I heard about The Test Kitchen through a very good friend of mine in September last year (2013). I called the restaurant at the end of October 2013 and made a booking thinking that I would get one a week later… try 5 months later! I was shocked. But I made the booking anyway because if I had to wait 5 months – there must be something special about this restaurant, right?
Anyway, fast forward 5 months later, the day finally arrived. The menu is preset and you can choose between the “Dinner Discovery Menu” (R590 for 5 courses) or the “Gourmand Menu” (R800 for a 10-course menu). Sounds expensive but if you divide 590 by 5 you get R118 per meal, so not too bad….. If you’re willing to splurge for a dinner experience rather than just a dinner, then this is exactly what you need.
The Test Kitchen is located in the Old Biscuit Mill. It was opened by renowned (okay, I only found about him when I googled him) chef named Luke Dale-Roberts. He describes the restaurant and more specifically the food as:
“It’s 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!”
So, let my taste adventure begin…
I dressed smart-casual (stretchy clothes – i.e. smart-casual fat pants) and we sat at the bar overlooking the open – plan kitchen. The restaurant is primarily industrial looking with brick walls, oak beams, ducts and pipes exposing the rawness of the building. The decor and furniture appear rustic with its rough and rusted appearance. The actual restaurant is small and intimate and only seats 65 guests.
I thoroughly enjoyed sitting at the wrap around bar as I could watch the chefs create their dishes. The restaurant does vegetarian options as their red meat is not halal. The vegetarian menu is not online but let me say that the description does not even give the dishes justice. Everything they described on the menu is a simplistic view of what actually arrives in front of you.
I can only describe the flavour and presentation of dishes as masterpieces. No dish was better than the other and every single one had its own uniqueness. Although the dishes appear tiny, they are so rich that you’ll be glad you wore stretchy pants by the time dessert comes. Even though the menu says 5 dishes, it feels like ten dishes – as they bring “pallet cleansers” and freebies between the meals. So if you divide R590 by 10 then its R59 a meal…. now that’s not bad.
The only dish that I didn’t enjoy (because i do not believe in mixing vegetables with ice-cream) was the Rhubarb dessert. It was awful. I had food envy when I saw the chocolate dessert. So if you are going to try this place out, I highly recommend the chocolate dessert because as they say… a balanced diet is chocolate in both hands. So why not indulge.
They say food is fuel. After my experience at the TEST kitchen…. food was therapy 🙂
If you’re looking for a fantastic culinary experience in Cape Town, be sure to make a booking at the Test Kitchen!
Dinner: 19:00- 21:00
The Test Kitchen
The Old Biscuit Mill
375 Albert Road
+27 (0) 21 447 2337
Bookings are taken between 08:00 and 17:00 Monday to Saturday.