Tag Archives: restaurant

Lunch at Waverley Hills and a stayover at Orchard Stay, Wolseley

30 Jul

The roaring fireplace at Waverley Hills, ready to welcome guests in winter.

 

We were recently invited to visit Waverley Hills for a taste of their new menu, and a stayover afterwards at Orchard Stay – all in the beautiful Wolseley countryside between Tulbagh and Ceres off the R46 at the foothills of the Witzenberg mountain range.

Just 90 minutes from Cape Town, Waverley Hills is a premier organic wine producer, restaurant and function destination. The venue’s twin fireplaces and deep leather couches make it especially popular as a winter meal-stop for families out to see the snow on surrounding peaks, or for bikers and road trippers keen to explore a countryside ride with magnificent views.

Inspired by the the spectacular landscape, chef Francois du Toit has designed an enticing countryside menu that’ll have you linger lazily this winter. “Being out in the country is about hitting the pause button and I’ve made that my starting point for every new dish,” he says. “It employs seasonal ingredients as well as organic or bio-dynamically farmed produce where possible.

The food at Waverley Hills embodies the essence of hearty winter fare: deep and robust flavours, generous portions and comforting textures. All a la carte menu items come with a recommended wine pairing per glass. Have a look at our experience in pictures, below.

Waverley Hills’ restaurant, which is fully licensed, is open six days a week for breakfast and lunch, and twice for dinners on Wednesdays and Fridays. Contact: info@waverleyhills.co.za | Tel: 023-231 0002.

Note: The restaurant also offers a dedicated, five-course food and wine pairing menu, although bookings are required a week in advance.

The restaurant at Waverley Hills is spectaculary set at the foothills of the Witzenberg Mountains, just outside Wolseley.

Waverley Hills chardonnay to go with my starter.

 

My starter: Wild mushrooms, parmesan custard cream, truffle – with Waverley Hills Chardonnay 2016. Although very rich, this is my typical favourite food. Very creamy, very well seasoned, earthy and indulgent.

Schalk’s starter: Gambas pil pil, prawns fried in spiced paprika garlic parsley oil, ciabatta – with Waverley Hills Cabernet No-added Sulphites. This was the best dish of the day, and we could have eaten a bucket full of it! Punchy flavours, absolutely delicious.

My main course: Fish & chips – soy & ginger marinated kabeljou, spiced mushy corn, fries, lime mayonnaise – served with Waverley Hills Pinot Grigio. The mushy corn was a welcome sweet addition to traditional fish & chips. Perhaps the chips wasn’t even needed – the kabeljou, mielies & mayonnaise were delicious on their own.

Schalk’s main course: Pork belly, twice cooked pork neck, honeycomb, bacon jus, lemon pickled apple, pearl couscous – served with Waverley Hills Grenache. This dish is highly recommended.

The restaurant interior at Waverley Hills.

Schalk’s dessert: Tiramisu (you can choose from a black board with three or more choices). Very decadent and delicious.

My dessert: Pavlova with caramelized apples in toffee sauce and lemon curd. A few classic, comforting winter flavours. Perhaps a dollop of softly whipped cream would have made it even more delicious.

Taking a stroll in the garden at Waverley Hills.

The view of the mountain at the restaurant parking area – you are so close to nature here.

View of one of the mountain ranges as we left Waverley Hills. So many spectacular sights in this area!


After lunch, we checked in at Orchard Stay at Platvlei Farm, a self catering cottage in the middle of fruit orchards next to a tranquil pond, about 10km from Waverley Hills. I couldn’t stop taking photographs of this place from the moment we arrived – it truly is one of the most beautiful self-catering countryside cottage settings that I’ve ever seen, and one that deserves the time for immersing oneself into unplugging from city life.

Here’s the low-down: Two stylish bedrooms (both with en-suite bathrooms) with extra length beds. Main bedroom: king-size bed,  second room: twin beds which can convert to a king size bed. Rest your eyes on views of the orchards and Mostertshoek Mountain. Large fold back doors lead onto a covered wrap-around terrace. Fully equipped kitchen and covered built in braai. Lazy days can be enjoyed on the terrace, out on the lawn or curled up on the couch in the lounge. On winter days set the fireplace alight for a cosy day/night in. The eco-pool and hot tub has been purposely designed to be enjoyed all year round. The eco-pool is perfect for cooling off, relaxing with a book or drink, or just hanging out with family and friends.  The hot tub is fueled by a wood burner, great for an evening dip or night time star gazing. No tv (purposefully), but great, free wifi. Note: Orchard Stay is child friendly, but not pet friendly.

