Dusk Restaurant: Theatre Of The Senses in Stellenbosch

Dusk Restaurant: Theatre Of The Senses in Stellenbosch

A dining experience that explores light and shade, sustainability and fine dining in a superb 13-course menu of contrasts.

“At Dusk we dine.” The Stellenbosch restaurant’s slogan, declaimed with a flourish, hints at the deceptive simplicity, mystery and all-out theatre that embellish the dining experience at this thought-provoking new establishment. Owners Darren Badenhorst and Callan Austin, have set out to break boundaries, challenge norms and set a new standard for the industry. From the minute you step through the speakeasy-esque entrance, your senses are intrigued.

Dark and moody

Dusk Restaurant: Decor

First the ambience – it’s dark. Elegant downlights over your table spotlight what’s important: the food. Against the backdrop of dramatic, veined-marble walls, the surroundings disappear into the shadows, apart from the open kitchen where the team is intensely focused on their work. Seating just 30 people, the dining room feels intimate and mysterious, a chiaroscuro canvas where the food provides the colour and contrast.

The intrigue begins with two different coloured and flavoured pills – your choice informs a dish later in the menu. And then three impeccably presented canapés arrive, each dazzling in complexity: “The little corn bite” comprised of in-house fermented maize miso and local smoked cheese; “Snail and their roe” served with a garlic emulsion and toasted brioche, and lastly, “Ostrich in its shell” accompanied by heirloom tomatoes and homemade kimchi.

Hyperlocal creativity

Dusk Fine Dining

The chefs’ ethos shines throughout the 13-course experience: head chef Callan made his name winning the global S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy’s Social Responsibility Award in 2021; Darren, his mentor, has long been an advocate for sustainability, local producers and wild ingredients. Their journey to new heights is a cumulative effort to work towards hyper-local creativity and zero-waste sustainability. Fermentation techniques and their early-morning foraging excursions, inform each dish.

Dusk Tuna Ceviche

Without detailing every mouthful, a few highlights of our experience were a sublime bread course with duck-liver parfait and smoky diablo coal butter, seguing into a dramatic presentation of sustainably farmed oysters, with ocean mist rising from the bowl. Delving into the details of the abalone dish (served with pickled daikon and a heavenly bacon sabayon) and the duck course that follows, we discovered that every element is used: abalone offcuts make rich and hearty XO sauce; duck thighs and gizzards a tangy smoked sausage, accompanying succulent duck breasts and gloriously crispy skin.

Dusk Dessert

Making a night of it

Dusk Restaurant: Nocturne

The Dusk team added Nocturne to the family in July 2023 in the same building on Plein Street. Blurring the lines between mixology and gastronomy, the moody and mysterious bar-restaurant shares the same sustainability ethos as Dusk (its test kitchen and fermentation lab too), pushing boundaries in the cocktail world. Signature cocktails by a select bunch of mixology maestros are paired with a tapas menu, for a next-level drinking and dining experience that raises the bar on flavour, whether in the glass or on the plate.

Dusk Chefs

From the perfect portions and exquisite presentation to the seamless service by informed and professional staff, the Dusk and Nocturne experiences are sophisticated and on-trend.

Opening times Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm – 8pm (last seating)
Contact 021 023 4100, reservations@duskrestaurant.co.za
Where to find it 43 Plein Street, Stellenbosch
Book through DinePlan

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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: 13 April 2023