Twice in a week to breathe in the glorious greenery and views of Constantia, what a privilege. My first treat was lunch at two-plated Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia. A fleeting hello to a very busy co-owner and chef Liam Tomlin, who has recently partnered with Neil Jewell to open Jewell’s on the Spice Route, was a delightful start. A quick chat with head chef and co-owner Ivor Jones before he was pulled into the kitchen to create perfection, was a delight. Here is a passionate, playful chef who is having loads of fun whilst creating first-class, inventive cuisine.
Taking a few moments to enjoy the view is essential, and to watch the chefs prior to a very busy, orchestrated service, snipping herbs in the garden. The magic recipe of all Chefs Warehouses is ‘tapas for two’, a series of globally-inspired small dishes of indigenous ingredients. They come out of the open kitchen quickly, and if you want this joy to last forever, simply say so. Varied textures and tastes expand with every mouthful of the clean, simple dishes balanced into three waves. Explanations from well-informed, eloquent waitrons ensure that you manage each wave according to flavour intensity.
Your worldwide voyage of discovery may start in Morocco and take you to Mexico, stopping in south-east Asia and India along the way. Make sure you get there before Ivor whips his wonder of pressed venison tartare, with shaved shiitake mushrooms, wild rosemary, bay leaf, truffle butter, bramble jelly and house brioche off the menu. The two ‘middle’ courses are always vegetarian, often a favourite like the Jerusalem artichoke crispy cream served on a bed of pine needles, with pine-needle salt.
Having insisted on only one dessert to share, two arrived. Chefs are creative and clever, but perhaps cannot count! Just as well – we savoured each fragrant note of the wild honey and lavender cream with honeycomb. A newer dessert on the menu, the lemon panna cotta with granadilla jelly and lychee sorbet was equally smooth and creamy with the perfect level of sweetness.