​Check here for availability and rates. Check out our stay in pictures below – it was breathtaking, spacious and exceptionally tranquil.

Contact Orchard Stay: info@orchardstay.co.za | Cell: 071-105 3121.

Arriving at Orchard Stay, Platvlei Farm.

The stunning cottage at Orchard Stay.

Table on the stoep at Orchard Stay, looking out onto the eco pool and hot tub.

Outside braai stocked with wood at Orchard Stay.

The beautiful Orchard Stay logo, as captured in tile detail next to the braai area.

The spacious, open plan kitchen at Orchard Stay.

A sunny corner on the couch alongside colourful wall art at Orchard Stay.

The inside fireplace at Orchard Stay.

The main bedroom at Orchard Stay.

Main on-suite bathroom with shower and bath, at Orchard Stay.

Second bedroom at Orchard Stay.

The wood fired hot tub, getting warm for a dip at Orchard Stay.

A sunny nook on the wrap-around stoep outside the main bedroom.

Orchard view from the front porch across the pond.

Pond view of the hot tub and surrounds.

Spectacular pond mirror views.

As the sun was setting, our fire was roaring inside and our braai was lit. Bliss.

Dusk at Orchard Stay. Pure magic.

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Lanzerac: The jewel of Stellenbosch is back and better than ever

3 Jul

It’s no exaggeration to say that Lanzerac is an iconic landmark in Stellenbosch. David Rawdon was the first hotelier to convert the historical homestead and outbuildings – first established in 1692 – into a hotel in 1959. Today the property represents a multi-faceted destination that includes a luxurious five star hotel with conference and event facilities, winery, deli, bar, multiple restaurants (including the Manor Kitchen), tasting room and day spa.

After a devastating fire in the early hours of 28 May 2017 that severely damaged the main operational areas of the hotel, extensive renovations have been going on for the past year, closing the hotel for guests until the grand reopening on the 1st July 2018.  I was extremely fortunate to be one of the first guests to visit Lanzerac this past weekend for a taste of their many premium offerings, including lunch at the deli, wine tasting, dinner at the brand new restaurant, staying over in a newly renovated room and enjoying a treatment and the hydro facilities at their world class spa.

For someone like me who grew up around the corner from Lanzerac, this grande dame of Stellenbosch has played a landmark role in my life and in the lives of so many others. Ask around – you’ll hear stories of Lanzerac’s hey-days as a prime student hang-out spot in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Do you remember their fabulous restaurant Vinkel and Koljander? That place was my first experience as a waiter in 1995 – situated in the building that now houses the tasting room and deli. I also remember how we visited the terrace area as youngsters, ordering our first legal drinks and feeling super fancy. I learned to love wine with Lanzerac’s iconic pinotage rosé – then still in their famous round bellied bottles.

The terrible fire has been a catalyst for the birth of a brand new era for Lanzerac. Out of tragedy, a world class hospitality facility has risen better and bolder than ever before. The hotel’s main operational areas has been transformed sporting a much more contemporary and airy feel with higher ceilings and open plan spaces, featuring a lot of glass and marble alongside the original historical wood and stone. Bold, eclectic, vintage & antique furniture pieces add to the magic of the new Lanzerac, including a massive antique bar display cupboard and some of the fire damaged re-framed artworks in the bar area. The renovation is an ongoing process, with plans for the manor house still to be executed and a large chef’s table room situated in the old Danie Craven Lounge still to be furnished. Go take a look – the old-world historical feel of Lanzerac is still strongly present, but the renovations provide an unmistakable modern atmosphere filled with light and positive space.

Hotel and spa guests can make use of the spa’s hydro facilites that include the heated pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and mist area. Multiple world class treatment options are available with state of the art equipment. I enjoyed a 60 minute full body massage with therapist Antoinette and it was a welcome relaxing pamper that left me walking on a cloud for the rest of the day. The spa facilities are breathtaking and highly recommended.

The deli and tasting room are two of the most accessible areas of Lanzerac in terms of affordability for the public – have a taste of their premium wines and enjoy a delicious breakfast or lunch.

Staying at the hotel is the epitome of luxury and no detail has been spared to ensure the ultimate five star winelands getaway. We were welcomed to our room with salty treats from the deli (beef biltong, honey spiced nuts and infused olives) as well as a plate of sweet treats from the kitchen (petit fours, macarons and chocolate dipped strawberries). Complimentary mini bars are stocked daily – yes, complimentary. Bathrooms have underfloor heating and heated towel rails – so comforting during winter especially. The upholstered bathroom bench was one of the best traits of our huge bathroom, and I now need one in my life!

