Tag Archives: lunch

Lunch at Holden Manz

11 Jul

The Holden Manz estate and vineyards, set amongst the Franschhoek mountains. Picture from holdenmanz.com.

 

Last month I had the pleasure of visiting Holden Manz Wine Estate in Franschhoek for the first time. This hidden gem is situated on the beautiful Green Valley Road just out of the hustle and bustle of Franschhoek town. They make superb wine, they offer luxury accommodation, they have a spa and a brilliant restaurant, they offer picnics (when the weather permits) and they also host weddings.

I had the opportunity to walk through their 5 star country house & spa filled with the most incredible contemporary art collection, visit their wine cellar for a tasting with winemaker Thierry Haberer and sit down for a flavour-packed lunch at their restaurant Franschhoek Kitchen with co-ower Gerard Holden himself, prepared by Executive Chef Ricardo le Roux.

Visiting Holden Manz Estate is highly recommended, and I’d like to return soon to taste more of Chef Ricardo’s dishes – it was fantastic. Here is my visit in pictures.

The Holden Manz country house living area.

One of the lounge areas in the Holden Manz country house, complete with piano and roaring fireplace.

One of the fabulous fireplaces inside the Holden Manz country house. Perfect for winter!

The koi pond in the country house courtyard.

The backyard terrace and swimming pool for warmer months.

The wine tasting room and entry to the cellar.

Magnificent view from the wine tasting room.

Wine maker Thierry Haberer telling us more about his wine making process and the new vintages.

Gerard Holden introduces us to Chef Ricardo le Roux.

Baguette with tomato butter and dukkah.

Citrus, salt & mint salad: poached tomatoes, charred courgette, crispy artichokes, rosemary, lemon, salt fried seeds.

Tasting some of the Holden Manz wines with lunch.

Romesco Risotto: prawn, artichoke and mustard croquette, olive tapenade, smoked cauliflower. Served with Holden Manz Visionaire 2013.

6 Hour Braised Beef Cheeks: white bean & samp cassoulet, chorizo crumbs, oxtail bitterballen, pecorino wafer, greens, plum, orange & spice jus.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for dessert, but next time I won’t be in any hurry!

Thank you Tanja Fourie of Grape Stuff Marketing & Communications for the invitation.

Contact Holden Manz:

Tel +27 21 876 2738

info@holdenmanz.com

restaurant@holdenmanz.com

winery@holdenmanz.com

Green Valley Rd, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa

Restaurant Open Hours
Lunch: Noon to 15:00
Dinner: 19:00 to 21:00
Closed: Wednesday Dinner and Thursday Lunch & Dinner (June, July, August)

Take a look at their brand new winter menu:

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Lunch with Clemengold

28 Jun

The beautiful lunch table, ready for our Clemengold taste adventure.

 

Last week I had the pleasure of joining the Clemengold team for cocktails and lunch at Mantra Café in Bantry Bay. I’m already a fan of the fruit and their gin, so it was a great opportunity to meat the people who make all the magic happen. Look out for the iconic Clemengold sticker on all of their fruit – when you see that, you’ll know your fruit is virtually seedless, juicy, easy to peel, sweet and of the highest quality.

Clemengold is also a versatile fruit to cook with – from sweet baked treats and preserves to zesty sauces, marinades and salads. We were treated to lovely a lovely Clemengold menu by the chef of Mantra Café. I had to leave before dessert was served, but I’m sure their Clemengold cake was magnificent!

Clemengold fruit is available in Woolworths countrywide. Get a box full of sunshine today.

A refreshing Clemengold Gin cocktail on arrival. I absolutely love their gin!

Peeling and tasting the fresh Clemegold fruit.

Marius du Plessis (CEO), Charlene Nieuwoudt (Communications Manager), Piet Pretorius (Client Relations) and Cobus Joubert (ClemenGold Gin project manager) – the friendly Clemengold team each told us more about the fruit, where the hybrid comes from, where it is grown, where it gets exported to, the making of their gin, etc.

Cobus Joubert showcases his product: Clemengold Gin.

A starter of Norwegian salmon with a Clemengold dressing.

Clemengold five ways – showing the versatility of the fruit in cooking.

Something fresh and something distilled to take home. The most beautiful packaging!

Thank you to Charlene Nieuwoudt and the Clemengold team for your hospitality.

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(review) Lunch and dinner at Stellenbosch Kitchen

16 May

The entrance to Stellenbosch Kitchen on Andringa Street, early evening.

