Winter Menu Part II: Tokara

I haven’t eaten at Tokara Restaurant since Etienne Bonthuys’ departure. It’s a shame. With Chef Richard Carstens at the helm it’s as good as ever. Different. But excellent. I had suspicions of what to expect: Carstens does molecular gastronomy like no other South African chef. It may not be everybody’s cup of tea (and I have to admit that it’s not my first choice of food genre), but I would definitely eat at Tokara at least four times a year – to experience each of the seasonal menus.

For starters I had the duck liver parfait with hibiscus, beetroot streusel, pistachio and rocket. It was ethereally smooth and served with crisp little toasts. An astonishingly vibrant plate of food sprinkled with edible dust (so the rage now in Europe and the States).

Mains was teriyaki beef fillet cooked to medium-rare perfection (pink, but not bloody) with lemon-glazed shimeji mushrooms (my favourite), a carrot and ginger puree, confit potato and a ‘deluxe’ miso sauce. Need I say more?

In between all this, Carstens spoilt us with an amuse, appetizers and palate cleansers of every shape, form and texture. So by the time we got to the dessert menu it was a challenge to think beyond the waistline. My friend and I settled on a chocolate chiboust with ice cream, cremeaux, hazelnut daquise and orange and coffee sabayon (read: chocolate pastry cream with ice cream, hazelnut-meringue and choc-orange custard)

AND lemon and mascarpone mousse with white chocolate sorbet, meringue and almond financier (a tiny, light sponge) to share.

I love the kitchen with the huge glass window and the views from the restaurant are sensational sweeping vistas over the Stellenbosch vineyards towards Cape Town.

You can expect to pay between R60 and R80 for a starter with mains beginning at around R110 and a plate of dessert for an average R50.

For bookings call Tokara Restaurant on 021 885 2550.

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