Tokara Restaurant unveils new summer menu

The Cape Winelands has finally shedded its wet winter coat, and this summer Tokara restaurant, perched atop the winding Helshoogte Pass outside Stellenbosch will be the place to go for culinary magic.

Chef Richard Carstens’s new summer menu dazzles with fresh combinations of seasonal ingredients, transformed into delicious, thought-provoking and impressive dishes through his technical mastery. “Being situated on a working wine farm, I draw inspiration from the seasons, the alchemy of wine-making and how different flavours and intensities of taste and texture are overlayed. I create complexity from simplicity,” Carstens enthuses. And he is, indeed, a master when it comes to original dishes that excite the palate. Making the most of summer’s seasonal bounty are starters such as asparagus, pea mousse and goat’s cheese served with a yuzu and buttermilk dressing; or broccoli with parmesan fondue and marinated artichokes. For mains, fresh line fish is always on offer, and the beef fillet with confit potatoes is sure to be a firm favourite – the lemon-glazed mushrooms adding a light, summery tang to the dish.

Evident on the menu is a number of dishes that are subtly spiced and influenced by Cape Malay, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Richard notes: “Spice has always been part of our culinary history and diverse culture. I enjoy exploring it. It gives our cuisine a unique identity.” On the aromatic front, line fish with turmeric rice and Cape Malay yoghurt sauce share space with duck served with sushi rice, Szechuan cucumber, pak choi and litchi. Even local springbok has been given a twist with the addition of carrot and ginger purée, salted apricots and Japanese curry sauce.

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As always, desserts are a highlight at Tokara: diners can choose from chocolate pavé with ginger ice cream, fig leaf panna cotta, lemon parfait or sumac ice cream with candied carrot and confit orange. All plated with Richard’s signature artistry, and creating a decadent end to a stellar meal.

New sous chef Makhi Maki has joined Richard in the kitchen. A graduate of The Culinary Academy, he has worked at top establishments such as Jardine and The Showroom in Cape Town and North Island Resort in the Seychelles. His previous position as executive head chef at Mont Rochelle instilled a passion for the Cape Winelands in him, which will now flourish under Richard’s guidance. Daily specials build on seasonal and local fresh ingredients, always with a surprise for the diner’s palate. Along with stellar service and an ever-evolving wine selection, the Tokara experience will always be a memorable one.

There’s also the notable addition of a new summer deck from which guests can enjoy watching the sun set behind Table Mountain in the distance while enjoying an apéritif. And diners are sure to linger here on couches even as the sun goes down.

The summer menu will be available from November 1st until end of April 2015.

Tokara Restaurant is situated at the top of the Helshoogte Pass, R310, Stellenbosch. Tokara Restaurant is open for lunch Tuesdays to Sundays and for dinner Tuesdays to Saturdays. Kindly note that Tokara restaurant is a non- smoking venue.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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