Originally on the historic Constantia Uitsig wine estate, La Colombe has long featured in the top-10 restaurants in South Africa. For some reason I’d never been there…have no idea what caused this uncharacteristic behaviour! The estate was sold last year and the restaurant relocated under new ownership to the Silvermist wine estate at the top of Constantia Nek.
We visited only a few weeks after it opened with great anticipation. The building, which has the feel of a beach house on stilts, is new and looks out over the magnificent Constantia Valley. It’s incredibly peaceful and you can’t believe you’re actually anywhere near a city. One of Cape Town’s many charms, you’re never far away from a completely get-away-from-it-all spot.
Executive chef Scott Kirton produces magical dishes with a fusion of Asian and French flavours and top-quality South African ingredients. To start with we were served a complimentary amuse bouche. This arrived shortly after we sat down and ordered our drinks and before we were offered the menus. Such a great idea…to tuck into something delectable immediately and get you into the mood for what’s to come.
And this was a show-stopper. A board of beautiful bread arrives with a tin of tuna. Well, it looks like tinned tuna, but of course once you take the lid off the truth is revealed. Freshly caught, seared yellowfin tuna, ponzu, citrus, ginger and avocado. The most delicate of flavours and textures. A total delight.
The lunch menu offers a choice of four starters and four mains. I adore scallops which made my choice easy, for once! The miso-seared scallops came with Asian barbecue pork, cabbage and daikon kimchi, corn puree, lemongrass and ginger veloute, aubergine and crackling. Wow! Perfectly cooked, sweet, tender scallops, pork that melted in the mouth, delicate strips of the crispiest of crackling – even the corn tasted like someone had waved a magic wand at it and made it into super-delicious corn. Best starter I’ve had all year – my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
The hen’s egg came with kombu-cured Norwegian salmon, truffled cauliflower veloute, asparagus, peas, lemon and black forest ham. A plate of many spring colours with the freshest of vegetables, flavoursome egg, seriously good salmon…and that veloute!!
Before embarking on mains, a palate cleanser was served…with instructions. These pretty little balls of deliciousness must be carefully placed in the mouth and gently sucked upon – causing a zingy burst of citrus to explode in your mouth. Wonderfully cleansing and surprising.
The grass-fed aged beef came with smoked pomme puree, carrot and turnip puree, turnip marmalade and black pepper cafe au lait. Another work of art and the most flavoursome steak that elicited gasps of delight.
I was having a good day for ease of choice as another of my favourites was available as a main. Easy decision to order the butter-poached kingklip which came with creamed Brussel sprouts, spring vegetables and an apricot veloute. The most perfectly cooked, flaky kingklip in a heavenly sauce, scattered with beautifully sweet vegetables.
Well…that was some lunch! Portions are pretty substantial so we just couldn’t push ourselves to pudding, though the options sounded amazing.
New La Colombe is a dining experience to relish, something truly special. The people on the table next to us were celebrating a 90th birthday with style! Not that we need an excuse… the last thing we did before leaving was book a table for another lunch. Well I think La Colombe is a reason in itself to celebrate.
La Colombe is at Silvermist Mountain Lodge, Main Road, Constantia.