I was invited to TOKARA to sample a few dishes from Chef Carolize Coetzee’s new ingredient-driven spring menu. Carolize recently returned from a three-week stage at Cosme in New York (ranked 23rd in the world by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year). Carolize worked alongside Chef Daniela Soto-Innes at Cosme who was voted the 2019 World’s Best Female Chef, and was inspired by how she manages to present traditional Mexican produce, heirloom recipes and ancient techniques in a refined and modern context.
“We often tend to shy away from finding inspiration in revisiting our own culinary history and rather try to emulate what’s going on elsewhere in the world. As Daniela and her mentor Enrique Olvera remained steadfast in their pursuit of the essence of Mexican cookery, I’d like to remind our guests with each new menu of something they may have forgotten about our collective culinary memory.
“My aim is for my food to have a real sense of place and that our guests should leave with an indelible impression of our restaurant at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain. That impression should not only concern the food, wine, views and architecture, but the joy and enthusiasm of all the people cooking, serving and cleaning behind the scenes,” says Chef Carolize.
“Chef Daniela has a real connection with her staff from diverse backgrounds and a multitude of different countries. The Cosme culture has changed the way in which I see the industry. You can create your own ‘vibe’ and culture within a kitchen with joy and respect right at the core,” she explains.
Cooking from a young age with their mothers, sisters and grandmothers, and a love for cooking family recipes passed down from one generation to another, is something both chefs have in common.
Family recipes, heirloom ingredients and memories conjured up by food, are the heart of Chef Carolize’s cooking. Through the lens of food memory, she takes diners on a memorable journey.
I have always loved TOKARA and was excited to meet Carolize and sample her food for the first time. The menu was inspired with exciting flavours and textures that were beautifully presented in a relaxed yet very sophisticated way.
This was the menu we enjoyed at our lunch and these dishes can be found currently. The menu will evolve seasonally.
Snacks & bread
From the garden
Ciabatta & kapokbos butter
Oyster with “viskop” broth, chinese cabbage, peach & salmon roe
Tokara Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Bright light spinach with renosterbos & cured egg yolk
Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2015
Lightly smoked duck breast with parsnip, whisky, shiitake & hazelnut
Tokara Limited Release Grenache 2015
Spanish almond cake with hibiscus and lemon posset, almond streusel, hibiscus meringue & Spanish nougat ice-cream
The menu is interspersed with ingredients unique to the Simonsberg area of Stellenbosch, fresh produce growing in the Tokara Wine and Olive Estate’s organic vegetable garden and playful flavour combinations.
Fragrant Cape flavours such as nasturtium, kapokbos, renosterbos and sorrel are infused in classically prepared dishes alongside broad beans, asparagus and stone fruit, just some of the new season’s bounty.
The starter of oyster and ‘viskop’ broth with Chinese cabbage, peach & caviar was inspired and fresh, while the second starter of colourful spinach stems, renosterbos, and cured egg yolk was a work of art on the plate.
Tokara Restaurant is a landmark culinary destination in the Stellenbosch Winelands framed by spectacular views and contemporary art. It enjoys pride of place on the crest of the Helshoogte Pass on the magnificent Tokara Wine and Olive Estate.
Tokara Restaurant is open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday (Monday to Sunday from 7 October) and for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. Chef Carolize’s signature six-course dinner menu runs from Wednesday, 4 September, with her new a la carte menu from Wednesday, 18 September.
For reservations call Tel: 021 885 2550, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tokararestaurant.co.za
This is what it looked like:
More from Tokara in the past:
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