It’s unfortunate that the Constantia winelands, which are a 20-minute drive south of Cape Town, are at their most gorgeous in the late afternoon — because night is when La Colombe restaurant really comes alive. But it’s worth forsaking a few views for the chance to experience the outstanding cuisine of chef Scot Kirton.
A protégé of Luke Dale-Roberts (of Test Kitchen fame), Kirton has easily stepped into the shoes of his mentor, skilfully enhancing the daily chalkboard menu that’s long been a hallmark of this award-winning eatery. Consistently rated among the top 10 restaurants in the country, La Colombe’s menu has European roots with Asian flourishes, all using the bountiful local produce Cape Town is famous for.
The menu, with five or six options per course, changes daily according to the whims of the chef and the seasons. Think duck breast with miso-glazed scallops, or a trio of beef fillet, oxtail and cheeks–garnished with a velvety sauce of expensive black truffle. Plating, rather like the décor, is restrained and elegant rather than loud and flashy.
Happily, the service is as outstanding as the food and the highly trained waiters are always on hand to explain the somewhat complex dishes. As you’d expect for a high-caliber restaurant in the Cape’s oldest winelands, the wine list is comprehensive and the affable manager/sommelier is only too happy to recommend pairings.
All of which make La Colombe a restaurant any self-respecting gourmand simply must add to their hit list. The cooking is assured and inventive with bold flavors and careful presentation, rounded off with an elegantly subdued setting and superb service. The only caveat? Book in advance… during the summer months, the waiting list for a table can stretch to weeks.