The Test Kitchen and The Foodbarn Restaurants transformed to cope with aftermath of Covid Lockdown!



The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every person and business, and restaurants and their owners have not been excluded from its impact.  One of our country’s top restaurants, The Test Kitchen in Woodstock, as well as The Foodbarn in Noordhoek, have transformed themselves in their offering, even going so far as to change their restaurant names. These are two restaurants which have reacted to the effects of the Corona Lockdown of the past six months.

The Test Kitchen Origins

The Test Kitchen, owned by Chef Luke Dale Roberts, opened ten years ago, and has been our country’s number one restaurant for six years, and number two ranked restaurant for the past two years. During the earlier part of Lockdown, Chef Luke entered the Home Delivery market, something one would not have ever expected, after he ran out of steam of doing his amateurish Home-Cooking videos during Lockdown.

Corona Virus Lockdown: Chef Luke Dale Roberts enters Food Delivery market, with very high-end up to R5000 Gourmet Hampers!

Since 1 October Chef Luke has reopened his flagship restaurant, and changed its name to The Test Kitchen Origins. The restaurant’s website does not explain the change, or which ‘Origins’ Chef Luke refers to. The only information that is provided is that a three-course meal for Lunch or Dinner costs R650, and a five-course one costs R895. A deposit of R450 per person is required for the reservation.

In Business Day Chef Luke is quoted as follows: ‘The Test Kitchen is ever evolving …… always pushing the limits and experiences as far as we could possibly take them. But now came time for calmness and retrospection. The break has given me that time to spend with my family and reflect on the way forward.’.  The article continues in explaining the changes awaiting The Test Kitchen Origins diner, moving away from the Dark/Light Room concept, to the ‘pared-down approach to fine dining…’.  The changes which can be expected are ‘going back to the origins of what delicious Food is: less manipulation, less hands – but the flavour we’ve come to expect from a culinary first. The idea is to create an experience that is perhaps less elaborate but as luxurious as ever – shorter yet more impactful’.  What has changed too is the difficulty of getting a seat at The Test Kitchen, booked out months ahead in the past, but now tables are easily available.

The Menu design is interesting, in naming each dish after a main vegetable or fruit ingredient, giving one a shock reaction initially, as the Menu looks Vegan/Vegetarian at a first glance, before one sees the meat or fish ingredients in each dish description.


The Foodbarn Café & Tapas 

Chef Franck Dangereux has been at The Foodbarn in Noordhoek forever, it seems, and has been highly respected for his French cuisine, although he has never been recognised by Eat Out in its Awards. A dramatic change due to Covid, tragically combined with the loss of a business partner, has led Chef Franck to revisit his concept, and to change the name of his restaurant to The Foodbarn Café & Tapas, incorporating his Deli Shop into the restaurant too.

The Foodbarn introduces the new The Foodbarn Café & Tapas as follows:

There is a comforting feeling about the Foodbarn Café & Tapas being born…

Like when, out of necessity, something comes to be, think of it as the lovechild of the coffee shop once housed in our deli and the restaurant where serious food and wine pairings were the norm.

Our staff have been patient, sitting tight and now we’re all back at work! cooking  our famous breakfasts, lunches, all day snacks and of course our tapas dinners!

Come say hello, buy a second hand book, be in our space and let us pamper you!

The Foodbarn Café is open seven days a week: 8am until 4pm for breakfast, lunch and all day foods

The tapas opens Tuesday to Saturday at 4:30pm till 9:00pm.

Tapas takeaway is available Tuesday to Saturday from 4:30pm … last orders at 8pm…

order through the Foodguru app available on both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store

check out the breakfast, lunch and tapas menus or give us a call on 021 789 1390

The bread sticks are on us …for every 3 tapas ordered, we give you 1’

On Wine Wednesdays wine tastings paired with Tapas are hosted, at a cost of R415 per person.

The Deli Shop is described as follows on the Foodbarn website: ‘Whether you are looking for a freshly baked croissant, daily newspaper, a ‘home-cooked’ meal for lunch or dinner, a delicious cake, or a delicious pie to eat-on-the-go… the Deli Shop is the place to get it.’  A product list of the frozen meals offered to buy includes Lasagne (Beef and Vegetable), Butter Chicken, Curry (Lamb, Thai Veg), Fish Pie, Lentil Dahl, Fish Cakes, and more, in small and large portions, and in a price range of R42 to R174.


It is likely that more Top-end Restaurants will be adapting their offerings as the Corona Virus and the Lockdown take their further toll.


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein

About Chris von Ulmenstein

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2 replies on “The Test Kitchen and The Foodbarn Restaurants transformed to cope with aftermath of Covid Lockdown!”

  1. Thanks for sharing the information .. Really appreciated it. Really loved your blog

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