Our dinner at the brand new Manor Kitchen headed by Chef Stephen Frazer was a great reflection of what the new Lanzerac stands for: contemporary twists on classic dishes – inventive, beautifully plated and a pleasure to eat. The highlight of my dinner was the perfectly crafted raspberry soufflé – I’ll go back for more soon, so I hope they keep it on the menu for a while!

Take a look at some of the photographs of our stay. I’ve chosen 50 photographs, making this my most comprehensive featured post ever (I could have easily chosen 50 more). Lanzerac is a fabulous getaway during winter with many cosy fire places and warm indoor air-conditioning. Sitting in the hot jaccuzi with a glass of bubbly while the rain was pouring down outside was an absolute highlight! What a pleasure.

Catch the special Winter Retreat Package: Enjoy a one night stay for two in a King or Twin room, with select mini-bar, including an English breakfast, lunch at the Lanzerac Deli, a premium tasting, 60 minute full body massage, use of the hydro facilities and complimentary shuttle services to and from Stellenbosch town for R6500 per couple. Available until 30 September 2018 – see full info below.

 

I took a tour of the grounds and hotel facilities:

The reception entrance to Lanzerac Hotel. The new reception area is situated directly on the left after entering the existing hotel building.

The massive flower arrangement at reception.

The large, open, vaulted new entrance hall and lounge area at Lanzerac Hotel.

The new Taphuis bar area at Lanzerac – this photo was taken when they were still unpacking stock, therefor the boxes on the counter! (View the Taphuis small plates menu here.)

The new Craven Lounge & Bar – perfect for a pre-dinner or a post-dinner drink and tapas. (View the menu here. )

Leather couches at the Craven Lounge.

One of the new conference rooms at Lanzerac. This room has a glass ceiling and is fully cladded in wood.

Another conference room at Lanzerac with a cathedral-like feel.

The upper pool bar is currently not in use during winter. I’ve never seen it before, so this was a great find!

The magnificent mountain view and stretching lawn at Lanzerac.

The old Danie Craven Lounge is one of the areas that are still in the process of begin renovated – you can still see the fire damage at the top window that is being restored.

 

We stayed in a suite that included a lounge area with private pool:

The pathway leading to our room. Winter in Stellenbosch.

This is Elvis who showed us to our room.

Our lush suite.

A plate of complimentary sweet treats on arrival at our room.

Double basins, upholstered bench and underfloor heating in the massive bathroom with bath and separate shower.

Beautifully, classically neutral furnishings in the bathroom with semi-exposed brick walls.

Our room as seen from our private pool. We had a view of the vineyards from our veranda.

 

Lunch at the Lanzerac Deli:

The entrance to Lanzerac’s Wine Tasting and Deli.

House-made preserves inside the deli.

A highly recommended lunch that consisted of the generous cheese platter and a glass of Lanzerac chardonnay.

The Lanzerac chardonnay is my favourite white wine in their series.

 

Wine tasting at the Wine Tasting Room: (A wine tasting experience is highly recommended – the cream of Stellenbosch’s finest wines.)

Display cupboard of Lanzerac’s current and previous wine collections and packaging. Note the iconic round bellied rosé at the top left – now updated to a more contemporary look.

Tasting the premium wines in the Lanzerac wine collection.

Merlot tasting.

The 2015 Lanzerac Pinotage – the estate is famous for being the first commercial producers of pinotage in South Africa.

The textured label and gold detail says it all: this is a very special wine. The Lanzerac Pionier Pinotage.

 

Dinner at the Manor Kitchen. Each course was paired with a unique Lanzerac wine as recommended and presented by their new sommelier. The cabernet sauvignon was a highlight: (View the full menu here)

Brand new restaurant in an airy space with high glass ceiling details and marble tables.

I love the industrial feel of the windows and doors at the Manor Kitchen.

This chef was busy making raspberry soufflé – one that I had later that evening. It was absolutely superb!

Flavoured butters to go with our bread board: truffle butter, balsamic butter and classic butter.

Schalk’s starter: Confit duck leg salad, whipped Dijon mousse, shimeiji mushrooms, herbs.

My starter: Collection of cauliflower, beetroot gnocchi, sesame granola, Karoo williston, rocket, orange cream. Such a great mix of textures and incredibly smoky flavours.

Schalk’s main course: Fillet of aged beef, braised brisket, pomme anna, porcini mushroom, milk poached onion. This was one of the best dishes of the evening.

My main course: Citrus cured pork belly, chardonnay, barley risotto, poached pear, leeks, crisp sage. A stunning winter dish.

