This Cape Town establishment is more than just a fine-dining restaurant, it’s a multi-sensory feast and a high-class experience for the tastebuds. They recently came 6th in Tripadvisor’s Travellers Choice Awards for best fine-dining restaurant in the world.
I was lucky enough to be invited to La Colombe to see, hear, touch, taste and smell what this experience is really all about.
La Colombe is set upon a hill in the leafy suburb of Constantia. The drive up the hill adds to the allure of the restaurant as you’re not quite sure what to expect until you come across an understated building tucked away amid a small vineyard and a lush green setting. The décor is simple yet elegant offering a bistro-style feel.
I took my sister and mom for the lunch date and we opted for the Gourmand Menu without wine pairings and the pescatarian menu for my mom. There’s always that clichéd saying that at a fine-dining establishment you walk away hungry from the many micro-dishes. In this case, it was quite the opposite. We walked in there all graceful and elegant and left rolling out stuffed to the brim after 11 courses.
As we walked in we were greeted with a pop-in-your-mouth appetiser, a reconstructed mini green apple with a tantalising apple liquid inside. We were then escorted to our table where we were served with a glass of crisp Colmant MCC and a starter of chorizo, sourdough bread and homemade butter.
In the next course, our ‘snack’ was presented in a smoking box. On top were gourmet sliders with sticky pork belly and upon opening the box you discover the prettiest and tastiest secret inside – Cape Malay spiced prawn toast.
At this point, we understood that this restaurant is just as much about the experience as it is about the food. And the menu was packed with delicate Asian tones and Indian spices, a delightful surprise as these are two of my most favourite flavours.
Next was the Tuna ‘La Colombe’ which is served in a tuna tin can that you open yourself. I’ve had this dish before, at the 2016 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards and it was just as good, if not better the second time. Actually, I will be as bold as to say that this was my favourite dish. Seared cuts of tuna in an umami broth. Magnifique!
The next two dishes consisted of, quail and Mozambican langoustine with a tandoori oil and a miso-seared scallop, sweetbreads and Tom Yum. I was excited to try the sweetbreads as haven’t had these before. It was very fatty, tender and packed with flavour.
The palate cleanser was a frozen prickly pear cup with a sweet prickly pear and Mezcal liquid, sitting amongst cacti for excellent effect.
Next was pan fried linefish, curried snoek, mussels and squid with fresh spring vegetables. A delightful dish that could be ordered on its own. And to end off the mains we had Karoo lamb, braised neck with jalapeno, aubergine and sweet tomato jus.
The first dessert course was my absolute favourite. Oak Smoked Stanford Gruyere, quince, pecan ice-cream and nuts and sherry pickled onions. On paper, it doesn’t sound like it works. But it works! Everything spooned together in one bite…scrumptious. The second dessert was banana in every way imaginable with hazelnut and tonka bean.
The final course, and by this stage we didn’t think we could fit anything more in, was ‘Flavours from our Garden’. We were expecting a herbal flower concoction but were pleasantly surprised when presented with a large mystical fairy-like log of wood on the table. On the log were delicate macarons, truffles and meringue. We washed it all down with a hot cup of expertly-brewed coffee.
As we (literally) rolled out of La Colombe we were given the sweetest little envelopes that were gently placed on a birds nest. In each envelope was a very thoughtful after-dinner chocolate mint.
The whole experience took about three and a half hours. As there were many courses we took our time between each one, going outside into the sunshine for little breaks. The service was exceptional. Everything was just so easy and seamless and they catered for your every need.
Alex, our waiter, recommended that next time we join we should stay at the Silvermist Mountain Lodge, just a stone’s throw away from La Colombe. A great idea to go straight from feasting to sleeping in absolute style and luxury.
It’s not often you get to experience the best-of-the-best and La Colombe did not disappoint.
La Colombe is currently running a winter lunch special:
R 495 per person | 4-courses
Monday to Friday, Lunch only.
Valid from 6 May until 30 August 2019
Including public holidays