The Test Kitchen is launching The Drought Kitchen, A Reduced-Water Dining Experience | 9Lives
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The drought in Cape Town is currently on everyone’s lips, along with the looming Day Zero that threatens to cut our water supply. Most of us are doing our best to preserve every drop, and raise as much awareness as possible among tourists and visitors to do the same.

In April 2018, The Test Kitchen will introduce a reduced-water dining experience which will run exclusively for two months until end May. The Drought Kitchen, essentially a pop-up within The Test Kitchen, will see Luke Dale Roberts and his team focussing their creative energy on coming up with solutions to the problem of using less water in the kitchen. I love it.

“I’ve had to re-evaluate how we approach what we do in the kitchen and the restaurant,” Luke explains. “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.

From preparation to plating, service to clean-up, everything is impacted by using less water. It’s been an eye-opener, for sure

Reducing water usage to an absolute minimum in the kitchen has meant doing things differently, and cleverly. Steps include saving grey water from air-conditioning units, using ice bucket water to mop the floors, disconnecting hoses in the scullery, fitting diffusers on taps, switching to disposable napkins and eliminating table cloths. But The Test Kitchen has taken it a step further.

Luke has designed “empty picture frames”, that will have a piece of interchangeable card for a plate, effectively making every dish a picture. These handcrafted disposable plates will provide the perfect counterpoint for displaying each dish.

It’s pretty, but also pretty smart when it comes to saving water. “By taking away 90% of the chinaware we have effectively eliminated 90% of our water usage from the dishwasher and, along with only operating the laundry for basic essentials, we are hopeful that this will make a difference,” adds Luke.

The Drought Kitchen by The Test Kitchen will run from Tuesday to Saturday. The six-course menu, which also includes three appetizers, is priced at R890 per person, excluding wines. Diners can also opt for the Tea Pairing Menu priced at R1040 per person, the Gourmand Wine Pairing Menu priced at R1190 per person or the Iconic Wine Pairing Menu priced at R1340 per person.

Luke Dale Roberts will also be pursuing other water-saving initiatives at The Pot Luck Club and The Shortmarket Club.

Take note that reservations at The Test Kitchen are online only via The Test Kitchen’s website. Bookings are open three months in advance from 08:00. They no longer take reservations via email, however, they will still be able to assist telephonically 021 447 2337.


I am a lifestyle blogger from Cape Town trying to find the best ways to spend my time, take care of my body and express myself. I am slightly obsessed with fragrances, sneakers, Jamie Oliver and Masterchef Australia. Oh, and I probably drink way too much wine.

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