Wine Dine and Play: La Colombe

La Colombe

An Unforgettable Eclectic Journey Of South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa
Cuisine Style: French, Cape Malay
Average Price: $$$
Overall Rating: 5/5
Dined in: December 2013
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:

La Colombe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Executive Chef:
James Gaag 

Chef Proprietor:
Scot Kirton

The La Colombe restaurant sits towards the back of a lavishly beautiful wine estate with fantastic views of the mountains, and rolling grapevine hills around it. At the time of my visit, they were located on an estate called Constantia Uitsig, and the wine pairings for the dinner that you will see as part of this review were paired with the La Colombe tasting menus. The La Colombe restaurant moved from Uitsig to the Silvermist Mountain Lodge and Wine Estate in 2014, as Uitsig Estate was sold to a private buyer and is now the Open Door Restaurant

Picture courtesy of Constantia

It had been a very interesting second day in Cape Town, starting on day one by eating at Aubergine Restaurant downtown, a prior 100 top restaurants of the world winner, and now it was time to eat at another top 100, only this time, I was in Constantia, a wine region just south of Cape Town, on a vineyard, and with some friends, enjoyed another fantastic meal representing South Africa; La Colombe. Chef Scot Kirton and crew took my friends and me on a culinary journey through an inspired French, Asian, and African fusion menu. Rated # 91 on the top 100 list in Elite Travelers  Magazine (2013), La Colombe was a pleasant ending to a very interesting day, that began with cancellations and diversions to the tourist interests I wanted to see thanks to Mother Nature. Table Mountain closed because of high winds, and Hout Bay boat tours canceled because of high seas, and the Chapman’s Peak which I was looking forward to traveling on was closed because of a rock slide caused by a storm.  Thank god for Constantia Wine, and La Colombe Restaurant coming to the rescue for me to end the day just right.


    • Gourmand Lunch Menu
    • Vegetarian Lunch
    • Gourmand Dinner Menu
    • Vegetarian Dinner

La Colombe is rated as one of Cape Town’s and South Africa’s most well-loved and awarded restaurants, achieving 12th place in the San Pellegrino 50 Best Restaurants of the World Awards 2010. Winner of both Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year in the Prudential Eat Out Awards 2008, and again honored with the Restaurant of the Year title in 2009, La Colombe has also achieved three-star ratings in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 issue of the Rossouw’s Restaurants guide. As of 2017 when this review was updated, their accolades include the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards (73rd position), TripAdvisor Top 10 Fine Dining restaurants in the world (7th position), Condé Nast House & Garden Gourmet Awards (Best Tasting Menu), and Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant award. They feature an eclectic contemporary French-meets-Asian fine dining tasting menu. Scot Kirton was appointed as Executive Chef of La Colombe in September 2010.  With only 3 South African restaurants achieving a Top 100 rank in the world in 2011, the recent achievement is a tremendous feat. He says, “Every dish can always be improved. The freshest seasonal produce, uncomplicated clean flavors and classical elegance are the essences of my inspiration and passion for food.”

I did my research and took into account some recommendations from a few South African friends I worked with while in Afghanistan. My original reservation was for one, until about three days before I traveled to South Africa, I had a layover at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam and started a conversation with an English couple that was on their way to Cape Town on Vacation. I kept in contact and was able to arrange a get-together, and La Colombe was able to increase my reservation to accommodate my two new friends, Peter and Sally. 

Before my reservation, I had done a tasting at the Constantia Uitsig (now Open Door restaurant) along the Constantia Wine Route, with other stops at Eagles Nest, Constantia Glen, Groot Constantia, and Steenberg Wineries. I arrived at the restaurant early and had a few drinks at the bar until my friends arrived. We sat, and enjoyed a little conversation while still and sparkling water was brought to the table along with a bread starter combination of sourdough and rosemary bread and an interesting chutney spread with olive tapenade, and North African spices (Ras elHanout).
Bread starter

Our main server Kyle introduced himself at this time and placed a large chalkboard on a stand next to the table listing menu items and specials. He went over each one in full detail including spices, infusions, and mentioned possible allergies. When I had originally reserved at the restaurant, I had wanted the tasting menu, but with two friends joining me, the restaurants only clause to the tasting menu was that the entire table has it. When Kyle was finished he left the board in place for us to review. In the end, we settled on a four-course meal consisting of two starter courses each, entrée, and dessert. We also mix and match the tasting menu items with the regular menu, so in a way, it was the best of both worlds.
Chalkboard menu

After placing our orders, Kyle and the crew of front of house servers, all helping one another, delivered our Amuse course of an Asian fused avocado and tomato dish, giving us a good representation of what was to come.


