La Colombe. It just has that wonderful ring to it. It sounds French. It sounds like fine dining. It sounds like you can’t miss this restaurant when you’re in Cape Town. Which you most definitely can’t.
La Colombe and the Test Kitchen have been constantly battling for the number one restaurant in South Africa. So far (according to the critics/awards), the Test Kitchen is winning. But I was curious to see which one would win for me. We went to the Test Kitchen for dinner on the Saturday, and then La Colombe for lunch on the Sunday. Talk about how to stuff as many good restaurants into 72 hours in Cape Town.
I wish we’d had more time at La Colombe, so we could have properly taken advantage of the Lunch Tasting Menu, which not only looks phenomenal, but is also very nicely priced (9 courses for £36). Sadly we had to return our rental car, and so had a time limit. Which meant a starter and a main, and all the little tasters in between. It was so worth it, despite the rush.
Location wise it’s quite special. It moved to Silvermist fairly recently, and now it is truly a restaurant with a view. Located quite high up, you have views of the valley and the vineyards. It’s not a completely open view, but it’s beautiful. While initially I was disappointed not to be sitting outside (it can get quite windy, they warned), if you sit right by the large windows, you can still enjoy the views no matter what.
It is a wonderful, airy and light restaurant, with a much more ‘fine dining’ feel than the Test Kitchen, but without being stuffy or stiff. The service was very professional but incredibly friendly; they were clearly proud of where they worked.
And the food? Out of this world. From the beautifully presented tuna with mirin in a can (see the photo below before you turn your nose up), to the stunning lamb (which we both had as a main course) – I was blown away.
For starters Rob had the scallops with the pork belly and I had the beef. They were exquisitely cooked, every mouthful a different flavour. So much care and expertise was clearly put into every dish.
Verdict? You can’t really compare La Colombe and the Test Kitchen. They are both unique, and both a must do when in Cape Town (though getting a booking is easier at La Colombe). But perhaps La Colombe is best for lunch, so you can enjoy the beautiful views. And the restaurant seems at its best with the sun pouring in. This is a restaurant I will return to – given the chance – time after time (and yes, that means I am 100% returning to Cape Town).
Silvermist Wine Estate,
Constantia Main Rd,
Constantia, Cape Town, 7848
Photo credit: La Colombe & City Turtle