I’ve allowed this article to mature, not like a fine brandy in oak, but in my mind. I hoped that mellowing for a few months would help me use words to do justice to one of the finest dining experiences on the planet. It was a pipe dream. Please visit The Test Kitchen. Ask Tinashe Nyamudoka, the head sommelier, to wheel or cycle (yes, cycle) his brandy trolley to you. For now, words will have to do.
It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon at the end of October last year. Lunch was at The Test Kitchen, the best restaurant in Africa, and among the top 25 in the world according to the respected S Pelligrini backed The 50 Best Restaurants. We had eight courses, paired with the best brandies in the world. Not my words, but those of the International Wine and Spirits Competition I had the pleasure of some of South Africa’s most distinguished food and drinks authorities for company.
We started outside in the Cape Town sunshine, cooled by crisp Brandy cocktails and then gathered in The Dark Room, for more cocktails and canapés. Well, canapés TTK style, with the Billionaires Shortbread (porcini shortbread, foie gras parfait, dark chocolate and gold leaf) and other treats whetting our appetites for what lay ahead.
The afternoon continued with Luke Dale-Roberts and Dr Winnie Bowman performing a duet explaining the food and brandy pairings and Christelle Reade-Jahn, Director of the SA Brandy Foundation sharing her optimism about Brandy in South Africa. Later in the afternoon Tinashe Nyamudoka, bicycle bell ringing, rode in signaling the arrival of the post lunch brandies.
This is some of what we ate and drank:
Vanilla peach and rose-scented Fois Gras paired with KWV 15
TK Tuna Nicoise Salad with Boplaas 8
Cauliflower and Cheese, Fresh Truffle, Black Garlic Salsa with Oude Molen XO
Pan Seared Duck Breast, Orange Emulsion, Turnip and Cashew Puree, BBQ Turnip, with Grundheim 9
Chamomile Ice Cream, Cardamom and Brown Butter Sponge, Toasted Sunflower Seeds with Van Ryn’s 12 Distiller’s Reserve
Summer Berries, Elderflower Ice Cream, Strawberry and Coconut Meringue, Berry and Lime Snow with Upland Draken Wijn
If you have a food and drink bucket list, TTK should be on it. What about taking a trip around our country to visit a few of the Brandy Homes.
Overall impression – World Class, world-beating, Proudly South African.
The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale-Roberts. 021 447 2337. Unit 104A, Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch: Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday 6.30pm to 8:30pm (seating)
Thanks to Manley Communication for their slick, professional PR and organisation.