Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
4 minute read
4 Jul 2022
4:27 pm

Restaurant review: Lunch at La Colombe is a truly spectacular experience

Sandisiwe Mbhele

Expect a gastronomic feast at La Colombe, a restaurant situated in Constantia, about a 20-25 minute drive from Cape Town central.

La Colombe interior. Picture credit: Andrea van der Spuy

There is something that has to be said when visiting the top-voted restaurant in the country, La Colombe. The magical parting words “food is our theatre” truly matched the experience. 

Situated in Constantia, about a 20-25 minute drive from Cape Town central, La Colombe is nestled in the heart of Silvermist.

La Colombe has been voted the Best Restaurant of the Year by the Luxe Restaurant Awards 2022. They also walked away with Wine Service of the Year award, led by the talented young head chef James Gaag. 

As we entered the restaurant, we knew we were going to get world-class service. The design and décor of the restaurant is minimalist and modern, with simple and detailed touches from the feathered gold cutlery labelled La Colombe. Reservations are key to experiencing this gastronomic feast. 

The view of the open mountains in La Colombe is breathtaking, and the restaurant is spacious and could be considered smaller compared to other establishments. 

La Colombe
La Colombe interior. Picture credit: Andrea van der Spuy

Our waiter was knowledgeable, friendly and quite hilarious as he took us through the menu options which included a vegetarian, reduced vegetarian, a chef’s experience menu and a reduced option as well.  

Celebrating a special occasion on the day, we chose the full chef’s experience. The wine list is extensive and the menus can be paired with the wines. Looking back, we probably should have chosen the wine pairings as that is the best way to do it. 

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All courses arrived with much awe and theatre with centerpieces and crafted artisanal cutlery to match the name of the dishes. 

It is a menu that takes you on a journey with inspirations of harvest, garden and nature. This is seen in the first dish, dove’s nest – a trio dish, delicious bread decorated with leaves and herbs, to start us off.

The dove’s nest. Picture: Lisa Daubermann

As it was a Malay-style snoek pate with delicious sweet potato bread and beetroot tartare, every mouthful was nostalgic, as the Malay snoek had the familiar flavours and spices of many South African curries. The truffle cherry parfait had sweet and savoury flavour profiles.

Truffled cherry parfait. Picture credit: Lisa Daubermann

The third – smoked tomato and aubergine with pine nut is a replica of the actual fruit/veg, the aioli or sauce is acidic but balanced. If you are not a fan of tomato, it’s best to stay away from this dish. 

The fourth course, the tom yum, is a mussel soup inspired by Thailand but much more elevated as it was served from the shell of a passion fruit, with the soup filled inside. The skin of the passion fruit is burnt to give a charcoaled appearance of a space egg shell from a sci-fi movie. The tom yum was bursting with flavour, as the broth was full-bodied.  

The ambience in the room is reserved and light, with classical music background. Other standout dishes included The tuna La Colombe, which is a gem. As the name suggests it comes in a branded La Colombe ti, the dish is delicate, light and tasty. 

A lunch at La Colombe will probably be your longest and fullest. So, when the Alaskan crab quail and the grass-feed beef came, courses six and seven, I had to move around to find some space in my stomach. It is not that the dishes are large, they do suffice for the amount of food you will go through. It’s probably why it’s necessary for a palette cleanser, which is a pineapple, rum, strawberry, mint and apple sorbet, to be served after the quail.

Desserts are usually showstoppers and so was their rose, coconut and cashew foam. The panna cotta topped on a rose was stunning. Be careful when you bite into it, a small mouthful is enough otherwise you end up biting into the rose and there is a bit of a display of the dessert coming together which beautifully added to the experience. 

Silvermist Honey. Picture: Daubermann

The second dessert, a mandarin, jivara and pistachio ice cream was also a hit. Pistachio ice cream seems to be on-trend in many restaurants. The ice cream paired with the brownie clusters was divine.

Finishing off with silvermist honey, a trio of sweet treats that included lemon meringue, eclairs and chocolate, our dining experience couldn’t have ended on a sweeter note.

La Colombe lived up to our expectations and more, and it’s definitely worth a second, third and hundredth visit.