The first course was presented with wines that we had the Sommelier pick for us based on our food order. Sally started with the scallops, mussels, and sweetbreads dish pan seared with crisp veal sweetbread, lemongrass and cauliflower puree, mixed in a pea-lime and tomato vierge, topped with a smoked mussel velouté, and pork crackling. The wine served with her course was the Constantia Uitsig Semillion 2011, which she drank with both her first and second course. According to the winemakers tasting notes, the nose was intense, with upfront aromas of nectarines and citrus fruits. Subtle wood spice flavors, showing an exceptional balance of fruit and oak with a long, lingering finish.
Scallops, mussels, and sweetbreads

Peter started with the Champagne poached oyster with a glass of the Constantia Uitsig 2012 Reserve Chardonnay. This un-wooded Chardonnay shows complex aromas and flavors of white fruits and pears according to the winemaker and a beautiful zest and nuttiness on the palate. The wine has a soft tannin structure with the perfect balance between acid and fruit with a long, lingering finish. The oysters were wild west-coast that looked like California kumamotos, but were most likely Crassostrea Gigas oysters, from either Algoa Bay, Saldanha Bay, or Alexander Bay. Peter’s oysters were also poached in a Champagne velouté.
Champagne poached oyster

Finishing up the first course, I had the Ballotine of foie gras of a confit duck terrine, cashew and ginger puree, fermented strawberry, rum-braised pineapple, and cashew pieces, topped with shaved ginger, strawberry, and pistachio crumble and then garnish with a honey-glazed brioche and micro greens. The wine presented to me was the Constantia Uitsig Muscat d'Alexandrie, (N/V). The Muscadel finesse and a particularly pure, floral sort of grapiness very typical of Muscat character according to the winemaker. This dessert wine is soft on the palate with a lingering aftertaste, well-balanced acid, and integration of fruit and wood.

Foie gras

For the second course, Sally had the tomato and basil dish, which had the same characteristics of a Caprese Salad, except this was a gazpacho with an organic baby tomato salad, cucumber and lemongrass jellies, buffalo mozzarella, basil mousse, and a Greek pastry kataifi which is similar to a baklava crust. This was a very interesting dish, like I mentioned earlier, reminding me of a Caprese Salad, except plated as a half salad, with a chilled soup, so presentation wise it was wonderful, but Sally mentioned that she could not taste any buffalo mozzarella. I had a taste and agreed. In 2002 I spent some time in Naples, Italy the home or capital of Bufala Mozzarella, so I really enjoyed it when I had it, but Sally was right, no taste of this strong cheese.

Tomato and basil

Peter had the yellowfin tuna seared with miso and teriyaki, sesame dust, sitting on some black garlic aioli, wakame, coconut, and quinoa crisps, with a mild green curry emulsion. Included in the presentation were pickled cabbage and daikon radish, with a pomegranate reduction. Peter had a glass of the Constantia Uitsig 2012 ‘Constantia’ White Blend, a 60% Semillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc. Intense, complex flavors of nectarine and dried apricot with hints of lime and minerality according to the tasting notes of the winemaker. The wine has an elegant balance between fruit and subtle wood integration with a long, lingering finish.

Yellowfin tuna

To complete the second course I had the Springbok tataki, which consisted of a smoked antelope-gazelle prepared in a quick sear Japanese style marinade called tataki, with a duck liver parfait, variations of beetroot, raspberries, Glühwein gel, cocoa nib crumble, shaved chestnuts, and a blackberry dressing. My wine selection was the first from a vineyard outside of Uitsig, a 2012 Chrystallum ‘Peter Max’ Pinot Noir. A luscious and intense wine according to the winemakers tasting notes page, with an incredible expression of pure Pinot fruit. Loaded with sweet strawberry, blueberry and cassis while the complex savory elements back this fruit up with spice, forest floor and a touch of smoky oak.

Two courses down with two more to go. At this time the Sous Chef James Gaag came out to our table and asked how we were, and chatted for a short time. Kyle and team presented our intermezzo palate cleanser of iced smoothies, Sally and I had the apple, and Peter had the watermelon.

The main event was upon us, and so far it had been a wonderful evening with great service, food, and most important conversation with friends. But now it was time for more food. Sally had the lamb ‘La Colombe’ which was a pan-fried loin of farm-raised South African Karoo lamb, with a braised neck of spring roll and lamb crépinette, smoked tomato puree salsa verde, warm salad of fennel and asparagus, ragout of Mediterranean vegetables, caramelized onion, pomme galette (crispy potato pancake), and a fennel jus. For the entrée course, all three of us shared a bottle of the Constantia Uitsig ‘Constantia’ Rall Red Blend 2011. This wine captures the essence of a cool climate blend with complex aromas of cigar box, spices, plums, cherries and herbaceous nous with hints of mint following through to the palate.
Karoo lamb

Peter had the suckling pig entrée, which consisted of the pressed belly, confit shoulder, seared fillet, pork crackling, and croquette (fried) of pulled pork. The dish was presented with some braised red cabbage, smoked mashed potatoes, creamed leeks, cauliflower puree, and a beetroot with rooibos jus.

