La Colombe 2019 Spring Menu Revisited and Reinvigorated

Words: Crush | Photography: Andrea van der Spuy

A short winter break for the head chefs of the La Colombe Group does not mean slowing down or time off, but rather a culinary trip to experience some of the greatest food in the world. The team recently visited food meccas such as Copenhagen, Mexico, America, India and Tokyo, bringing back a smorgasbord of inspiration for the La Colombe 2019 spring menu.

La Colombe 2019 Spring Menu

La Colombe is akin to a contemporary enchanted garden – a world filled with imaginative flavours and textures, expert pairings, experimental thinking and world-class service. The 2019 spring chefs menu is a globally influenced journey consisting of eleven courses.

Pretty as a Picture

As a La Colombe diner, you are presented with plated dishes that are like windows into playful, nature-inspired worlds. These ‘worlds’ are made up of bursts of green foliage, miniature stone gardens, seashells, the prettiest of flowers and delicate nests that each serve as the stage for the team to deliver their out-of-this-world food.

These imaginative scenes transform the dining experience into something quite magical.

The spring menu is a perfect balance between an interactive culinary journey and the enjoyment of one of the most delicious menus in the world.

A Gateway to the Garden

Upon entering the restaurant, we were warmly welcomed and encouraged to explore a magical ‘forest log’ filled with green plants, brightly coloured flowers with even the odd gnome and fairy too.

Nestled in-between are edible balls – citrus filled spheres encased in a delicate white chocolate shell – an explosion of flavour that prepares the palate and sets the tone for the rest of the meal. This enchanted setting is the entrance to the magical world of La Colombe.

La Colombe 2019 spring menu

The La Colombe table is a blank canvas for that tasting journey that transports the diner through chef James Gaag’s imaginative world of flavour, fragrance and texture.

James tells us, “When it comes to food, I believe that flavour comes first! Food needs to be immediately delicious and inviting, not overthought, overworked or over complicated. Flavour is paramount and key in making great food and also in running a great kitchen. Making it look pretty is where we get to have a bit of fun as a chef, and yes, we eat with our eyes first, but ultimately flavour is what makes the guests come back.”

Getting Started

The journey begins with a dish that consists of 3 ‘snacks’ delivered to the table in a plated garden. Marlin tataki presented on top of burnt lime halves, a delicate lamb roti filled with exotic flavours and a rich Springbok, mushroom and liver parfait.

La Colombe 2019 spring menu

The ‘snacks’ are served with a kitchen cocktail consisting of a fresh, foam-topped margarita using mezcal (agave-based spirit, similar to tequila). Exhilarating, refreshing and cleansing.

Daily Bread

The bread course is pure flavour-filled indulgence, so delicious that it needs to be celebrated as a highlight on the menu. A sweet potato, sourdough pain d’epi (French baguette formed to look like a stalk of wheat) is served with a dipping bowl of warmed Waygu drippings and bone marrow, combined with the textures and flavours of dukkah. Final preparations for this mouth-watering dish are cooked at your table by one of the chefs.

This course is cleverly paired with local Franschhoek Beer Company’s elegant La Saison – a Belgian style beer with notes of fruit that linger.

Drink pairings with the chefs menu are not limited to wine – they are termed a beverage flight and consist of kitchen cocktails, wine and local craft beer.

A Twist on Old Favourites

A mussel curry encased in a burnt passion fruit shell was next on the menu. We delicately opened the shell with a small pair of scissors to reveal the curry inside. When spooning the curry out of the shell with a tiny spoon, you get the contrasting flavour of the fruit, along with the rich creaminess of the curry.

La Colombe 2019 spring menu

The signature dish Tuna ‘La Colombe’ still holds its place on the chef’s menu – admittedly it has a twist. It has evolved due to the recent culinary tour and now has strong influences from a certain region the chefs visited.

Part of the interaction of the evening is for guests to answer where the new inspiration for the dish came from. I think it best to leave all the details secret until you have cracked the famous tuna tin open for yourselves.

There is also a fun blind tasting element for the paired wine which gets the brain working along with the taste buds.

La Colombe 2019 spring menu

The Second Half

The naartjie palate cleanser is a tribute to the much loved, local fruit. A cocoa butter shell with naartjie sorbet inside is presented on a dramatic smoke erupting plate. A visual feast and a well-timed interlude from the complex flavours of the previous plates.

The second half of the menu starts with Thai Coconut Linefish. Moonfish is cooked rare with octopus and yakitori grilled sweetcorn, with flavours of cashew, lime, pickled ginger and coriander. Excellently paired with Creation’s ‘The Art of Chardonnay’ 2017.

This is followed by a beautiful lamb dish main and a selection of La Colombe cheeses, which were served with house-made crackers.

La Colombe 2019 spring menu

Sweet Tonka & Speckled Eggs

The savoury cheese dish is followed shortly by an outstanding banana, hazelnut and tonka bean dessert filled with heavenly sweetness and textures –  the banana is truly celebrated on this plate.

A final enchanted petit four-course followed with La Colombe’s version of a speckled egg, a cashew and salted caramel and a rooibos macaron.

The La Colombe Chefs Menu is a journey of flavour, of visual delight and perfect service.

Flavour is at the core of everything and is the inspiration behind all of the exceptional elements that go into this magical culinary journey.

The La Colombe 2019 Spring Menu

From 1 September until 30 November 2019

Chefs Menu – R1495 with beverage flight – add R995 | Spring Lunch Special – R 545 Per Person | 7 Courses  – Add beverage flight R480 p.p.

Open Monday to Sunday including public holidays.

Silvermist Wine Estate, Main Road, Constantia Nek, Cape Town

*Prices are correct at the time of going to press. | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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