It had been a while since I ate at Tokara, so last weeks lunch was really special. Luckily I had sampled a few of Richard Carstens dishes recently so I knew I was in for a treat.

I was invited to sample the winter menu, but landed up sampling a range of exquisite and interesting dishes. I’m a big fan of Richards work. He is experimental and playful, whilst always paying attention to flavour and texture. His food really interests me and I so enjoy talking to him about the how and why of his cooking.

This is what we ate. You will see what I mean.

Sorrel dome, caviar, crème fraîche, jalapeno,
celery and butternut

Prawn ravioli, sole goujons, mussel veloute,
tomatoes and chervil

Smoked snoek ravioli, mousse, almond crème, butternut
velouté, apple & brussel sprouts

Baked Alaska of rainbow trout, cucumber, citrus salsa,
smoked salmon ice cream, ginger, soya and mirin

Dry-aged roast carrot, gorgonzola, yoghurt, curry oil,
orange, macadamia, white chocolate and herbs

Turnip, pear, ponzu, celery, spinach, mozzarella cream,
pumpkin seeds, garlic & bonito

Chicken, tomato, garlic, parmesan velouté, gnocchi, capers
& olives

Duck, jasmine pears, sweet potato puree, potato
croquettes and cumin gastrique

Japanese cheese cake, pumpkin, wasabi, apricot, almond
and vanilla ice cream

Koeksister ice cream, almond parfait, malva pudding &

This was a truly superb lunch.

In addition to the fabulous winter special on at Tokara, from May to October, a series of themed evenings will take diners on a culinary journey: from the Grand Masters in May, where chefs like Brillat-Savarin, Carême, and Escoffier will be heralded; to Nouvelle Masters starring in June – Bocuse, Blanc and the Troisgros brothers are some of the inspiring chefs here.

Then on to the New British Wave in July featuring Roux, Koffman, Marco Pierre White and Raymond Blanc followed by the New World chefs in August: Keller, Nobu, Trotter, Perry and Wakuda will be in the limelight. 

For September the theme is Modernist, featuring Adria, Bras, Gagnaire and Atala, while October sees a Sommelier “shoot-out”, where three leading sommeliers will compete to make the perfect wine pairing for a menu prepared by Richard. Evenings are priced at R400 per person for five-courses. 

With front-of-house triumvirate of Wilhelm Kühn (owner operator), Johan Terblanche (restaurant manager) and Jaap-Henk Koelewijn (sommelier) keeping things running smoothly, a dining experience at Tokara Restaurant is a splendid affair, and this winter will be no exception.

Tokara Restaurant is situated at the top of the Helshoogte Pass, R310, Stellenbosch. For reservations call 021 885 2550; e-mail or visit 

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.


  1. Such stunning pictures Sam. I would have loved to have been there – the food looks phenomenal!

  2. Went there in December. Stunning view, mind blowing food and excellent company. Richard and his team do things with food that should be illegal – it is that good. Will next time not say no to dessert. The Tokara experience was right up there with our visit to Tickets.

  3. Hello Sam – the food is so creative!! Did you have a fav. dish? Your photographs and descriptions were awesome, as usual. Will visit it when I’m in Cape Town again!

  4. Sam

    Hi Nadia, it was such an interesting meal and I enjoyed it all. I loved the baked alaska (very interesting flavour and textures with fish), the duck was delicious and a generous portion and the prawn ravioli was amazing too. The restaurant is in such a beautiful location.

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