The Drought Kitchen: A Reduced-Water Dining Experience by Luke Dale-Roberts

The Drought Kitchen: A Reduced-Water Dining Experience by Luke Dale-Roberts

W(h)et your appetite with six out-of-the-box dishes at this drought-friendly pop-up kitchen.

It’s no secret that Cape Town is in the throes of one of the worst droughts of the past century. And with the ominous Day Zero looming, owners of local businesses have had to assess their modus operandi in an attempt to keep their businesses afloat, save water, and keep Day Zero at bay.

One such player is renowned local chef Luke Dale-Roberts, who has implemented a number of unique water-saving techniques in his trio of award-winning restaurants, namely The Test Kitchen, The Pot Luck Club and The Shortmarket Club.

“I’ve had to re-evaluate how we approach what we do in the kitchen and the restaurant,” says Luke. “From preparation to plating, service to clean-up, everything is impacted by using less water. It’s been an eye-opener, for sure,” he adds.

“We have all but closed down our laundry (due to using paper and eliminating tablecloths),” he continues. “Our laundry ladies, Bibo and Sarah have now learnt to prep vegetables and are helping The Pot Luck Club team.”

In addition to saving grey water from air-conditioning units, using ice bucket water to mop the floors, disconnecting scullery hoses, fitting tap diffusers, using disposable napkins, and even eliminating tablecloths, the restaurant has taken it one step further! Luke has opened The Drought Kitchen – a pop-up waterless dining experience within The Test Kitchen.

Conscious Cuisine


From 1 April until end-May, diners will be able to enjoy a sublime six-course menu, adapted from the restaurant’s standard menu, but with a waterless twist.

The mouth-watering menu includes items such as the 12-hour hot-smoked trout with buckwheat blini and watercress velouté; tuna niçoise salad; beef sweet bread with asparagus, peas, morel and porcini hollandaise; pig-head salad and pork pie; springbok, beetroot, bone marrow and hazelnut curd; and peaches and lavender for dessert. Each course will be served on a handmade disposable card within a picture frame, designed by Luke.

Save Water, Drink Wine

And in typical Dale-Roberts style, Luke has created four iterations of the water-wise menu, allowing diners to tailor-make their preferred experience.

Water Saving Menu: R890 per person
Tea Pairing Menu: R1 040 per person
Gourmand Wine Pairing Menu: R1 190 per person
Iconic Wine Pairing Menu: R1 340 per person

Bookings can only be made from 1 March 2018, and via The Test Kitchen’s online booking platform, so be sure to secure your slot at this delectable, drought-friendly fine dining experience while you can. Water saving has never looked, or tasted, so good…

Date 1 April 2018 – 31 May 2018
Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 6:30pm – 11:30pm
Cost R890 – R1 340
Contact 021 447 2337,
Where to find it The Test Kitchen, Shop 105a, The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town


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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 22 February 2018