Pig entrée

My entrée course was the Chalmar beef fillet, with a smoked pomme puree, celeriac and mushroom fricassee, red onion puree, braised beef cheek, and a black pepper café au lait sauce.

Chalmar beef filet

Chalmar beef with sauce

Just when we thought the night was almost coming to a close with our desserts on the way, we were presented with pre-dessert compliments of the Executive Chef Scot Kirton. The pre-dessert was a compressed strawberry with a quinoa grain, and bergamot, with a strawberry sorbet, and a strawberry quinoa cake, on a bergamot orange pudding, and fresh herbs and flowers.
compressed strawberry dessert

Finally, it came, the grand finale, the dessert course. Sally had the toasted apple cake, served with a caramel-apple puree, sous-vide (airtight) apple, pickled sultanas raisins, poached walnuts, oatmeal, and cinnamon ice cream sprinkled with fresh celery. Peter and I each had the selection of South African and international cheeses, served with fruit chutney, fresh sliced apple, and an assortment of bread. With the dessert, we had our final wine of the evening, and the second from outside the Uitsig estate called the Groot Constantia Cape Ruby 2011, A medium to full bodied wine with soft fruit tannins and a lingering finish. Ruby is a Port-style according to the winemaker, which has spent some time in oak barrels and is usually younger than a classic vintage port. There is a wave of aromas, which follow through on to the palate. Prune plums, mulberries, blackcurrants, marzipan, raspberries and sultanas with an enchanting undertow of mint. A perfect balance on the rich and long, yet fresh aftertaste.
South African and international cheeses

The Regulatory Agency for all the wines we had tonight were through: SAWIS: The South African Wine Industry Information and Systems NPC.   

As we paid our bill, Kyle presented some petits fours to finish up the night. This would end up being one of the best food experiences of my entire South African trip.
Petit fours

Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.

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Final notes, review basics, observations and more pictures:

Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambiance, food quality, and wow factor. To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give La Colombe a 5 out of 5 stars, meaning that they not only exceeded my expectations and were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants, but they surpassed outstanding and were extraordinary.
Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings
Max Points Possible:
Total Points Awarded:
Total Points deducted:
Food quality
Plate presentation
Customer service
Alcohol and other beverages
Total regular points awarded
Total percentage Before Bonus


“Wow” factor BONUS
Total bonus percentage


Total percentage with a bonus for the final star rating


Stars Awarded (see chart below)
             0 - 5

**A full break down and explanation of the observations and point disbursement is available in the linked article above. To receive a detailed copy of your score, feel free to contact me at any time and I will provide it to you.**


Overall Star Rating:
5 of 5 Stars: 
98% Rating with a 3 point “wow” bonus
An Extraordinary Dining Experience
Wine rating:
5 of 10
Old World selections: 

New World selections: 
South Africa
Corkage fee’s:
Wine / Local sparkling wine - R 45
Imported Champagne - R 70
Restricted to one bottle per table of four guests
Restaurant style:
Semi-formal dining
Cuisine style:
AfricanCape Malay, French, Fusion
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Farm to Fork, Gluten Free, Grass Fed, Local, Low Carb, Non-GMO, Organic, Pescatarian, Sustainable, Vegetarian Options
Accepted, but not guaranteed
Dress code:
Semi-formal to Business casual attire
Gentleman – Dress Coats, Dinner Jackets, or Smart Business Attire
  Ladies – Semi Formals, Cocktail Dresses, or Formal Gowns
Child policy:

The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
Place for foodies, Lounge, Hotspot, Great bar, Great outdoor dining, Good for special occasions, Beautiful décor, Intimate, Classy, Upscale, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Valet or a Private lot
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Nonsmoking restaurant, and nonsmoking patio
Patio or terrace:

Food Prices 
(excludes, alcohol, taxes & 20% gratuity’s)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricey)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)

**Currencies reflect the world’s major travelers, restaurant, or wine connoisseur’s**

South African Rand (ZAR)
United States Dollar (USD)
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
European Union (EUR)

 Alcohol prices:

R 300.00 ZAR

La Colombe:

Silvermist Wine Estate 
Constantia Main Rd
Constantia, Cape Town, 7848

Contact Information: 
Restaurant website:
Maître d or host:
+27 21 795 0125
Online reservations
Email Contact:
Serving hours:
South Africa Standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC + 2:00)

Lunch: Mon-Sun
12:30 am - 2:00 pm
Dinner: Mon-Sun
7:00 pm - 8:45 pm

Social Media 
Facebook link                

The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with…

High-End Japanese Steakhouse
San Francisco, California, USA
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Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Other Pictures:

“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

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