The Test Kitchen has been the No 1 ranked restaurant in South Africa for a few years now (and also has significant global attention). Located at The Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town, the restaurant itself is rather relaxed; with an open kitchen where the patrons can see the chefs working their magic. The restaurant has a long waiting list - I booked in March for an August date - and it was definitely worth the wait.
We had the tasting menu, lasting approximately 3 hours. The food was perhaps a bit too slow paced - but otherwise the service was excellent. However, I would not say that it was my best fine dining experience. A corporate dinner at the 2-Michellin starred Dolder Grand in Zurich was amazing in its oppulence, setting and off course its food and I would rate Hartford House as the best fine dining experience (despite its colonial setting). That said, the Springbok Rose (main course at Test Kitchen on Saturday) is probably the best dish I have had.
Overall, the Test Kitchen is definitely worth getting a reservation for. The prices are fairly reasonable (although the waiting time should definitely be used to save up). However, I don't know if I would specifically plan another trip around going to the Test Kitchen (although the past weekend was a long weekend, hence I targeted this specific date). It's a great experience - but not necessarily a repeat one.
The bread was fresh out of the oven - with an interesting variety. The pie like one was definitely the most praised.
The first appetiser
The second appetiser - Tuna and Cabbage 3 ways - maybe the best cabbage dish I have ever had?
The pickled fish starter was amazing - my second favourite of the day. Layered with a variety of fish, it was somewhat like a sashimi course.
My second course was guinea fowl and foie gras. I wasn't as enthusiastic as the rest of the table; who raved about the scallop and mirin tea (below).
The third course was the choice between the line fish and the pork belly. The pork belly was amazing.
There was a variety in the main courses. The Springbok Rose (above), was by far my best dish of the day - in terms of both food and presentation. M raved about the parsnips in the vegetarian mains although the lamb (below) didn't get too many wild adulations.
The meal concluded with two deserts - Tropical (above) had a fruity theme, while the Milk Stout Sponge was more cake and pastry. They were both great tasting deserts - but I found both to be quite disjointed, especially the Milk Stout Sponge.