The Test Kitchen,
The Test Kitchen,
In name alone, The Test Kitchen is a barometer for the type of experience you have in the cozy, 2 room foodie-haven nestled in the corner of an old biscuit factory.
"We’re trying to take food and flavor as far as we can. Thinking outside of the box. It’s all playful food with no boundaries," says chef Luke Dale Roberts. The fearless approach to food has made the restaurant a consistent fixture on the world’s best list of places to eat.
On a recent visit to Cape Town we stopped by The Test Kitchen and were lucky enough to be invited to join the team for staff meal and chat with the chefs about their restaurant and how they feed the team before service begins.
DARK + LIGHT
What started as one room has morphed into separate “light” and “dark” rooms, with tasting menus designed to be eaten in the different spaces. It’s multi-sensory so that the guests experience different levels of intimacy with the food, diners, and staff. Some of the courses are meant to be eaten with your hands. There may be crystal and white table cloths, but this is definitely a cheeky expression of fine dining.
The most important people you’re going to feed each day are the people you work with. It will stick with you if you’re being fed a good meal on white table linens, or know that the kitchen has made a special dessert with berries they foraged themselves. It’s always about ‘what can we do to make this a better place for them?’ It’s trying to get as best we can to Utopia.
THE GRAND MEAL
Between meat-free Tuesdays, lamb Wednesdays, and duck leg Thursdays, everyone gets the most excited for Saturday when we really treat ourselves to the “grand meal.” All of the sections will come together to make 2 or 3 courses and they swap stations to keep it creative. On Saturdays, you get a little surprise and it’s always delicious, like chocolate soufflé or rum raisin ice cream. The chef who makes the bread will always bake something totally unique to start off the meal. This is the day the front of house and kitchen take an extended 45 minutes to eat outside at a long table together to celebrate making it through the week.
FRIDAY PIE DAY
Pie Day came to be because of a massive f*ck up from the chef in charge of staff meal. He was making duck legs but ended up cooking them way too long so they tasted like car tire. There was no way we were going to serve it to everyone so he ended up running to the petrol station for pies before service started. Now we’ve made it a tradition to make pies for staff meals every Friday. It’s a popular day.
Beer battered hake with mushy peas and chips
Find them here!