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Island inspiration boosts culinary flair | Special offer

by Simone Balman

The Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa is hosting The Test Kitchen Mauritius popup until 26 May. Booking is brisk and seats are limited says Debbie Hathway.

When award-winning chefs set out to impress with their culinary and food presentation skills, there’s no telling how your senses will react. The anticipation is part of the fun, but I’ve learnt over the years to photograph every tasty treat placed in front of me as the menu keepsake simply doesn’t do justice to the experience. My visit to The Test Kitchen Mauritius popup at Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius was one such occasion.

The Cape Town-based Test Kitchen patron and chef Luke Dale Roberts agreed on a culinary partnership with the resort – and the longest popup restaurant venture he’s ever participated in – in response to the threat of the Mother City reaching Day Zero – the name given to the date in April 2018 when the city’s usable water supply would be nonexistent. Thanks to a massive water-saving effort across the metropole, and the promise of life-giving rains, the Day Zero prediction has since been cancelled, with officials predicting that this event would not happen until 2019.

At the beginning of 2018, when Day Zero was still a reality, Dale Roberts proactively set up The Drought Kitchen (essentially a popup within The Test Kitchen), a reduced-water dining experience that runs concurrently with the Mauritius popup until the end of May 2018.

While The Drought Kitchen team focuses their creative energy on coming up with solutions to using less water in the Woodstock, Cape Town kitchen, the 17-member Test Kitchen Mauritius team is revelling in the opportunity to treat resort guests and visitors to the signature flair, precision and consummate style that ranked The Test Kitchen 22nd Best Restaurant in the World in 2016 and 46th on Elite Traveler’s top 100 restaurants for 2018. It was the only restaurant listed on the African continent.

Open daily for breakfast and lunch, the Republik Beach Club & Grill at the Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa in Mauritius is transformed at night to mimic The Test Kitchen dining concept. For The Test Kitchen Mauritius, the journey begins in the Dark Room, where pre-dinner tapas with a selection of signature cocktails are served, and continues in the Light Room, an airy, more formal setup with tables perfectly positioned so that diners can watch the action in the kitchen.

The menu incorporates local ingredients as much as possible, with the quality of the daily catch continuing to surprise and delight. The red snapper with butter-roasted carrot, coriander pesto and carrot extraction was the undisputed Light Room hit at my table with the yellow lentil crisp with local atchar and homemade sour cream tantalising taste buds in the Dark Room. Mauritian flavours also came through in the spiced ‘kobe’ biltong, the Test Kitchen poke bowl of local wild boar, sushi rice and bloomed mustard as well as the ceviche with curried pineapple and lemongrass ice.

‘Palm hearts are my new favourite thing,’ says Dale Roberts, ‘and we’re enjoying them with a truffle and orange dressing.’

The trend is moving towards more classic dishes and Dale Roberts has concentrated on ‘getting ingredients to show themselves in their own right’. Flavours are subtle, not overwhelming, the presentation as spectacular as the meal. Suffice to say booking is brisk, with gourmands flying in specially from other parts of the world for the Test Kitchen Mauritius experience.

Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa has positioned itself as a fine-dining destination on the island and there are several other bars and restaurants on the property worth visiting. Dinner alternatives include Safran for classical Indian cuisine (my favourite) and Kushi, the restaurant cleverly decorated to reflect its Japanese name which means ‘comb’. I always head for the Sega Bar after dinner where some of the island’s best musicians come together to entertain the guests. The programme compiled by entertainment manager Toto Lebrasse never disappoints and if you’re there on the right night, you’ll see him perform too.

During the day, I usually head for the beach. Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa is an iconic property on the east coast of the island, which I have visited several times since its reopening after a major refurbishment in 2015. Each experience is genuinely better than the last. When you’re there, make a point of visiting Ilot Mangénie, a private island for the use of resort guests, and schedule time at CHI, The Spa for some extra indulgence.

  • The Test Kitchen Mauritius experience is priced at MUR 3 500 per person, which includes a snack menu of four dishes served tapas style in the Dark Room and a five-course gourmand menu in the Light Room.
  • Call 0800 028 3337, email sltr@shangri-la.com or visit shangri-la.com/mauritius for more information and reservations.
  • For flights, visit airmauritius.com.
  • To book your Mauritian epicurean escape, contact World Leisure Holidays who are the exclusive distributor of Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa travel packages in South Africa. Call 011 285 2500 or visit wlh.co.za.
  • Visit tourism-mauritius.mu/for more information.


Reader offer

Make the most of this special offer for Sail+Leisure readers to experience The Test Kitchen Mauritius by the end of May 2018. Book a suite on a half-board basis to experience the culinary flair of award-winning Chef Luke Dale Roberts and his team.

From €471 per night for two people (the starting rate off-peak season for a Deluxe Ocean View Room is €285 for two people with daily breakfast, inclusive of taxes)

A stay in a suite at Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa, Mauritius, is filled with bespoke experiences and meaningful discoveries.

This offer includes:

  • 1 60-minute spa treatment, for two people, in the privacy of CHI, The Spa
  • 1 bottle of chilled champagne in your room upon arrival
  • Daily evening meal at one of the resort’s chic restaurants
  • Complimentary use of water-sports equipment (excluding parasailing)
  • A signature polo shirt and pareu exclusively designed for our guests
  • Luxury return airport transfers
  • Daily buffet breakfast, for two people, at Le Bazar restaurant (or at Republik Beach Club & Grill, for guests staying in the Frangipani wing)
  • A tropical fruit basket replenished daily
Terms and conditions
  • Every experience at the resort is personal. A Shangri-la specialist will contact you two weeks prior to your arrival to personalise your holiday and assist with any queries you may have.
  • Some of the activities must be booked in advance and may depend on weather conditions. We encourage you to book activities during your first contact with the hotel to avoid any disappointment.
  • This offer is subject to availability at the time of reservation and cannot be availed in conjunction with any other offers or contracts.
  • The rates are for double occupancy, on a per-room, per-night basis, and include all taxes.
  • Early departures may incur cancellation fees.
  • A minimum stay of four consecutive nights is required.
  • The additional accommodation charge for a third person sharing a guest room is €100 per day. This charge entitles the third person to bed and breakfast, and includes taxes.

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