There’s something to be said when visiting the country’s most voted restaurant, La Colombe. The magical parting words “Food is our stage” really match the experience.
Located in Constantia, about 20-25 minutes’ drive from Cape Town city centre, La Colombe is located in the heart of Silvermist.
La Colombe was voted Restaurant of the Year by the Luxe Restaurant Awards 2022. They also won Wine Service of the Year, led by talented young chef James Gage.
When we entered the restaurant, we knew we would be given world class service. The restaurant’s design and décor are simple and modern, with simple and detailed touches of La Colombe’s feathered gold cutlery. Reservations are the key to this gastronomic feast experience.
The view of the open mountains at La Colombe is amazing, the restaurant is spacious and can be considered smaller compared to other establishments.
Our waiter was very knowledgeable, friendly and fun as he took us through the menu options which included reduced vegan and vegetarian, experience chef menu and reduced option as well.
To celebrate a special occasion that day, we opted for the full Chef experience. The wine list is extensive and lists can be paired with wine. Looking back, we probably had to pick out wine pairings because that’s the best way to do it.
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All courses arrived with plenty of awe and stage with handmade centerpieces and cutlery to match the name of the dishes.
It is a list that takes you on a journey with the inspiration of harvest, garden and nature. This is shown in the first dish, the pigeon’s nest – a triple dish, delicious bread garnished with leaves and herbs, to get us started.
As a Malaysian-style snook with delicious sweet potato bread and beetroot tartare, every bite felt nostalgic, as Malay snook had the flavors and spices familiar to many South African curries. The cherry truffle parfait had a sweet and savory flavour.
The third – smoked tomato and eggplant with pine nuts is a replica of the actual fruit/vegetable, aioli or sauce is acidic but balanced. If you are not a fan of tomatoes, it is best to stay away from this dish.
The fourth dish, tom yum, is a Thai-inspired mussel stew but is more elevated as it was served from a passion fruit rind, with a broth of mussels inside. The shell of a passion fruit is burned to give the charcoal look of a space egg shell from a science fiction movie. Tom Yum was full of flavour, as the broth was filling.
The ambiance in the room is reserved and luminous with classical background music. Other notable dishes included La Colombe tuna, which is a gem. As the name suggests, coming in the branded La Colombe ti, the dish is thin, light, and delicious.
A lunch at La Colombe would probably be longer and fuller. So, when Alaskan quail and grass-fed beef came along, in the sixth and seventh cycle, I had to move around to find some space in my stomach. It does not mean that the plates are large, it is enough for the amount of food that you will be eating. This is probably why it is necessary to introduce a palette cleanser, which is pineapple, rum, strawberry, mint, and apple cider, after the quail.
The sweets were usually show stoppers and so were the rose, coconut and cashew froths. The panna cotta was topped with an amazing rose. Be careful when you nibble on it, a small word suffices or else you will end up chomping at the rose and there are a few candies that come together and add beautifully to the experience.
The second dessert, mandarin and Guevara and pistachio ice cream, was also a hit. It seems that pistachio ice cream has become popular in many restaurants. The ice cream paired with the buns was fantastic.
Finished with honey silver, a trio of desserts that included lemon meringue, eclairs and chocolate, our dining experience couldn’t end with a sweet treat.
La Colombe lived up to our expectations and more, and is definitely worth a 2nd and 3rd visit.