The Chef’s Table Now Open in Umhlanga
The restaurant industry in Umhlanga is growing in leaps and bounds; new spots are popping up, each with a unique slant on food and ambience. One of the newest eateries, located at the newly extended Protea Hotel in the Village, The Chefs’ Table, is about to turn the industry on its axis. We chat to owners Soti Sonitis and Sean Gray, and head chef Kayla-Ann Osborn.
“We have always had a passion for local, fresh, seasonal food,” Soti tells me.
And this is true, as one looks around what is quite possibly Sean and Soti’s most successful venture to date, Circus Circus in the Gateway Theatre of Shopping. It is where we are chatting, and the dreamy aromas of breakfast waft around us, as does the smell of freshly brewed coffee.
The duo’s newest undertaking looks certain to be just as successful as the popular restaurant, and as Soti says – with a smile – The Chefs’ Table is about to take it to ‘the next level’. “We want to take the concept that’s already successful and blow it up.” Sean agrees, saying the idea for The Chefs’ Table was born around two and a half years ago. “Soti and I were travelling through the United States and the United Kingdom, and we had some incredible restaurant experiences we wanted to recreate when we returned.”
Sean describes The Chefs’ Table as fun and edgy. “It’s definitely not a traditional restaurant,” he says. Kayla smiles, casually throwing out that the menu changes daily. “Whatever comes into the kitchen on any given day is what we will send out. We will work with the fresh ingredients we get at the beginning of the day; that’s all that will be on the menu.” She adds that ingredients – free-range and organic – will only be used if they are in season. “If something is not available seasonally, we will not use it. The dishes will be fresh, hearty and filling.” The kitchen will be minimal – no microwaves, can openers or freezers. “We want the entire experience to be as authentic as possible,” Kayla says. “All our suppliers are local, so we are supporting our own economy.”
The look of the restaurant matches the freshness of the food, with an industrial vibe. An abundance of leather and metal, like exposed piping, has been used to amplify the idea of going back to basics. Another unique facet of the dining experience is that the kitchen is open-plan and situated at the centre of the restaurant – Kayla-Ann and some of Durban’s young, up and coming chefs will allow diners to watch them at work. “The idea is to bring MasterChef to life,” Soti tells us. “You will be able to experience the ambience of the kitchen, as the chefs are visible while they cook your meal.” This, says Soti, reinforces the theme of freshness, as the chef will share where the ingredients come from. “Thus, it is really your Chefs’ Table!”
The restaurant also has an extensive wine list, with wines stored in a walk-in cellar. Additionally, a private 16-seater dining room is also available for day conferences or intimate dinners. A brilliantly stocked bar has an enviable list of cocktails, craft beers and spirits. “Ultimately, there is something for everyone,” Sean says. “We want people to dream about the food after they’ve eaten at The Chefs’ Table!”
Visit 23 and 24 First Floor, Protea Mall, Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks
Article Credit: Jodi from www.theumhlangamagazine.co.za