Luke Dale Roberts Launches Salon: Cape Town’s Hot New Restaurant

Chart-topping chef Luke Dale Roberts has pulled the trigger on a new creation and Cape Town’s hot new restaurant. Called Salon, it’s located at the trendy Old Biscuit Mill complex in Woodstock.

Salon at night

Salon at night

Wine is undoubtedly part of the mix with a strong focus on South African expressions. “It is a fundamental part of the experience journey,” he says.

Styled photo: Knorhoek Chenin Blanc

Styled photo: Knorhoek Chenin Blanc

The Test Kitchen Group

Salon is the latest addition to the Test Kitchen group of restaurants led by Dale-Roberts. The others are The Pot Luck Club, which opened in Cape Town in 2011 and in Johannesburg in May; Test Kitchen Fledglings, 2021; and, The Shortmarket Club Johannesburg, in 2022. Read about another hot Cape Town spot here.

Salon Interior: Cool and modern

Swish décor, designed by Maurice Paliaga

Luke Dale Roberts

The list however doesn’t nearly reflect the extent of this British-born food-entrepreneur’s-influence on the South African dining scene. Most of the restaurants he has worked at, consulted for, or created have gone on to feature in the highest echelon of restaurant awards. Quite an achievement for someone who arrived in the country just over 15 years ago.

He landed in 2006 with a four-year tenure at La Colombe in Constantia, and then proceeded steadily to win over the hearts of the country’s foodies.

Luke Dale Roberts and Carla Schulze

Luke Dale Roberts and Carla Schulze


With Salon, he returns his attention to Cape Town having just launched projects upcountry. “People thought I’d moved to Johannesburg,” he says. “But I was still based at my home in Kommetjie!”

Laksa & Knorhoek Chenin Blanc

Laksa & Knorhoek Chenin Blanc

Salon has all the trademarks that LDR followers will already be acquainted with. The swish décor, designed by Maurice Paliaga, is introduced with a striking entrance, in this case, a golden-arched portal; a period-tinged bistro air; and, plenty of class. Cornerstones of the space are the marble-topped bar and intimate dining nooks.

Salon Interior

Salon Interior

While his restaurants have often been described as having a certain New York-style panache, the United States has never really featured in his culinary journey, as the menu concept attests.

The Dishes

Salon’s food includes dishes like “Forest Noir”, shortbread served with foie gras and sour plum jelly; and, Singapore Chilli, a seafood dish with langoustine, scallop mousse, very light chili sauce, smoked tomato jelly and a puree of cashews and turnips. Diners are presented with two options, the first being a pared-down version of the main attraction: the nine-course “Journey” menu. It gets its inspiration from Luke’s international career and is served alongside a sketch map. He originally trained in Zurich, Switzerland, and then set off across Europe to Africa via stops in Asia.

Lamb smiley and dombolo

Lamb smiley and dombolo

The dishes were conceptualized between Luke and LDR Group development head chef Carla Schulze.

Calamansi Sorbet Creme Fraiche Snow

Calamansi Sorbet Creme Fraiche Snow & Salon’s Arched Entrance

The Drinks

The offering includes the option of a drinks pairing, much of it, wine. But there’s a Belgian beer, served with the pork scratchings with Guinness foam, and sake, with the Korean beef “kalbi”, too.

Pork Scratching, Guinness Foam

Pork Scratching with Guinness Foam

A winelist does however does present diners with other options. The selection is also regularly tweaked, says sommelier Brown Tumba. “If we find something we like, we add it, plus we are currently working on rare gems list.”

Sommelier Brown Tumba

Sommelier Brown Tumba & Knorhoek Chenin Blanc

The Wines

Wines such as Vilafonté Seriously Old Dirt 2020 and Series C 2015 are represented, but so too specific regions. Among those from Stellenbosch are Delaire Graff White Blend 2020, Knorhoek Chenin Blanc 2021, Tokara Directors Reserve White 2021 and Raats Cabernet Franc 2019. From the Cape Town ward is Klein Constantia Vin De Constance 2019. Hemel en Aarde is well represented by Paul Cluver Riesling NLH 2021, Creation Pinot Noir 2022, Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak 2019. From the adjacent ward of Klein River hails the Raka Cabernet Sauvignon 2020. From Bot River is Beaumont Pinotage 2020.

Creation Pinot Noir served at Salon

Creation Pinot Noir

Salon is open Tuesday to Saturday, with reservations open for timeslots between 6pm and 9pm. The restaurant is situated at 375 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. For bookings and more information visit or call 087 093 5890 during normal business hours.

Takana Zambezi of Salon

Delaire-Graff White Reserve & Takana Zambezi of Salon

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*While they may share the surname, the author of this post is not related to the chef!

BY Clifford Roberts | May 26, 2023

Clifford Roberts (BTech Journ) is a veteran writer whose coverage of wine for leading publications over two decades has taken him from oak forests of Hungary to vineyards among the peaks of Reunion Island. He is a member of the invitation-only SA African Brandy Guild and is based on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, heartland of South African wine.

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