Schalk’s dessert: Vegan cheesecake, marshmallows, blueberry ice cream, toasted oats, raspberry compote. The cheesecake was made using pureed cashews along with other vegan ingredients. A triumph.

My dessert: Raspberry soufflé with white chocolate cream. This was the highlight of my dinner. Perfect in texture, tart and light, with poached raspberries at the bottom. Paired with the sweet white chocolate cream it was a match made in heaven.

Seeing into the newly built kitchen.

 

We enjoyed a delightful breakfast at the Lanzerac Deli and they served a version of what would be expected from breakfast in the main hotel soon. (Click here for the full hotel breakfast menu available from the Manorhouse Kitchen.)

A bowl of magnificent fresh fruit – just the way I like it.

A plate of local artisanal cheeses, crackers and preserves.

What would a breakfast be without pastries? My favourite!

Hot breakfast: Schalk ordered the French toast with

The spa: (See more info about packages and facilities here.)

The heated pool at the Lanzerac Spa with a magnificent view of the adjacent vineyards and mountain.

A dip in the hot jacuzzi on a cold winters day.

 

Here is more info on the Winter Warmth Spa Package 2018.

Visit Lanzerac online.

Tel:+27 (0)21 887 1132

Address: No. 1 Lanzerac Road, Stellenbosch, South Africa

A very warm thank you to Lauren (marketing), Joanne (reception), Patrick (manager), Eske (wine tasting), Cynthia (deli), Elvis (porter), Beki (dinner service), Tinashe (sommelier), Lizandé (spa manager), Julia (spa host), Antoinette (spa therapist) and everyone else from the Lanzerac team who made our visit so memorable. We will certainly be back soon.

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Dinner at the Quarter Kitchen, Portswood Hotel, Cape Town

28 Jun

The exposed brick and stone wall of the original prison at Quarter Kitchen that is now a national monument (since 2994) and a restaurant. Some of the original prison bars can also be seen.

 

We were invited to visit the Quarter Kitchen at the Portswood Hotel at the V&A Waterfront a few weeks ago for dinner. Not only has this restaurant introduced new dishes to their menu, it has also undergone a name change (from The Quarterdeck to the Quarter Kitchen). Furthermore they are celebrating the recent publication of a little inhouse cookbook packed with authentic recipes for traditional Cape Malay meals.

Cape Malay cooking was brought to South Africa in the late 1600’s when the first group of Malaysian state prisoners landed from Java and the neighbouring Indonesian islands. The spicy and aromatic dishes prepared by the Malay people were quickly assimilated into many Cape kitchens. Today, Malay-Portuguese terms such as “bobotie”, “sosatie” and “bredie” are considered iconic South African cooking vocabulary.

The Quarter Kitchen occupies a section of what was originally the Good Conduct Ward at the Cape Colony Prison for petty crimes, which was declared a national monument and transformed into a restaurant in 1994. Among the crisp white table clothes and beautiful dark wood furniture in the restaurant, one can still see reminders of an opposite world that existed in the building in 1860. Original prison bars and sections of exposed original brick & stone walls honour the history of the setting, as does a display of original antique suitcases that once belonged to the traveling prisoners.

The Malay influence in South African cooking is best displayed in the use of chillies, ginger, cinnamon and turmeric (especially in curries) as well as the use of fruit cooked with meat, marrying sweet and savoury with fragrant spices. The Quarter Kitchen provides guests with the opportunity to taste and enjoy authentic Cape Malay favourites such as daltjes, samoosas and pienang curry, prepared by South African hands within a premium central setting in the heart of Cape Town.

Here are some pictures of our dinner at Quarter Kitchen. For only R275, you can enjoy the “Chef’s Feast” with a three course meal of starters (choose 1 of 3 options), four different curries (yes, you get four different little pots of curry, selected from a list of 7 options) and a dessert (choose 1 of 3 options). Otherwise, choose from the a la carte menu with options like a savoury Malay platter, bobotie, and koesisters. The highlight of the Cape Malay experience at Quarter Kitchen lies in the authenticity of the food and their friendly Cape hospitality. There are no “deconstructed” frilly fine dining here, only hearty, traditional fare served with true Cape hospitality and really friendly service.

Quarter Kitchen is well worth a visit if you’re looking for real Cape Malay food in the heart of Cape Town. The restaurant interior is quiet, cosy and neat with clear historical elements – not as bustling and commercialized as the rest of the waterfront. Don’t miss out on the piping hot koesisters for dessert – they were the best I’ve ever tasted.

The Chef’s Feast menu at Quarter Kitchen.

The Cape Malay starter platter for two – with daltjes, samoosas, vegetable spring rolls, crumbed prawns, minted meatballs, jalapeno rissoles, chilli blatjang, cucumber & mint yoghurt, and tomato & onion sambal.

