SA eatery makes triumphant return to World's 50 Best Restaurants list

20 June 2018 - 12:16 By Jessica Brodie
Luke Dale-Roberts is the brains and tastebuds behind world-famous eatery, The Test Kitchen, in Cape Town.
Luke Dale-Roberts is the brains and tastebuds behind world-famous eatery, The Test Kitchen, in Cape Town.
Image: Halden Krog

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is one of the most influential and prestigious culinary rankings around. So when the Academy behind these awards revealed its runner's up list as a teaser to announcing 2018's big winners, stomachs dropped: no South African restaurant had cracked the nod.

Had La Colombe and The Test Kitchen, which ranked 73rd and 76th respectively in 2017, dropped off the list completely? Could it be possible that no local restaurant would be represented this year?

We didn’t have to wait long to have our fears assuaged. Last night in Bilboa, Spain, culinary captains from five continents gathered to find out which eateries would be named The World's 50 Best — and The Test Kitchen made the list.

The Cape Town favourite was ranked at number 50 and, as the only eatery on the continent to make the list, it had the honour of being named The Best Restaurant in Africa, too. 

TRIUMPHANT RETURN

Headed by executive chef and owner Luke Dale-Roberts, The Test Kitchen has received no shortage of local and international acclaim. In 2014, it ranked 28th in World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, then climbed even higher to claim the 22nd spot in 2016.

Last year, however, the restaurant changed up its decor and service structure. There were considerable problems with the booking system, which ultimately it resulted in it taking a nosedive down the charts to 76th place.

My team and I have taken some risks over the last year and worked extremely hard to evolve The Test Kitchen into what it is today. It’s thrilling that it has paid off
Chef Luke Dale-Roberts

Speaking from Bilboa, Dale-Roberts said:  "My team and I have taken some risks over the last year and worked extremely hard to evolve [the restaurant] into what it is today. It’s thrilling that it has paid off. I am so proud of what we have achieved with The Test Kitchen and that is has a well-deserved spot on the world food stage.”

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy is made up of over 1,000 culinary experts, who help to compile each year's ranking by overseeing the voting process.  

Tamsin Snyman, the Academy's chairperson for the Africa and Indian Ocean Islands region, had this to say about The Test Kitchens triumphant return:  "This is by no means an easy achievement, given that, along with India, we are the two geographical regions in the world that receive the least amount of traveling voters. This indicates that possibly every voter that experienced The Test Kitchen loved and voted for it! Well done to Luke and his team.”

THE WORLD'S BEST RESTAURANTS

The 2018 World's 50 Best Restaurant list heavily favored previous winners and  European restaurants, while continuing the trend towards including more South American restaurants. 

Here's which eateries took coveted spots in the top 10:

  1. Osteria Francescana (Modena, Italy)
  2. El Celler de Can Roca  (Girona, Spain)
  3. Mirazur (Menton, France)
  4. Eleven Madison Park (New York City)
  5. Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
  6. Central (Lima, Peru)
  7. Maido (Lima, Peru)
  8. L’Arpege (Paris, France)
  9. Mugaritz (San Sebastian, Spain) 
  10.  Asador Etxebarri (Axepe, Spain)

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