This year, I’ll be celebrating my 40th year in Stellenbosch. A year ago we made a move from the outskirts of town to the beautiful bustling historical centre. While we gave up a chunk of living space (in size) in the process, we gained the incredible European-like lifestyle of locking up our apartment and walking a short distance to the best coffee shops and restaurants the Winelands has to offer.

Dorp Street and Church Street is where it’s at: the centre of my beautiful town when it comes to tourism, social hotspots, food and wine. Right in the middle of it all is Stellenbosch Hotel and its recently renovated restaurant Stellenbosch Kitchen – pretty much back to back with its sister-hotel Coopmanhuijs Hotel & Spa featuring Helena’s Restaurant. I recently had the opportunity to visit Stellenbosch Kitchen for dinner and lunch respectively, and would love to share my experiences with you.

The landmark veranda of Stellenbosch Kitchen on Andringa Street, early evening, just before the arrival of dinner guests.

Stellenbosch Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in town, built on Simon van der Stel’s property (a grant) between 1692 and 1701. It has since been restored in 1987 and declared a national monument. After the refurbishment in 2016, the name Jan Cats Restaurant was replaced by Stellenbosch Kitchen, featuring an eclectic yet contemporary spin on the existing historical eatery.

The space that is now called Stellenbosch Kitchen has forever been a local hotspot to both students, the mid-town working crowd and the wealthy. Their bistro-style fare has been a favourite for decades, being enjoyed on the tree-rich veranda that envelopes their landmark corner on Dorp and Andringa streets.

Here are my lunch and dinner experiences in pictures.

One of the massive old oak trees that surround Stellenbosch Hotel.

Our 18h00 arrival at Stellenbosch Kitchen meets a neatly prepped restaurant space.

Chef at work – the service hatch at Stellenbosch Kitchen.

Bread board with red wine butter and hummus. All bread baked in-house.

The dinner menu at Stellenbosch Kitchen. This menu changes seasonally.

An exceptional wine list is one of the attractions at Stellenbosch Kitchen. Here we’re enjoying Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs Shiraz.

Potato gnocchi, butternut, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, goat’s milk feta, basil pesto. Beautifully cooked gnocchi with a mixture of very punchy ingredients.

Pan-seared line fish, fennel velouté, prawn barley risotto, grilled prawn, red pepper fondue. Perfectly cooked line fish, and I really enjoyed the texture of the barley risotto.

Ale-battered hake, hand-cut potato chips, sauce tartare, charred lemon, mushy peas. A stunning dish, yet so simple. Perfect tartare, fluffy hake, super crunchy chips – what more do you want?

Fondant of black cherry and Valrhona chocolate, Bulgarian yoghurt ice cream. Excellent texture and an interesting spin on the classic fondant – maybe a little too bitter and sour for my personal preference. Beautiful plating and delicious ice cream.

Our second visit was an early lunch at 11h30 – also much better lighting by day for my camera!

A buttery yellow glass of Jordan Chardonnay for me.

Roasted rack of Karoo Lamb, carrot purée, spiced pear chutney, polenta, fine beans. This dish is from the dinner menu, but was made for us on special request over lunch. It is one of the most popular dishes on the menu and well worth ordering (for dinner).

Osso bucco with risotto milanese. This dish certainly won’t win any prizes for plating, but it is hearty and moorish and hits all the right spots for comforting winter fare.

Apple and almond tart, vanilla bean ice cream, ginger crumble, crème anglaise – definitely my favourite dessert on the menu. They should serve this delicious pastry for breakfast too!

Coconut panna cotta, compressed pineapple, mango caviar, passion fruit mushrooms.

Stellenbosch Kitchen is well worth a regular visit, whether for a mid-week lunch, a lazy weekend dinner, or a special occasion with friends from abroad.

Thank you to the staff and management of Stellenbosch Kitchen for hosting us. We’ll certainly be back for more.

Make your booking:

Tel: +27 (0)21 883-2893
Address: Corner of Dorp & Andringa Streets, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa

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Mothers Day Lunch with Poetry Stores

12 May

A delectable home cooked feast from Barbara Joubert’s book KOSTALGIE, available from Poetry Stores. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

There’s nothing that says “I love you” like a thoughtful, scrumptious and beautiful home-cooked meal. The recipes in Barbara Joubert’s (Afrikaans) book Kostalgie are the perfect choices for a Mothers Day lunch at home, with flavours and influences from her travels all around the world.

I have never made caramelized figs before, and they truly are just magnificent to look at. Almost too beautiful to eat! With the creamy custard tart, they are the stuff dreams are made of.

I love slow roasted pork – it seems to always get raving reviews in my house. I opted for serving the pork with buttery beans instead of potatoes, because of my choice of pasta and tomatoes as a side dish (a stunning meal on its own too).

Have a happy Mothers Day everyone!

Barbara’s book, the homeware and beautiful black floral scarf are all available online and in store from Poetry Stores.

Tagliatelle with burst tomatoes, blue cheese and rocket. Photography by Tasha Seccombe

Homemade tagliatelle with burst tomatoes and blue cheese (serves 6)

(Recipe from Barbara Joubert’s Kostalgie)

For the tagliatelle:
300 g (535 ml) cake flour
3 eggs
20 ml olive oil
10 ml water

For the burst tomatoes:
125 ml olive oil
3 garlic cloves
550 g small red and yellow rosa tomatoes
salt and freshly ground pepper
a handful fresh basil leaves
100 g blue cheese
40 g rocket

For the tagliatelle:
Place the flour in the bowl of an electric mixer with dough hook. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs. Switch the machine on at low speed. Add the olive oil and water. Increase the speed until a soft dough forms. If the dough is too stiff, you can add a little water. Knead for 10 minutes with the machine, then take the dough out and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rest for 1 hour at room temperature. If you have a pasta machine, sprinkle a little flour on your working surface and on the rollers of the machine. Cut the dough into smaller pieces. Set your machine on number 7 and feed the dough through. Set it one setting lower, feeding the dough through until you get to number 1 (the thinnest setting). Hang the pasta sheets over the back of chairs for about 20 minutes to dry out a little. Attach the tagliatelle attachment to the machine, then feed the sheets through the cutter. Place the bundles of cut tagliatelle onto a baking tray sprinkled with flour. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a little olive oil, then add the pasta and cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain and top with the roasted saucy tomatoes.

For the burst tomatoes:
Heat olive oil in a large deep pan. Add the garlic whole and fry for about 2 minutes to flavour the oil. Add the tomatoes and fry until they burst. Season with salt & pepper. Tear basil leaves in pieces and mix with the sauce. Cut slices of blue cheese and arrange on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with rocket and serve.

My notes: A good quality store bought tagliatelle will also work well, if you don’t have a pasta machine.

Overnight leg of pork, so soft that you can pull it with a fork. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Overnight leg of pork (serves 6)

(Recipe from Barbara Joubert’s Kostalgie)

100 ml olive oil
2 kg leg of pork (I used boneless)
juice of a lemon
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
salt & freshly ground black pepper
3 bay leaves
250 ml white wine
8 baby leeks
1 x 439 g can chestnuts

Preheat oven to 200 C. Place half the olive oil in a roasting tray. Place the pork in the bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Rub the garlic all over. Season with salt & pepper, then add the rest of the olive oil. Place in oven with skin side down. Remove after 30 minutes, then turn the leg over with skin side up. Cover with foil. Lower heat to 140 C, then roast for 6 hours.
Remove the netting around the meat, then add the bay leaves, wine, leeks and chestnuts. Roast uncovered for an hour at 180 C. Remember the skin won’t be crispy. The meat will be soft enough to pull apart with forks.

My notes: The original recipe calls for leeks, which were unfortunately out of stock everywhere at the time of the shoot, so I substituted these with slices of red onion. I also couldn’t find chestnuts, but I’m sure these will be stocked at a good exotic speciality store.

Custard tart with caramelized figs. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Custard tart with caramelized figs (serves 8-10)

(Recipe from Barbara Joubert’s Kostalgie)

For the dough:
200 g (360 ml) cake flour
50 g (60 ml) caster sugar
100 g (110 ml) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 egg yolk
45-60 ml cold water

Place the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor. Mix until the butter is well incorporated. Add the yolk and mix. With the motor running, add the water spoon by spoon, until it just comes together. Remove from mixer and cover with plastic wrap. Rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200 C. Roll out dough on a floured surface. Line a greased 18 cm tart tin with the dough, then prick with a fork all over. Line with baking paper on top and fill with dried beans. Bake blink for 10 minutes at 200 C. Remove paper and beans and bake for another 5 minutes until the base is cooked.

For the filling:
10 egg yolks
20 g (40 ml) cornflour
125 g (150 g) caster sugar
2 ml vanilla powder
200 ml milk
500 ml cream

Whisk the yolks, cornflour, sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer in a mixing bowl. Heat the milk and cream together in a pot, but don’t let it boil. Add the cream mixture to the egg mixture and mix well. Pour back into the pot, then continue stirring over medium heat until the custard thickens. (You don’t want to make scrambled eggs!) Pour the custard into another bowl and place a piece of wax paper on top to prevent a skin from forming. Let it cool to room temperature. Pour filling in baked tart base and bake for 20 minutes at 180 C. Let it cool overnight, preferable in the fridge.

For the caramelized figs:
500 g (625 ml) sugar
100 ml water
about 25 small figs

Put the sugar and water in a large pot with a lid and place over medium heat until the sugar has melted. Now remove the lid and let it boil until it reaches a light caramel colour. The caramel will continue to darken, so remove from the heat immediately. Carefully dip the figs into the hot caramel and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper to cool. Place on top of the cooled tart when ready to serve.

My notes: The recipe doesn’t mention what size eggs to use, but I found that XL is adequate. I found that I needed to increase the baking time for the base and for the assembled tart to achieve a golden brown result. I couldn’t find small figs, so 9 large ones were enough as a substitute. Don’t caramelize the figs long before you’ll be serving the tart, as the caramel will eventually start to melt as the figs release steam and water, and you’ll be left with syrupy half-coated figs. (Remember, the caramel will harden on standing in the pot, so when you’re done dipping the figs, carefully add some boiling water to the caramel and leave to soften before cleaning.)

This post was created in collaboration with Poetry Stores.

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Review: Lunch at FABER

1 Mar

The magnificent mountain and garden view from the front porch at FABER, Avondale.

I was recently invited to visit FABER – a new restaurant at Avondale Farm in the Paarl wine district. Avondale is a 300 year old, family-run farm that is situated on Lustigan Road, Klein Drakenstein, on the slopes of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains.

FABER marks the meeting of minds and passions between a chef and a winemaker, paying tribute to the craftsmanship in both the kitchen and the Avondale cellar. With a shared commitment to sustainability, it’s no surprise that acclaimed chef Eric Bulpitt and Avondale proprietor Johnathan Grieve decided to collaborate.

Proprietor Johnathan Grieve and chef Eric Bulpitt welcoming the crowd.

“I’ve always believed that we as chefs are craftsmen,” says Bulpitt, explaining the meaning behind FABER, the Latin word for artisan, or craftsman. “We work with our hands, using produce from the land. It’s the perfect way to capture who we are and what we do.”

“It’s always been a goal of ours to open a restaurant on Avondale. We’ve looked at it for over 10 years, but never really found the right chef,” explains Grieve. “I’m a firm believer that when the energies are correct the partnership will happen, but up until now that hasn’t happened. When we met Eric we knew we’d found the perfect partner.”

“We have very similar belief systems in our respect for nature and a natural approach,” adds Bulpitt. “We’ll be working hand in hand together in telling the story of Avondale through the food at FABER. Whatever’s in season on the day (from the fields or the vegetable garden), we’ll bring that onto the plate and tell the story of where it comes from. It’s a dish that sums up exactly what FABER stands for.”

Chef Eric Bulpitt and team getting ready to plate our pastrami course.

Our lunch menu. I love FABER’s logo.

Avondale’s organic and biodynamic food garden has already been extended to produce fresh vegetables and herbs for the restaurant, while stone fruits and citrus from the farm’s orchards arrive with the changing seasons. Eggs are harvested daily from the eco-friendly egg-mobile housing Avondale’s free range chickens, and in time the farm will provide a steady march of broiler chickens and pasture-reared organic beef to the kitchen.

The restaurant interior at FABER.

The décor inside the renovated dining space is a blend of country-style comfort and relaxed elegance. Interior designer Annie Dower helped to infuse the Old Cape-style space with a bright modern country edge. Crockery was handcrafted at the Potters Gallery in Kleinmond, while crystal stemware from Schott Zwiesel showcases the terroir-driven wines from Avondale. Artworks by local painter Scats Esterhuyse are seen on the walls along with delicate botanical prints, echoing the landscape seen from the terrace. Keeping in line with their sustainability theme, the table tops, bar counters and wooden planter boxes are all crafted from stone pines on the estate that were felled when a fire swept Avondale a decade ago.

One of the planter boxes at FABER.

FABER is a new gem on the culinary Winelands landscape. With exceptional views, wines and food, they are sure to become a hot favourite. Here are some of the dishes that I tried at my visit:

Amuse bouche.

Black Angus pastrami, mustard, mustard chantilly and fried celery leaf, to be topped off with a celeriac veloute (which was poured over directly after I took this picture.)

Avondale happy chicken, garlic maize rice, crispy cauliflower, radish and mustard flowers.

Lemon verbena infused watermelon carpaccio, watermelon and basil sorbet, consommé and jellies. The sorbet was one of the best things that I had tasted on the menu – just brilliant.

A box of truffles and coffee for the road.

  • 5-course lunch menu: R535
  • 5 course dinner menu with Avondale wine pairings: R825
  • (Note: Prices subject to change, please check website for more info.)

The restaurant is open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday from 12h00 – 15h00 and for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday from 18H30 – 21h00. Reservations recommended. For bookings and more information phone 021-202 1219 or email faber@avondalewine.co.za. Visit FABER on Facebook and follow faber_sa on Instagram.

Thank you to Manley Communications and Avondale for the opportunity to visit FABER.

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Review: Vegetarian tasting menu at Haute Cabrière

10 Jan

Haute Cabriere restaurant interior (photography by Charles Russell)

Last year, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Haute Cabrière’s new vegetarian tasting menu on the 4th of December in Franschhoek. This 6-course food and wine experience is Pinot Noir inspired, and a product of chef Ryan Shell’s new vegetable garden at Haute Cabrière.

Chef Ryan Shell (photography by Charles Russell)

As Ryan put it: “In the kitchen, we talk about root to flower eating. Vegetables are such an exciting way of showcasing what’s in season”. With this in mind, we set off to a culinary wonderland adventure, each course surprising us with beautiful textures, intense umami flavours, intricate techniques and a sense of true fun with ingredients. Below is the full menu:

The vegetarian tasting menu at Haute Cabrière:
(This 6-course Vegetarian tasting menu is available for dinner at R595 including wine pairing.)

Chilled tomato consommé, textures and tastes of tomato, burnt mozzarella.

Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir

***

Asparagus and truffle custard, organic asparagus tips and pumpkin seed crumble.

Pierre Jourdan Tranquille

***

Smoked ricotta ravioli, flavours of beetroot.

Haute Cabriere Unwooded Pinot Noir 2011

***

Celeriac soufflé, remoulade, honey and celeriac puree.

Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir 2009

***

Roasted porcini, mushroom tartare, gremolata emulsion.

Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir 2010

***

Peppe Charlot, fennel.

Pierre Jordan Ratafia

***

Trio of Valrhona chocolate.

Pierre Jordan Blanc de Blanc

Tomato Consommé and burnt mozzarella (photography by Jason van der Merwe)

Asparagus and truffle custard, organic asparagus tips and pumpkin seed crumble (photography by Jason van der Merwe)

Smoked ricotta ravioli, flavors of beetroot (photography by Charles Russell)

Celeriac soufflé, remoulade, honey and celeriac puree (photography by Jason van der Merwe)

Roasted porcini, mushroom tartare, gremolata emulsion (photography by Jason van der Merwe)

Peppe Charlot, fennel (photography by Jason van der Merwe)

Trio of Valrhona chocolate (photography by Jason van der Merwe)

This dining experience was one of my absolute highlights of 2013. Every course was truly magical, and the wine pairings were just spot-on. Considering that some of the best restaurants in the world are situated in Franschhoek, Haute Cabrière had a fierce reputation to live up to – one which they surpassed by miles.

This menu also puts a new spotlight on vegetarian cooking, and will surely satisfy even the most discerning meat lover with their fresh spin on meatless cooking and intelligent way of creating bold flavours. I felt a new respect for vegetarian fine dining in chef Ryan Shell’s capable hands, and cannot wait to experience more of it.

If you are a Pinot Noir lover, a food and wine pairing connoisseur, a fine dining lover or just someone looking for great quality vegetarian fare, the vegetarian tasting menu at Haute Cabrière is highly recommended.

Haute Cabrière’s Tasting Room and Restaurant are both situated on Franschhoek Pass (Lambrecht Street), Franschhoek. Haute Cabrière Cellar Restaurant is open for lunch from 12 noon to 3pm Tuesday to Sunday; and dinner from 7pm to 9pm Tuesday to Saturday. For reservations and enquiries: Email reservations@cabriere.co.za or call 021 876 8500.

For press assistance contact Ian and Lise Manley of Manley Communications on 0861 MANLEY (626 539), email to lise@publicity.co.za or visit the Press Room of Manley Communications at www.manleycommunications.co.za. All images supplied by Manley Communications.

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Review: Summer set menu at The Red Table, Nederburg

7 Jan

The Red Table Restaurant at Nederburg, Paarl

I’ve reviewed The Red Table Restaurant at Nederburg in Paarl once before in April 2013, just after they opened their doors. My experience was delightful – a pristine setting with great quality bistro food and very friendly service. So I welcomed a second invitation to experience their summer set menu on the 5th of December 2013.

Our table on the huge lawn under the large shady trees.

The Red Table’s a la carte menu is already very well priced, and I consider it one of the best value for money dining experiences in the Winelands. The new summer set menu is a bargain at only R240 for a 5 course lunch including wine pairings from their Heritage Hero series, or R195 for 4 courses including wine pairings. The set menu was designed around the wines, each with a strong individual personality, so it seems only fit that the menu descriptions are centred around the wines and their key notes:

1. THE YOUNG AIRHAWK

A clear, light green wooded Sauvignon Blanc with a bouquet of green figs, asparagus and minerality. It is fresh, crisp and zesty and is the ideal partner to summer salads, and merges beautifully with our

Slow roasted tomato tartlet with chevin and baby leaves.

2. THE ANCHORMAN

Made from Chenin Blanc, the Anchorman is a brilliant wine with a golden hue, reminiscent of apricots and oranges and is a delight when paired with pastas such as our

Homemade ravioli filled with butternut accompanied by burnt sage butter and crispy parma ham.

3. THE MOTORCYCLE MARVEL

This Rhône-style blend of Grenache, Carignan and Shiraz is a full bodied dark and intense red wine, and is outstanding when enjoyed with full flavoured dishes such as our

Cape Malay lentil bobotie samosa served with tomato salsa.

4. THE BREW MASTER

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc this is a dark, intense red wine with concentrated aromas of dark fruit. Ideal with red meat, it is the perfect accompaniment to our

Gourmet lamb burger with homemade pomme frites and a Brew Master jus.

5. THE BEAUTIFUL LADY

Light, straw yellow, it is a beautiful wine made entirely from Gewurztraminer, and infused with nuances of rose petals and Turkish delight, and is excellent as an aperitif or partner to fruit flans such as our

Rosewater infused jelly with naartjie served with Gewurztraminer custard.

First course: Slow roasted tomato tartlet with chevin and baby leaves

Fourth course: Gourmet lamb burger with homemade pomme frites and a Brew Master jus

Be sure to take your time when visiting The Red Table Restaurant for this lunch experience, as this is a truly laid-back place that will make you want to linger longer. The food is scrumptious bistro fare, so don’t expect fine dining. I especially enjoyed the Cape Malay lentil bobotie samoosa (3rd course) and the Gewurztraminer custard (5th course).

I can highly recommend The Red Table on a beautiful day for families with kids, but also for anyone who is looking for a high quality, exceptional value-for-money wine estate lunch experience. Thank you very much to the restaurant manageress Wilmien and our waitress Gail for exceptional service and authentic Winelands hospitality.

The Red Table Restaurant at Nederburg is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays for lunch from 11h00, and on Sundays from 12h00. Closed on Mondays. For reservations, contact 021-877 5155 or theredtable@nederburg.co.za.

Our waitress Gail with a bottle of The Young Airhawk, a sauvignon blanc from Nederburg.

 

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Review: Picnic at Warwick

29 Oct

Warwick’s expansive lawn, perfect for picnics.

I was invited (with my family) to visit Warwick Wine Estate on the R44 outside Stellenbosch on the 13th of October, in order to experience their Gourmet Picnic. Warwick is a family-run estate, and their approach is hands-on, personal and family friendly.

The estate and views are majestic: bright green perfectly kept lawns, lots of shade in the shape of garden umbrellas and trees (more secluded picnic pod structures are also available between the trees), a beautiful pond, immaculate surrounding mountains & vineyards. The atmosphere at Warwick is serene without being intimidating – a really relaxing vibe.

Warwick is situated on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts.

The gourmet picnic for two (R350 in total) consists of the following, and does not included wine or drinks:

  • 2 x ciabattas
  • pickled beetroot, pecan nut, goat’s cheese, quinoa & wild rocket salad
  • gazpacho salad with a chilli & garlic dressing
  • grilled beef tagliata with aoli & truffle oil
  • Mediterranean pesto
  • prosciutto skewer with basil, melon & bocconcini
  • Richard Bosman’s coppa ham
  • Forest Hill baby grand brie
  • Healey’s mature cheddar
  • Loved Ponies 3 fruit marmalade
  • vanilla cheesecake with mixed berry compote

This generous basket of culinary goodies is a true Winelands feast. All the elements were selected with care, the packaging is really appealing and the flavours are all bright and summery. I can recommend this as a fabulously effortless way to spend a lazy sunny afternoon, lounging on the pillows under the umbrellas or sitting comfortably at a picnic table. It is a great family feast (kids baskets also available at R49/child), but also perfect for a romantic day out.

One of the picnic pods at Warwick, a more private atmosphere.

Warwick’s wines are all of very high quality, but they are renowned for their impeccable range of red wines. Be sure to do a full tasting when you visit the estate. For the adventurous, there’s also the option of going on a guided “Big 5 Wine Safari” to see more of the estate and their surrounding vineyards.

The Warwick Gourmet Picnic is one of the best “things to do” on a beautiful day in the Winelands – top quality setting, great food and world class wines. I’ll surely be back this season for more.

Warwick is open everyday from 10h00-17h00. Contact them on info@warwickwine.com or 021-884 4410.

Thank you to Mike Ratcliffe and the Warwick team for a fantastic picnic experience. All pictures courtesy of Warwick Wine Estate.

Enjoy your picnic lunch at a table, or on the lawn.

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Review: Lunch at Brenaissance

18 Sep

Brenaissance Wine and Stud Farm in Devon Valley, Stellenbosch (picture courtesy of Brenaissance)

I was invited to Brenaissance Wine & Stud Estate‘s Café Blanc de Noir for lunch last week. They are situated in the beautiful Devon Valley on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, a relatively new project by owners Tom and Hayley Breytenbach (the Café opened in 2012).

Having heard of Brenaissance’s pizza and wine pairings, me and Schalk decided to try it out. Café Blanc de Noir is suitable kitted out in black and white, and the building has a strikingly modern yet rustic appearance.

The entrance to Café Blanc de Noir at Brenaissance (picture courtesy of Brenaissance)

After getting seated, we ordered the pizza and wine pairing from the menu, and our waiter explained how it would work. We each received a large laminated placemat with info about each of the 4 wines that we were about to drink, and then there was space for a rectangular wooden board  containing a rectangular pizza with 4 different topping combinations. Brenaissance’s signature rectangular pizzas are made by rolling out their pizza dough by hand, paper thin, and then using a large rectangular cutter (like a large cookie cutter) to standardize each one. The dough is pre-baked, then stacked for later. They use a wood fired oven and the pizzas have a very nice char on the edges – just the way I like it.

The pizza and wine pairing at Café Blanc de Noir.

 

Here is the full description of Brenaissance’s Café Blanc de Noir pizza & wine pairing (R160/person):

Parma ham pizza with garlic, rosa tomatoes, avo, mixed greens, parmesan shavings and pesto olive oil, served with Brenaissance Knight of White Chardonnay 2010

Caramelised onion pizza with kalamata olives, danish feta, mixed green & balsamic glaze, served with Brenaissance Queen of Hearts Merlot 2010

Biltong pizza with sweet fig, danish feta, mixed greens & balsamic glaze, served with Brenaissance Full House Bordeaux Blend 2010

Cajun chicken pizza with chorizo, red onion, mushrooms, mixed greens and chilli infused olive oil, served with Brenaissance Jack of Diamonds Shiraz 2009

 

My favourite pizza combination was the first option with parma ham and avo – really delicious! But I have to say that Brenaissance’s wines completely blew us away. All 4 wines that we tasted were superb quality, and I would seriously recommend a wine tasting at Brenaissance for true wine lovers who want to discover something new.

The atmosphere at Brenaissance was relaxed and the pizza was really scrumptious. The venue is child friendly with a large play area across the stream (in full view of the parents, don’t worry!). This place will certainly be a huge hit in warmer weather, for lazy lunches and wine tastings with lots of friends and family.

Contact Brenaissance’s Café Blanc de Noir on 021-200 2644 for bookings. They also have facilities to cater for events, weddings and accommodation.

Thank you very much to Brenaissance for the lovely lunch, we’ll be back soon!

Rectangular pizzas (picture courtesy of Brenaissance)

The kitchen and service station at Café Blanc de Noir

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Review: Lunch at Leopard’s Leap

11 Jun

A quick break in the weather helped to photograph the outside of Leopard’s Leap against the magical backdrop of the Franschhoek mountains.

I received an invitation to experience the rotisserie lunch at Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek this past weekend. The invitation said that I could “bring my family”, so I strapped my 2 year old daughter in her car seat and asked my brother Dirk and his partner Frans to join us.

I had been to Leopard’s Leap once before for a wine tasting, and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of their wines (at really great prices). I noticed the rotisserie lunch offering (which also include a children’s menu), and vowed to come back for it soon.

It was a dreary, wet, stormy day in the Cape Winelands on Saturday. As we arrived in the parking lot at Leopard’s Leap, we were greeted by a friendly staff member who offered us umbrellas – what a nice touch! Inside, we each received a glass of sparking wine on arrival at the table. As if on cue, a live band started playing relaxing jazzy music on the covered stoep where we were seated. The interior of Leopard’s Leap is a very impressive space. With it’s high ceilings, industrial feel, and really large floor size, this place can accommodate quite a lot of people before looking busy. But despite the size of the place, there is a definite cozy atmosphere with clever textured elements, couch areas and fireplaces. The display of the rotisserie lunch buffet is truly mouthwatering, and it certainly makes you very hungry for great food! Add some breathtaking views of the Franschhoek mountains and the scene is set for a great family lunch.

Butternut and roasted pepper soup

We ordered a bottle of Family Vineyards Shiraz Mourvedre, and headed over to the soup station for our starter course. The chef on duty dished us bowls full of steaming butternut and roasted pepper soup, topped off with fresh chives and croutons. It was deliciously comforting and the perfect food for the dreary weather outside.

The rotisserie chef in action. (picture courtesy of Leopard’s Leap)

After the soup I headed over to the salad/vegetable buffet (all sourced from their own organic vegetable garden), where I helped myself to a selection of really great roasted vegetables, couscous with butternut and danish feta, tzatziki, curried potatoes and springbok pie. The selection was very large, so I only tasted these few dishes – there were plenty other! After weighing my plate, they asked me which of the rotisserie meats I was interested in. I opted for the lamb neck and the pork belly (I’ll have to go back for the chicken!), and drizzled the pork with some apple sauce.

Dirk, Frans and myself at the table with our rotisserie lunch plates.

The food was really scrumptious, and the crackling on the pork belly was some of the crispiest I had ever had. All of the meats and side dishes were really tender and flavoursome, and I can truly say it is superb family dining. Coupled with very friendly service and a really attentive team, this was one of the nicest family restaurants that I had been to in a long time. Leopard’s Leap is certainly doing things right, and they deserve to have their seats full all of the time.

The dessert buffet at Leopard’s Leap.

For dessert, we had a choice of cupcakes (each one individually plated and differently decorated – a hit with my daughter!), chocolate mousse (my favourite of the day), pecan pie, apple pie, chocolate brownies, marshmallow rice crispies squares (meant for the kids, but I had one and it was great), malva pudding, vanilla custard and cream. We had coffee before we hit the wet road again, and spent a total of 3 hours at the restaurant. It was such a relaxing, wonderful lunch experience, and I can certainly recommend it to families with young children (they also have a great outside play area and a huge lawn), or anyone that want to gather around a table in a casual atmosphere with abundant home-style food, top class service and well-priced wines. Amongst all of the immaculate fine-dining restaurants in Franschhoek, Leopard’s Leap certainly stands out as something refreshingly different – more laid-back, more family-friendly, but still a top quality experience.

Thank you very much to the team at Leopard’s Leap for making us feel so welcome and looked after! We’ll certainly be back for more.

A table full of friends, great food and excellent wine at Leopard’s Leap (picture courtesy of Leopard’s Leap)

More info:

The food offering is available from Wednesdays to Sundays from 11:30 to 15:00.

A tempting selection of culinary and wine related items, gifts and take-away delights is available from the shop.

For more information on Leopard’s Leap Wines and all the new activities at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards, please visit www.leopards-leap.com or contact Harry at +27 (0)21 876 8002.

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