Executive Chef Mathew Armbruster and his brigade of 12 qualified chefs have crafted their menu around fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. The dishes are inspired by what is readily available on the day. Fresh produce from local, organic farmers arrives in the morning and the dishes are tweaked and arranged accordingly. The menu changes slightly every day and each season will see different ingredients and new dishes to enjoy.
The open plan kitchen is at the heart of the restaurant - for the theatre of it but also for the chefs, to stay connected to the energy of the diners. Watch the chefs at work and feel the connection to the food and the beautifully plated dishes being prepared.
On one side Umhlanga’s bustling shopping hub, Durban’s coastline on
the other. It’s here that chef Mathew Armbruster works his magic. Italian
and American parents, plus studies and work in the US, have carved his
culinary pedigree. His tenure at The Chefs’ Table began in 2016, with a
brief hiatus at Hartford House, returning in 2020 as executive chef.
Paying immense attention to the sourcing of local, incredible produce
from farmers and small suppliers, Mathew and his team create the
balance between creativity and business in this in-vogue, 150-seater
restaurant. Lunches are quiet, it’s once the sun sets that residents
and visitors come to relax and eat the finest food in the classy,
contemporary setting. The dramatic Tretchikoff mural and bar vie for
your attention – it’s from here that they present a unique and varied
selection of cocktails and wine. The open kitchen allows the diner
to see the mastery behind their meal, but as the epicurean voyage
begins, it will be all eyes on the plate.
“It’s just about respecting the produce, then there is no need to
manipulate and handle it,” says Mathew. “My aim is to build a team,
creating an environment in which people want to work.”
His tasting menu is imaginative, genuinely inviting vegans and
vegetarians to enjoy equal, elegant dishes. Spices, fresh seafood and
the colours of the beachfront share the excitement of Durban cuisine.
He is at the forefront. The starter menu is largely on the beach –
oysters, octopus, mussels, fish, prawn and squid plus an enticing array
of meat and vegetarian dishes. You may not want to venture further –
but do, as it’s on the mains menu that Mathew pays homage to his
nonna, with airy pasta or gnocchi.
Dishes are seductive – some spicy, others more subtle – noteworthy,
each with Mathew’s own signature.