings then were fabulous, but the food was simply fantastic and experimental and Luke really has taken his La Colombe experience to a different level. We were treated to a five course tasting menu of which the highlights were definitely a “trout tartare served with green apple, lime, aubergine and creamy miso dressing” and the “lamb tongues served with celery, a poached quail egg and mariniere cream”. If this was the taste of things to come then give us more, more, more.

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better, the final highlight was that Luke then asked our events management team to advise him on his pre-launch party evening to showcase the restaurant to friends and industry colleagues. So last week we helped him host 180 guests in the courtyard outside the restaurant. Like the man himself the event was understated and unassuming but the consensus from the crowd was that Luke is on to a winner and we couldn’t agree more.

The Test Kitchen plans to open officially on Wednesday 24th of November and is open for lunch and dinner. For more info click here to view the Test Kitchen website.