Exceptional flair and gutsy innovation produce eclectic brilliance
British-born Luke Dale-Roberts has been making waves way beyond the shores of his adopted homeland of South Africa for some years, having featured in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants during his time at La Colombe. But it’s since the launch of his Test Kitchen in shabby-chic Woodstock just over three years ago that he has really started to carve out his own niche. Named the One To Watch last year, The Test Kitchen has seen the chef’s unique culinary style brings together a mix of techniques and flavours inspired and influenced by his stint at Bali Sugar, one of London’s first fusion restaurants, as well as his extensive travels in Asia.
Located within The Old Biscuit Mill, a creative hub of shops and galleries, The Test Kitchen is a workshop of the culinary arts where Dale-Roberts and his team produce colourful plates of delicious, exhilarating food. Much of it is presented in original, often theatrical ways, with hand-made plates, bowls and boards complementing the dishes.
Take his ‘TK Concrete Ball’ for instance, which sees Mozambican langoustine cooked inside a concrete ball at the table over burning star anise before being served with herbed Nicola potato and mussel salad, scallops and Spanish cucumber medley and champagne velouté. It takes exceptional skill to bring such an eclectic mix of ingredients together in harmony but Dale-Roberts achieves it with confidence and flair.
The Test Kitchen offers five- and nine-course tasting menus at dinner as well as a five-course and à la carte menu at lunch, all accompanied by accomplished wine flights, which mainly draw on South African varieties.