New TOKARA spring menu redefines SA cookery inspired by nature’s bounty

TOKARA Restaurant Executive Chef, Carolize Coetzee, has turned her appetite for relaxed, playful dining up a notch with her new ingredient-...

TOKARA Restaurant Executive Chef, Carolize Coetzee, has turned her appetite for relaxed, playful dining up a notch with her new ingredient-driven spring menu, reinterpreting traditional South African cookery following a three-week stage at Cosme in New York, ranked 23rd in the world by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year.

Bread service - ciabatta, savoury doughnut and kapokbos butter
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.

Snack service - Springbok croquette with beetroot hummus, carrot top pesto and baby carrots from the Tokara garden
Try the oyster and ‘viskop’ broth with Chinese cabbage, peach & caviar; or the spinach, renosterbos and cured egg yolk for starters. Let lightly smoked duck breast, parsnip, whisky and hazelnut shitake; or the beetroot, springbok with nutmeg & sorrel take a bow for mains. For a dessert with a twist, the Spanish almond cake with hibiscus and lemon posset, hibiscus meringue, almond streusel and Spanish nougat ice-cream is utter indulgence. 

Bright light spinach with renosterbos and cured egg yolk
Chef Carolize who worked alongside Chef Daniela Soto-Innes, the 2019 World’s Best Female Chef, at Cosme was inspired by how Daniela 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. 

Celery and caper infused cherry tomatoes with tomato tartar, tomato consomme and micro nasturtium and basil 
“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. 

She was particularly inspired by the family-style kitchen culture at Cosme.

Chefs Carolize Coetzee and Daniela Soto-Innes 
“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. 

Coconut and vanilla panna cotta with plum ice cream, sesame meringue and TOKARA olive oil short bread
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. 

Lightly smoked duck breast, parsnip, wisky, shiitake and hazelnut
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. 

Springbok with salt baked beetroot, nutmeg cream, candied beetroot stems and sorrel 
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. 

Chef Carolize Coetzee of TOKARA Restaurant

For reservations call Tel: 021 885 2550, e-mail or visit

Pictures: SUPPLIED

©2019 Herman Lintvelt - WineTourismZA 

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