Bobotie at the back and butter chicken curry in the front.

Penang curry at the back, seafood curry in the front.

Cape Malay seafood curry.

Roti, poppadom, white rice and yellow rice – to go with your curries.

Hot koesister soaked in syrup and covered in coconut, served with fresh strawberries.

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A welcoming winter offering at Terroir, Stellenbosch

22 Jun

The entrance to Terroir Restaurant, reflecting the luminous green vegetation on their stoep after the winter rains. The doors are only closed on account of the weather – inside it is cosy and warm.

 

Acclaimed restaurant Terroir has recently welcomed the arrival of winter in the winelands with a special menu offering from Chef Michael Broughton, encouraging guests to indulge in the true Terroir experience with a taste of the full à la carte menu at an extremely pocket-friendly price. From May to September 2018 guests can enjoy their choice of two dishes (starter/main or main/dessert) from Terroir’s French-inspired chalkboard menu for just R395 per person. This price also includes a glass of Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection wine.

Due to the success of 2017’s multi-course winter tasting menu, Chef Michael Broughton has come up with an additional offer of a chef’s choice of four courses at R550 p/p including a glass of Kleine Zalze’s award-winning wines. After receiving an invitation to experience the winter menu, I visited Terroir yesterday – what a pleasure! There is a reason why Terroir remains a favourite amongs locals (and international visitors alike). They consistently serve guests with carefully designed seasonal dishes, expertly crafted flavours and true winelands hospitality within a premium yet unpretentious environment. There’s certainly something to be said for keeping up your game for 14 years consistently – it’s not easy and the playing field in Stellenbosch is especially tough. Well done Chef Michael Broughton and team, you’ve once again shown why we continue to recommend you to visitors from all over in our beautiful town. You’re simply brilliant.

The winter special offer is valid from 2 May to 30 September, for lunch and dinner. Individual à la carte orders can still be made and will be charged at the listed menu price.

Terroir is open for lunch from Tuesdays to Sundays (12h00 – 14h30) and for dinner from Tuesdays to Saturdays (18h30 – 21h00). Advance reservations are highly recommended: 021 880-8167 or email restaurant@kleinezalze.co.za .

Please note that Terroir will be closed for their annual winter break from 25 June 2018 and re-opening on 17 July 2018.

Take a look at our winter lunch experience below, featuring the chef’s four course tasting menu:

An interior view of Terroir Restaurant: clean, cosy, contemporary, unpretentious, welcoming.

The wine list at Terroir.

The iconic hand written chalk board menu at Terroir. This menu changes according to the seasons and availability of ingredients.

This photograph was taken through the glass window on a chilly yet semi-clear winter’s day – the view from our table, indoors.

What better way to start a Thursday winter lunch than with Kleine Zalze bubbles? Aaaah.

Friendly, professional serving staff at Terroir.

Bread board at Terroir with home baked sour dough and tomato bread, with olives, kimchi butter and aubergine puree. You will LOVE the butter and puree – exquisite!

Kleine Zalza Vineyard Selection wooded chenin blanc with our starters. One of my favourites wines from Kleine Zalze. So versatile.

Comté onion soup with poached hen’s egg & onion brioche. This was one of my favourite dishes of the day – so simple, yet so difficult to take to the next level. Silky onion, runny egg yolk, crispy brioche – prefection.

Malay-style baby squid, smoked mackarel aioli and coconut. Who would have thought that “curried fish” goes so well with pineapple salsa? A fantastic combo, both flavour-wise and texture-wise.

One of the most popular dishes on Terroir’s menu: prawn risotto, sauce Americain. This is a very creamy risotto with surprising pockets of crunchy fresh corn inbetween, pan-fried prawns with chilli and citrus, and a smoky oil. The sauce is rich and almost like an aioli/bisque. Don’t miss it.

Lamb, Parisian gnocchi, kimchi, aioli, jus. Smoky, charred flavours, great contrasting textures.

Duck with roasted kohlrabi, kromeski, rhubarb jus, carrot crumble. This dish also featured a ketchup-style BBQ sauce. Bold and inventive.

Ribeye of beef, butternut terrine, crispy kale, beef cheeks in potato, burnt butter crumble, hollandaise foam. Big on umami, perfect winter fare.

Noble late harvest from Ken Forrester to match my dessert.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen such a beautiful dessert: Viennese sachertorte, caramelized rice crispies, kirsch ice cream. Such a stunning way to end this winter menu!

Trio of ice cream for my daughter: dulce de leche, lemon curd and cookies & cream. Exquisite.

Vanilla bean tart, almond crumble, vanilla ice cream. Delicate perfection.

Take a trip to the tasting room next door to purchase some wines for the weekend.

Terroir from the outside facing the golf course. You rarely see this view. We sat in the centre, just next to the glass doors.

The grass is luminous green in Stellenbosch because of the recent rains. This is the stunning lawn in front of Terroir Restaurant.

 

Incredible to have a proper rainy winter for the first time in a few years in Stellenbosch. Luscious green views from the front of Terroir Restaurant.

Autumn and winter collides in colour.

Terroir is situated on a working farm and wine estate. Be sure to visit their tasting room – it’s well worth it!

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A stay with dinner and breakfast at Majeka House

28 May

The pathway from our room door towards the entrance and reception area of Majeka House.

 

Earlier this year, I received an invitation to visit Majeka House Hotel & Restaurant in Stellenbosch for a stayover for two including a four course dinner with wine pairing. Majeka House is a boutique gem in the heart of residential Paradyskloof, discreetly tucked away between the quiet neighbourhood houses adjacent to Vriesenhof Wine Estate. Their restaurant, Makaron, has won numerous awards and is considered a must-visit on the Stellenbosch food landscape.

A bird’s eye view of Majeka House Hotel & Spa. Picture supplied by Majeka House.

 

Here are the highlights of our stay, our dinner and our breakfast in pictures. For me, Majeka House is a premium, boldly stylish, intimately private retreat where you will feel pampered and refreshed. The rooms are lavishly decorated with wall art, bold colours, eclectic furniture and beautiful tropical glass panels. There’s no room for “boring” here, and you’ll know for sure that you’re not in just another hotel suite.

Makaron’s small plate menu is driven by Chef Lucas Carstens – a man of few words that prefer to speak the language of good food. His courses were thoughtful, delicate, sometimes provoking and an all-round pleasure, especially with the spot-on wine pairing that really opens up the experience to another level. The amouse bouche and bread board (compliments from the kitchen) were some of my favourite items of the evening. The wine pairing is highly recommended and adds a lot to the dining experience at Makaron, presenting the inhouse sommelier’s clever and sometimes surprising wine choices from hand picked estates and boutique wineries. You’ll probably also discover a wine (or two) that you’ve never heard of before and that might just become your new favourite. All staff members at Makaron were friendly, professional and highly informed.

Breakfast has always been a highlight for me at Majeka House, especially with MCC on ice, trays full of freshly baked canelés (and other baked goods), individually potted treats and jugs full of freshly juiced fruit and veggies that will make you feel like a champion. I’m not one for hot breakfasts (my husband loves a good scramble or eggs Benedict, and that is also available, of course), but you can catch me in a trap with proper French pastries. Theirs are simply fantastic.

Majeka House has a few fabulous specials running during Autumn and Winter, check it out:

Away in May: R1990 pp sharing

  • Choice of a 60 min treatment each and a 4-course small plate dinner (excl. beverages) at Makaron for 2
  • 1 night accommodation for 2 in a Premier room
  • Breakfast for 2
  • Upgrade to a Garden for R600, Mountain View for R920 and Poolside for R1510; Single supplement of R520

Winter Night Out: R1325 pp sharing

  • 1 night accommodation in a Premier room
  • 4-course small plate dinner at Makaron for 2 (excl. beverages)
  • Breakfast for 2
  • Upgrade to a Garden for R600, Mountain View for R920 and Poolside for R1510; Single supplement of R520
  • Valid from 1 May to 30 September except for Wednesdays

Winter Escape: R1845 pp sharing

  • 1 night accommodation in a Premier room
  • Choice of a 60 min treatment each and a 4-course small plate dinner (excl. beverages) at Makaron for 2
  • Breakfast for 2
  • Upgrade to a Garden for R600, Mountain View for R920 and Poolside for R1510; Single supplement of R520
  • Valid from 1 June to 30 September except for Wednesdays

Book now:  +27 21 880 1549 | reservations@majekahouse.co.za

Relaxing in our room in the Autumn sun, just after arrival.

 

Our plush king size bed with mesmerising wall paper art.

 

Our room opened up onto a semi-private pool and veranda (shared with the suite next door). This is the view from the veranda towards our back door.

 

 

The striking striped pool outside our room.

 

Blue pool chairs and shades of Autumn.

 

Time for an afternoon gin, of course.

 

Dinner starts: Compliments from the kitchen: caesar taco / crispy chicken skin & truffle / beetroot & trout cracker.

 

“Roosterkoek” & bokkom butter, mosbolletjie & korrelkonfyt.

 

Langoustine mi cuit, sea butter, fermented cucumber, green curry juice.

 

Zucchini risotto, raw mushrooms, cured egg yolk shavings. This dish has been on the menu since Chef Lucas started his journey at Makaron, and it has remained a favourite ever since. It was my favourite dish of the day – the cured egg yolk is such a stunner!

 

House smoked hake, celeriac, dill, whey soured onions.

 

Mushroom ravioli, house made malt vinegar, parmesan. PS: The “ravioli” wasn’t your regular pasta, it was a clear sheet of mushroom flavoured stock or something, that held a chunky mushroom filling that you could see from the outside. Mesmerising.

 

Pineapple, white chocolate, coconut, fennel.

 

I cannot remember this chocolate creation’s menu name, but I think the ice cream on top was malt-infused. It was the perfect end to an exquisite evening.

 

These dainty little toffee apples are the size of large cherries and they are incredibly delicious! Not your standard candy apples, for sure.

 

Early morning peak at the mountain on our way to breakfast.

 

My happy place: the breakfast table at Majeka House.

 

Many difference potted treats, including homemade yoghurts, compotes, granola, smoked fish and lots more.

 

One of my highlights: a freshly baked tray of canelés.

 

The breakfast table from the other end, also showing one of the many characteristic ornamental pigs at Majeka House.

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A weekend in the Elgin Valley

31 Mar

The most incredible view of Elgin Wine Valley from the stoep at Almenkerk Wine Estate, Elgin.

 

Last week I spent two days in the Elgin wine valley with my husband and daughter, visiting a few wine estates and restaurants for a taste of their characteristic cool climate region.

This post is a photographic journey of our experience. The valley is so breathtakingly beautiful that you cannot even try to communicate it via pictures. It sometimes felt like we were in another country, perhaps Italy or France, enrobed by the rolling green hills, pristine vineyards and gardens, luscious fruit orchards and fading blue mountains in the distance. It was a feeling of discovering a gem that’s been right under our noses, still unpolluted by the commercialized machine of mass tourism. This valley is generous in all of its glory – unprecedented cool climate wines, honest and personal countryside hospitality, robust flavours and an earthy tranquility that transcends time and space.

We started our trip with a wine tasting at the picturesque Almenkerk Wine Estate followed by lunch at the newly launched Rojaal Eatery (already proving to be a favourite among the Elgin locals). After a laid back night in (watching cricket next to the fire place with a few glasses of wine) and stayover at the plush manor house at Elgin Vintners, we enjoyed breakfast and took a stroll around the vast gardens and surrounding grounds. A generous wine tasting of Elgin Vintners followed, after which we took a drive to Oak Valley for an indulgent lunch at The Pool Room, balming in the most perfect Autumn weather. My 7 year-old daughter found her own magic along the way by making friends with the winemaker’s kids at Almenkerk, playing in their cellar, riding a horse with the very friendly local farm girls and taking a swim in the rain at Elgin Vintners, watching tv in her huge bed, eating freshly picked pears from the surrounding orchards and playing in the puddles at The Pool Room.

Elgin is situated off the N2 just 45 minutes outside Stellenbosch and there are so much more to explore. We’ll certainly be back soon to sip, savour and see more. This is a weekend getaway that almost feels like a trip to the most beautiful countryside of Europe, only much better, because it is right here on our doorstep and costs a fraction of traveling abroad.

Thank you to Yolandi de Wet PR for putting our itinerary together, and a special thank you to Almenkerk, Rojaal Eatery, Elgin Vintners and The Pool Room for hosting us so generously. We absolutely loved our stay.

Tasting the Lace range by Almenkerk, starting with a cool climate sauvignon blanc. Elgin is also well known for producing excellent apples and pears.

The Almenkerk Estate range, featuring their premium sauvignon blanc.

The cake table at Rojaal Eatery. This place is situated in a warehouse-type building with a fun, eclectic, colourful style of decor.

Old and new meets at Rojaal Eatery. Housed in a former flower-packing shed overlooking one of the fruit region’s many valleys, Rojaal (the Afrikaans word for abundance) was established in 2016 by enterprising apple farmer Arno Reuvers.

Pork belly with slaw and baked pears at Rojaal Eatery. Portions are generous and the style of cooking is “abundant”, just like the name suggests.

Fish cake with guacamole on a squid ink bun, onion rings and potato wedges. This was really delicious! Rojaal Eatery is now also open for dinner on Fridays and they are very popular with the local Elgin community – a great testament to their establishment.

Happiness is… crispy house-made chicken strips! At Rojaal.

