Sunday, March 6, 2016

South Africa -- Cape Town

Joan and I are just back from a fabulous trip to South Africa and Botswana, the best trip ever!

We started in Cape Town, a beautiful city featuring lovely buildings from the nineteenth century,

Old buildings, Cape Town
exquisite scenery,

Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Town
and, yes, excellent food.

The night we arrived, a bit tired from the 24-hour journey, we dined with a friend at Aubergine, a very good restaurant not too far from our hotel. The cuisine was sophisticated and modern while showing off excellent local products, both animal and vegetable. I had springbok tongues (really) and Joan had ostrich. Both were excellent, and accompanied by nice South African wines and charming service.

Springbok tongues
Our second night we went to The Test Kitchen, considered South Africa's best restaurant and Number 28 on the 2015 San Pellegrino list of "The World's 50 Best Restaurants" (I don't usually pay attention to these lists, but still this is impressive). We had a seat at the counter where we could watch the meticulous preparation of the muli-course extravaganza and even talk to the brilliant owner chef, Luke Dale-Roberts.

 Before the seven-course tasting menu begins, there are wonderful "appetizers":

"Appetizers" at The Test Kitchen
There followed, at just the right pace:

A bread course, featuring excellent and attractively presented homemade breads and butter,

Breads and butter at The Test Kitchen
"Heirloom Tomato," consisting of tomato jelly, wood-roasted aubergine, West coast crayfish, toasted parmesan custard and basil oil (I won't repeat the descriptions for the remaining courses, but you get the idea),

"Heirloom tomato" at The Test Kitchen


Scallop at The Test Kitchen
"Light Curry Glazed Kingklip," beautifully prepared at the table,

"Light Curry Glazed Kingclip" at The Test Kitchen
"Duck," a beautifully clean presentation with cherries, foie gras, and BBQ meringue,

"Duck" at The Test Kitchen
followed by desserts, "Rhubarb & Summer Berries" and "Banana, Caramel, Coconut."

"Rhubarb & Summer Berries"; "Banana Caramel, Coconut" at The Test Kitchen
The detail is worth it, because in the hands of a great chef, these very ingredient-laden dishes really work. The bottom line is that Joan and I agreed that it was one of the best meals we had ever eaten.

Bobby Jay

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