Bells, whistles, glitz and glam are in short supply at La Colombe, but this fine-dining stalwart in the Constantia winelands continues to impress.
Set on the historic Uitsig estate in Constantia, La Colombe’s whitewashed walls are as simple and unadorned as the uncomplicated interior of this upmarket eatery.
There’s no attempt to impress (or distract) with plush furnishings, and the upmarket bistro style of unfussy table settings and stark white tablecloths ensure there’s little to distract you from the plate.
Since taking over the reins from his predecessor Luke Dale-Roberts, Executive Chef Scot Kirton has gradually evolved the menu while adding his own signature to the small chalkboard selection.
Expect five or six options for each course, with most dishes retaining the Asian-influenced French cuisine that La Colombe is famous for. Not that this is (con)fusion cooking: the flavours and ingredients are bold, yet don’t fight for your attention in a cacophony of tastes.
For starters the Asian duck breast and miso-glazed pan-seared scallops was outstanding, interspersed with an intense pureé of miso and corn, while a somewhat-deconstructed Beetroot cannelloni of goat’s cheese pannacotta and walnut purée had the vegetarian at the table smiling.
Between courses sorbets are taken seriously, as the mains are no less adventurous. The trio of beef includes fillet, oxtail and cheek, with a velvety sauce of black truffle and cracked black pepper café au lait making for a memorable dish. The ‘Lamb La Colombe’ gets a similar treatment, offering sous-vide loin, braised neck and sweetbreads.
If you don’t have space for dessert – though you’d be fool to miss the Chocolate cremeux made with Valrhona – there’s a wonderful selection of friandises served complimentary with your coffee.
Service here is some of the best in the city, with well-trained waiters on hand to re-explain the chalkboard menu when needed, and the delightful manager always in attendance.
La Colombe is that most wonderful of things: a restaurant that has outgrown the insecurities of youth and evolved gently into one of the finest eateries in the country.
This is inspired and accomplished cooking without the need for parlour tricks, so forget about dining here to see and bee seen. La Colombe, happily, is all about the food.
La Colombe, Constantia Uitsig wine estate, Spaanschemat Road, Constantia
021 794 2390
Starters R95-R185; Mains R130-R275; Desserts R55-R95.
*Review unannounced and paid for in full.