It was a shock to see today that none of our country’s top restaurants have made the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, with both The Test Kitchen and La Colombe named today in the 51 – 100 ranking list, announced a week ahead of the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurant ceremony in Melbourne next Wednesday!
The Test Kitchen was at 22nd place last year, and had climbed up the rankings speedily, from 28th position in 2015, 48th position in 2014, and 61st position in 2013. The Test Kitchen was named ‘The One to Watch’ when it first entered the 51 – 100 List in 2013. Now it has dropped 41 places, to 63rd position.
In October last year the restaurant reopened after a six week closure, having made a number of changes, including being open for dinner only, reducing the number of covers to 45, increasing the size of the Tasting Menu to 21 dishes, rearranging the restaurant interior into two sections, and introducing a new booking service, to reduce the waiting time to book from the previous six months. These and other changes were designed to get The Test Kitchen into the Top Three World’s 50 Best Restaurant list, I was told by a former The Test Kitchen chef! We have seen and heard many complaints about the restaurant, and the main complaints are that it is still impossible to get a restaurant table, even if one tries to book one minute after midnight on the first day of a new month, for a table for that month. What has not gone down well is the lack of integrity, it having been announced initially that Lunch would no longer be served. However, soon after reopening, one heard that a table of up to twelve persons could be booked, with a venue hire fee, and an additional appearance fee if Chef Luke Dale-Roberts should be wished to be present! Added to the restaurant changes made, Chef Luke Dale-Roberts may have extended himself with the opening of his fourth restaurant this year, at The Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg. He also owns The Pot Luck Club and The Shortmarket Club.
Tamsin Snyman, World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy Chairman: Africa & Indian Ocean Islands, commented as follows on Facebook about the disappointing performance by The Test Kitchen:
‘The World’s 50 Best have embarked on a global roadshow with the awards taking place in different countries around the world. The international dining audience is following this global movement and navigating themselves hot on the heels of the awards wherever it might be hosted next. I am of the opinion that The Test Kitchen did not obtain a listing within the top 50 benchmark due mainly to the fact that the restaurant was closed for almost two months last year for major interior design and menu changes. In addition, once the restaurant re-opened, it was only taking bookings one month in advance at the time, which would have played a role in limiting international diner’s exposure to experience and vote for The Test Kitchen. Furthermore, the recent changes to the restaurant sees only 40 guests being served a bespoke tasting menu, available for dinner only. With The Test Kitchen now amending its advance booking policy to a three month lead period added with the current focus of the World’s 50 Best roadshow being celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere, I am excited to see the developments for next year’.
La Colombe, under the management of Executive Chef Scot Kirton, entered the 51 -100 Restaurant List at 76th place last year, and has moved up three places this year, to 73rd rank. When Chef Luke Dale-Roberts ran the kitchen at La Colombe, when it was still based at Constantia Uitsig, it climbed to its best ranking ever, of 12th position in 2010.
Restaurants which were in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2016, and have dropped down to the 51-100 list, are Estela in New York, The Test Kitchen in Cape Town, Nihonryori RyuGin in Tokyo, Fäviken in Sweden, Biko in Mexico City, Combal Zero in Italy, and Schloss Schauenstein in Switzerland.
The only restaurant at which I have eaten on the list below is Estela in New York, at number 44 last year, and now down to 66th rank. It was very disappointing relative to its World’s 50 Best Restaurant peers in New York, as our review reflects from last year.
‘The 51-100 list originates from the votes of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy as part of same process that creates the 1-50 ranking. For 2017, the Academy was expanded to include 1,040 voters worldwide, with each member casting 10 votes for their best restaurants (up from 7 in 2016). Of these 10 choices, at least 4 must be for restaurants outside of the voter’s home region‘, the media statement informs.
The 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, ranked from 51 to 100, follows:
51 Mikla, Istanbul
52 Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo
53 Burnt Ends, Singapore
54 Lyle’s, London
55 Disfrutar, Barcelona (Winner: Miele One To Watch Award)
56 Neruda, Bilbao
57 Fäviken, Järpen, Sweden
58 Momofuku Ko, New York
59 Combal Zero , Rivoli, Italy
60 81⁄2 Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Hong Kong
61 Hertog Jan, Bruges
62 Quique Dacosta, Denia, Spain
63 The Test Kitchen, Cape Town,
64 La Grenouillère, La Madelaine-sous-Mountreuil
65 Biko, Mexico City
66 Estela, New York
67 Benu, San Francisco
68 The French Laundry, Yountville, USA
69 Hiša Franki, Kobarid, Slovenia (Ana Roš, Winner: The World’s Best Female Chef 2017)
70 Aqua, Wolfsburg, Germany
71 Lung King Heen, Hong Kong
72 Schloss Schauenstein, Fürstenau, Switzerland
73 La Colombe, Cape Town
74 The Jane, Antwerp
75 Sud 777, Mexico City
76 Lasai, Rio de Janeiro
77 Martin Berasategui, Lasarte-Oria, Spain
78 Indian Accent, New Delhi
79 Maaemo, Oslo
80 Le Cinq, Paris
81 Maní, São Paulo
82 Chef’s Table At Brooklyn Fare, New York
83 Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
84 The Restaurant at Meadowood, St Helena, USA
85 Belcanto, Lisbon
86 Odette, Singapore
87 Per Se, New York
88 Selfie, Moscow
89 Mingles, Seoul
90 Manresa, Los Gatos, USA
91 St John, London
92 Twins, Moscow
93 Le Chateaubriand, Paris
94 Kadeau, Copenhagen
95 Quay, Sydney
96 Epicure, Paris
97 Sushi Saito, Tokyo
98 Hedone, London
99 Florilège, Tokyo
100 Olympe, Rio de Janeiro
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, www.theworlds50best.com Twitter: @TheWorlds50Best
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein