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“Over Done....too much, for too little”
Review of The Tasting Room - CLOSED

The Tasting Room
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $110 - $150
Cuisines: African, Contemporary, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Description: The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais is South Africa's most lauded fine-dining restaurant. It is the stage to award-winning Chef, Margot Janse, and her unique African Inspired Surprise Tasting Menu. Here, in this intimate setting, serious diners have the opportunity to experience a true journey of taste. With a menu that continues to evolve and astonish The Tasting Room, and its African Inspired cuisine, creates a dining experience unlike any other. One where surprise and nostalgia take centre stage. In The Tasting Room every African Inspired dish is exceptional and engaging. Truly refined with a distinct feminine touch and, at the same time, unexpectedly exciting ... Exhilarating in fact. It is this contradiction that results in The Tasting Room menu's outstanding balance and ensures that the cuisine is nothing short of a theatrical masterpiece.In The Tasting Room the journey extends further than just phenomenal cuisine; it moves fearlessly into the captivating realm of stories and magic. A place where each plate, and its African inspired elements, have the ability to captivate the hearts and minds of diners.The Tasting Room is open Tuesdays to Saturdays for dinner only. 19H00 till late.Please allow at least 3 hours for your dinner.
Reviewed September 11, 2011

The food is very good, but the overall experience is overrated. It's like to many bells and whistles, but the decoration is mediocre, the main staff is arrogant, etc.
The service crew is very nice, but the matradee had an attitude. I have been to dozens of Ralais chateaux properties and restaurants and this one impress me the least.
Out of the 9 course meal, about 4-5 are excellent, so to our opinion is not worth it.

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5  Thank pilarcm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (1,097)
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842 - 846 of 1,097 reviews

Reviewed September 9, 2011

The tasting menu here compares favorably with those of top restaurants in France (and other gourmet destinations). The young woman chef brings to the table creativity, high-level technique, and wonderful flavors including a spotlight on South African ingredients. The wine pairings weren't always what my palate would go for, so I'd match my own next time - but of course this is very individual, and the wines were good quality. The vibe is informal, but service is very gracious and professional.
The 4 stars I give below for "atmosphere" relate only to an appalling drunken group who dominated the space the night we were there. I'm hoping that's a one-off; if not, situation management needs to be addressed!

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Thank hoyasaxa3233
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2011

The surprise menu was fantastic. The one or two things I was concerned about and new I did not liked was served to us and I landed up wanting to lick the plate. Every course was unique and paired up with a selection of South African wines. We had a truly great experience and will always remember it on our anniversary for years to come.

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Thank ExclusiVoyage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2011

My father and I had a fabulous experience eating at the Tasting Room. Plate after plate of wonderfully conceived dishes each paired with a complimentary wine (if you opt for the wine pairing). I especially enjoyed the personalized stories told by the waiter describing each dish as to its origin and inspiration. Each dish was creatively displayed and the surprise menu kept my interest peaked throughout the evening. I'll certainly recommend to my friends.

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Thank XSUSA9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
susanhux, Manager at The Tasting Room, responded to this reviewResponded September 5, 2011

Thank you for your lovely review. We are so happy that you and your father had a wonderful experience at The Tasting Room.

The surprise menu is designed to keep you excited and interested as well as to allow your palate to experience taste sensations that you might not choose for yourself. The food, mixed with the décor and the stories is definitely a show and we are delighted that you enjoyed the experience so much.

We look forward to seeing you again.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2011

Let me preface this by stating that I have eaten at many Michelin rated restaurants around the world and managed an equivalently rated restaurant in NYC. The Tasting Room was just ok. While the concept of "surprise" is innovative and unique, I think they have missed the mark. The surprise should not be, 'what am I eating or going to eat next.' Because that only creates anxiety as to weather you will even enjoy what you are going to pay for anyway. The surprise should be the wow of creating the unexpected from what you already know, have already ordered and are excited to eat. For example, I am not particulary fond of fennel and my partner of celeriac. So when the surprise is a celeriac velute course, or a fennel infused foam embedded into monkfish, you are basically paying for something that know you will not enjoy. Too add to that, many of the courses were simply bland. I am all for foams and crumbles, drizzles and crisps ladenning a plate as long as they add and are flavorful. The fois gras custard was bland and lacked any taste of the main ingredient, and the vegetable cornflakes were soggy, adding no texture to the milky slow cooked egg. Though I definitely appreciated the attempt at using locally sourced ingredients, especially when being introduced to the new and unfamiliar, nothing struck me as absolutely incredibly delicious. The dessert came the closest, with an olive oil sorbet and a sweetened avocado. I should also mention that I found a worm in my mussels dish. It was very much alive and munching on a micro green. I know this happens once in a blue moon. But once the plate was whisked away, all I really received were a few apologies (the waiter did take R70 off the bill, which is about $10 off a $250 meal). I was shocked that no one offered a glass of wine or something. And I did not push, so as not to embarrass the waiters or my guest, but after finding a live bug in my 3rd course, nothing after tasted right, and the experience of 'the tasting room' was pretty much lost. I will say that the service was exceptional. The decor needs a bit of updating. We steped through an automated glass door into a room that could be mistaken for the lobby of a Hilton hotel. Stark white walls, dark carpeting, a low ceiling and nothing to view. Really very uninspiring. I will say that in the previous days we had the luxury of dining at overture, bosmans and la colombe, and all three were light years ahead in flavor and deliciousness, and frankly just as innovative. It's too bad we picked the tasting room for our one year wedding anniversary, also mentioned at the time of booking, but somehow not a single person wished us happy anniversary....oh well...

4  Thank Michael W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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