September 9, 2020

It may be Spring outside, but at La Colombe it’s Winter – and special

Cape Town restaurant



When I was 10 years old a girl walked into the bicycle shed at my new school, and showed her friends the watch she has been given for her birthday. I too had turned 10 that day, and been given a watch, so the ice was broken…we then discovered that our mothers gave birth to us in neighbouring labour wards, five minutes apart. Push fast forward to when I was registering for culinary studies. I walked up to the same girl and said, “You were given a watch for your 10th birthday, you’re Wendy,” and we have been friends ever since.


Every year we celebrate our twin status with a lunch. This March I was travelling as usual prior to lockdown (yes, that’s what gourmet travel writers do, sigh…), so we never managed it. Taking advantage of the wonderful Winter special at La Colombe seemed like the lift that we this year, deserved. It was a virgin visit for my friend, which reminded me of the value and joy of seeing something through someone else’s eyes, for the first time. She appreciated every nuance of the occasion, from anticipation to arrival when we popped the first morsel into our mouths. I, an annual visitor, felt like I had been welcomed home.

Signing the register with our dates of birth, in March, and being spoilt with a birthday greeting and box of chocolates, made us feel like imposters, but we got over it! Our waitress, Melissa, has perfected the art of projecting her voice through a mask, so led us through the adventure with aplomb.  A bit out of practice, we knew we were not up for the wine pairing, so were advised to have the Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir 2018 as our worthy companion.

Plated restaurants in Cape Town


There were many supreme stand-outs, for me the piquant lamb roti being the first. The blackened passion fruit filled with a mussel cream, brought back memories of my man declaring it his dish of the review season, last year. I relished the finesse of the Kerala-style quail with prawn and coriander, and registered surprise when the line fish with lemongrass and coconut arrived. I was told that this additional course had slipped in with compliments of the chef. All compliments to the chefs – it was stellar. The cheese chest was another bonus, devoured before the subtle yet stunning dessert of strawberry with cashew and rose.

The touches of theatrical presentation were applauded with delight, and four hours later the celebration ended, exactly six months after our birthdays! It was a treat to catch up with head chef James Gaag, celebrating his newborn son’s first month in their family. Whilst he might miss (in addition to sleep!) the lack of white linen, the lengthy dinner service to abide by a curfew, and fewer tableside interactions, for the uninitiated, three-plated La Colombe is still worthy of a flight. Full marks in every way.


The special of nine courses at R595 (with beverage flight of R490) and the Chef’s lunch menu at R745 (with beverage flight of R600), is on until the end of September. Dinner starts at 5.30pm, at R695 for reduced menu and R895 for the full menu. Book through Dineplan.


While you are settling on a date to book and visit this restaurant, head over to our Spring Gourmet Guide online magazine to get your hands on chef proprietor Scot Kirton’s recipe for smoked snoek and pickled prawn toast.

Gourmet Guide

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