FRIDAY FOOD FEATURE: Tokara Winter Specials


Tokara Winter Specials

Tokara Restaurant, perched dramatically on the spectacular Stellenbosch Helshoogte Pass, is a beacon on any serious foodie’s radar. Here chef Richard Carstens wows diners with his razor-sharp technique, playful food combinations and sense of culinary adventure.

This winter sees the team at Tokara revving up the culinary engines with an exciting new à la carte menu, an excellently priced winter set menu and enticing themed evenings.


The winter special set menu is already on offer, so diners can make the most of Chef Carstens’s delicious offerings. The menu kicks off with crisp linefish served with sushi rice, coconut tamarind sauce, coriander and macadamia to awaken the tastebuds. The main dish showcases seasonal ingredients with braised springbok, pomme purée and Brussel sprouts. Dessert of “Tiramisu” is signature Carstens, serving up the unexpected in a delicious manner.

As owner operator Wilhelm Kühn states, “Apart from welcoming existing patrons back with some hearty Tokara cheer, the winter set menu is also an invitation to diners who haven’t eaten at Tokara before to experience our offering and Richard Carstens’s culinary prowess in an accessible, well-priced manner.” The winter special menu is priced at R275 per person, which includes two glasses of wine crafted by Tokara winemaker Miles Mossop. The winter set menu is available until end of September 2013.

After the restaurant’s annual closure from 21-30 May, the team will return with renewed vigour. For this winter’s à la carte menu, Carstens goes bold and hearty with dishes such as mushroom ravioli or deep-fried quail with roasted beetroot to start. Mains continue in this theme and diners can enjoy melt-in-the-mouth slow-roasted pork belly with zesty apple pickle, char sui beef fillet with Japanese curry sauce and there’s even a robust vegetarian dish of mushroom “steak” served with smoked paprika and truffle cream. On the dessert front, where Carstens is a magician of note, the caramalised apple sablé with szechuan pepper ice cream or decadent chocolate pavé will round off the meal immaculately.

Once again, this winter sees an exhilarating mix of themed evenings where Chef Carstens will team up with other local chefs; create dishes inspired by the latest seasonal and culinary trends; and the must-do “Sommelier Shootout” evening.

Winter is all about game and on 28 June the “Game & Bird” menu will highlight these local seasonal ingredients. A hot trend the world over is nose-to-tail eating, and on 30 August diners will have the pleasure of seeing how Carstens puts his inimitable personal spin on this phenomenon.

2 August sees Carstens teaming up with chef Kobus van der Merwe from Oep ve Koep in Paternoster. Van der Merwe has been making subtle culinary waves of his own with his emphasis on foraging for local ingredients on the Cape West Coast as well as his light touch in the kitchen. Then on 27 September Carstens will be joined in the kitchen by his mentor, Ralph van Pletzen previously of Ralph’s restaurant in Stellenbosch.

The big wine guns are coming out on 1 November, with Tokara’s third sommelier shootout evening. Here Sommelier Jaap-Henk Koelewijn goes head to head with two other guest sommeliers in a battle of the best pairing with four courses of dishes specially created for the evening by Carstens, to challenge the sommeliers. This is not to be missed by anyone who is keen on wine and being exposed to some interesting new cultivars – and a healthy does of sportsmanship!

With Tokara’s stately ambience, giant fireplace and misty mountain location, it’s the perfect venue for experiencing some gastronomic adventures this winter.

Tokara Restaurant is situated at the top of the Helshoogte Pass, R310, Stellenbosch. For reservations call 021 885 2550; e-mail or visit

Tokara Restaurant is open for lunch Tuesdays to Sundays and for dinner Tuesdays to Saturdays. Kindly note that Tokara restaurant is a non- smoking venue.

South African Tourism Company

Tel:    +27 (0)21 794 9050
Mobile: +27 (0)827 823 142
Fax:    +27 (0)21 794 9995


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