The Chefs Table
Oh for the love of food!
When you find something that not only meets your expectations, but completely surpasses them, then you know you have found love. Well, at least in this case, I am certain I have fallen in love with The Chefs Table in Umhlanga. I actually caught myself thinking, ‘I could live here’. And seriously, if you have seen it, or been there, you could honestly agree with me… Whats not to love?
Situated on Chartwell Drive in Umhlanga, you have a view of the restaurant studded street from the first floor. Foldable doors open to incorporate the balcony and bring the ocean breeze into the dining area. From the moment you step into the restaurant you are greeted by cheerful faces and a welcoming atmosphere. While being escorted to a table I glance across to the signature open plan kitchen where the Chefs are all industriously working on their artistic expression of their expression of food.
It is quite mesmerizing to be able to watch the preparation and process that goes into a meal. Being able to view this is part of the concept behind the restaurant in that you are included and enabled to see the process and if you choose to do so, ask questions. It is like being in the Masterchef kitchen for reals.
The menu at The Chefs Table changes on a daily basis according to what fresh ingredients are sourced. The restaurant caters for vegetarian and vegan options too, with each having their own menu and in doing so creating an extensive variety of food and ingredients. All the creations listed on the menu sound like they are worthy to be feasted on.
Starters for me is the Squash and Feta treviolli and arrives as beautiful little perfect parcels with shiitake mushrooms making it look like an entirely Instagrammable masterpiece. The flavour is a wonderful combination of slightly sweet squash and feta held together with the silky treviolli that somehow melts in your mouth while giving your tatebuds an opportunity to do a jig. The shiitake are pickled adding a little lift to the flavour profile that is unexpected and zesty.
It is great fun comparing notes on your choice of food with friends. Different flavours with unique lifts and spicy hints. I think that this is part of why visiting The Chefs Table is so much fun for anyone that considers themself a foodie or just a lover of eating delicious food.
For my Mains I scan the menu trying to make my mind up and eventually settle on the Mushroom Risotto. I never make this (this is considered the Masterchef death dish because it sends so many contestants home), so it is a real treat to be able to relish it.
The plate is placed in front of me and I am greeted by the wonderful rich, earthy smell of Truffle shavings. It makes me think of the smell of fresh rain on rich soil after a Summer storm, which just goes to show the power that food has to connect memories.
The mushrooms and truffle are an alluringly fragrant and umami flavour with shavings of a sharp cheese to add even more depth to the flavours. The textures of the al dente risotto and an almost meaty mushroom are an aromatic experience that create a hearty, satisfying dish. A dish that is full of flavour and comfort.
The decor at The Chefs Table lends itself to a jazzy, speak easy kind of ambience. The wooden tables and chairs are lined with studded booths in plush green and blue. The exposed ducting and piping is paired with living plants hanging amongst varying light fittings creating an ambient atmosphere. Open shelving in the bar highlights the drinks display and wine on offer, while the ‘hard tack’ liquor is in display cabinets behind panels of frosted glass and exposed beams.
One of the most eye catching murals is top lit on the wall as you enter. An Asian styled women looking down at the diners. It is simply beautiful and I am sure is the focus of many a photo and selfie as well as setting the tone for a great dining experience.
If you enjoy food, there is not one iota of doubt that this award winning eatery will charm the daylights out of you. Whether you decide you are in need of a delicious and decidedly different dining experience, or you just want to get out for an adventure, The Chefs Table is recognised for its innovative style and up and coming (award winning) chefs.
If you want to visit, they are located in the funky Chartwell Drive in Umhlanga. You can call them on 031 001 0200 or mail on firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to book to avoid disappointment.
It is well worth a drive and the superb experience that follows that you will not forget.
Until then… See you on the Road!