August 5, 2021

Test Kitchen Shuts Its Doors After 11 Years


The Test Kitchen, one of Cape Town’s most iconic restaurants, will close gracefully at the end of September 2021 after 11 illustrious years and a spot among the world’s top 50 restaurants.

The Test Kitchen, located at the Old Biscuit Mill, opened in November 2010, and Chef Luke Dale Roberts was named Chef Of The Year at the Eat Out Awards the following year. Since then, The Test Kitchen has consistently climbed the ranks of S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants, first at number 74, then 61, and finally at number 48 in 2014. It was also voted Best in Africa at the same time. The Test Kitchen remained in the top 50 until 2019. Then the pandemic hit. One year later and in early August, Chef Luke has announced the closure of The Test Kitchen, with final service taking place on 30 September.

Innovating Through Pandemic Challenges

Luke Dale Roberts

In early 2020, Luke Dale Roberts temporarily closed all of his restaurants due to the extended lockdown. It was a bleak period in TTK history. Despite this, the team put together sumptuous high-end hampers for folks at home, did Zoom virtual cooks, and other things in the months that followed. He developed incredible burgers for takeout, pared multiple-course TTK menus and even launched The Test Kitchen Origins in October 2020. In April 2021, The Shortmarket Club became TTK Fledgelings, and The Test Kitchen reopened with a larger menu.

Letting Go and Moving On

Unfortunately, the pandemic had too significant an impact on Dale Roberts and he has finally decided to close The Test Kitchen restaurant for good. Some personnel will likely be reassigned to his other endeavours after the closure, while still others will move on to other possibilities, as many chefs who have worked in LDR kitchens in years before have done.

The last service will be on Thursday, 30 September 2021. Bookings can be made on The Test Kitchen website or by calling +27 (0)21 447 2337 during office hours. Reservations for August are now open, while bookings for September will open on the first of the month at 8 am SAST.


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