The recently renovated manor house at Elgin Vintners. The house has four rooms, three with on-suite bathrooms. The house is also suitable for larger functions like weddings and can be rented out as a whole. We stayed in the Denniston and Browne rooms, both with king size beds and on-suite bathrooms.

The majestic garden view from the stoep at Elgin Vintners.

The wine tasting room with wine display, also doubling up as a tv room with fire place and wine tasting bar. At Elgin Vintners.

Exploring the garden at Elgin Vintners. Spot the squirrel…

Ready to go for a stroll to find the horses! At Elgin Vintners.

Some pretty magical pathways in the garden at Elgin Vintners.

On our way to the horses at Elgin Vintners.

One of the local farm girls showing us how cool life can be around horses. They were all so friendly! At Elgin Vintners.

One of my favourite farm views of our stay at Elgin Vintners, on our way back to the manor house.

Morning dew in the rose garden at Elgin Vintners manor house.

The swimming pool next to the manor house at Elgin Vintners. Although it was slightly rainy, my daughter took a dip and it was surprisingly warm!

Freshly picked pears on the wine tasting counter at Elgin Vintners.

Tasting The Century, a blend of sauvignon blanc and semillon at Elgin Vintners.

An incredible wooded chardonnay by Elgin Vintners.

So this is why it’s called “The Pool Room”! Surely an iconic view, surrounded by beautiful, painted sculptures.

Our table could not have been more in the center of this restaurant – almost like a dream, so picturesque. At The Pool Room.

The interior of The Pool Room at Oak Valley. The restaurant is independently run to the rest of the estate.

The service area at The Pool Room, with host Emma Gordon in the middle. Her husband, Gordon Manuel, is the chef. Together, they run the restaurant as partners.

Amouse bouche: mole with chargrilled veg and crispy poppadoms. So robust in flavour!

Starter: citrus cured hake with garden salad and flowers. So fresh!

Trout, avocado mousse, citrus dressing, garden greens.

Our choice of wine with our lunch: a shiraz from Oak Valley, the larger estate where The Pool Room is situated on.

Grass-fed beef rump steak with thrice fried chips. This was Schalk’s main course. The flavour of the meat was intense and earthy – such a privilege to eat beautifully prepared produce from the estate itself!

Acorn-fed pork cutlet with caulflower puree, baked apples, and crackling. This was my main course and it was superb.

Pannacotta with candied orange and raspberry sorbet. Such a great combination of textures and flavours.

Peach frangipane with honey and ice cream. This was my dessert and the PERFECT end to an incredible meal. We were there for 2 and a half hours and we could have stayed for much longer – so tranquil!

A perfect Autumn day in the Elgin wine valley, having  a dreamy lunch at The Pool Room while my daughter played around the pool. We had a few drops of rain, but no wind. Cool and slightly overcast. I could have stayed there forever.

 

Contact details:

Almenkerk Wine Estate: 021 848 9844, ruth@almenkerk.co.za

Rojaal Eatery: 021 204 1085, bestuurder@rojaal.co.za

Elgin Vintners:  021 848 9587, info@elginvintners.co.za

The Pool Room: 021 859 4111, poolroom@oak-valley.co.za

Yolandi de Wet PR: 082-772 7519, yolandi@yolandidewetpr.co.za

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Review: Lunch at Cavalli

27 Feb

Chef Michael Deg (center), head of the kitchen at Cavalli.

 

On Sunday, my family and I had the privilege of visiting Cavalli Estate for lunch. We’ve been for a few gallery visits and wine tastings there before, but never for lunch. After receiving an invitation to experience the restaurant at Cavalli’s new “One at Cavalli” menu, where the shining ingredient for the month of February is beetroot, I was intrigued to see what recently appointed head chef Michael Deg had up his sleeve.

Stretched across 100 Hectares of pristine land located in the picturesque Helderberg region of Stellenbosch, Cavalli Estate boasts 26 hectares of vineyards, 10 hectares of indigenous fynbos gardens, a contemporary restaurant, 350-seater function venue, wine-tasting facility, retail contemporary art gallery, luxury boutique and a world class equestrian facility.

Chef Michael Deg’s focus on quality rather than quantity is apparent in his small à la carte menu with 6 starters, 6 mains and 6 desserts, for lunch and dinner. He likes to change one or two dishes every week to ensure the menu keeps evolving with the seasons. His aim is for vegetarians and vegans to feel appreciated at Cavalli (see vegan menu options) and he now also offers two tasting menus for dinner – both are 8 courses, with one of them completely vegetarian.

Here is our lunch experience in pictures. The beautiful food and the surrounds will speak for themselves, but a special mention needs to be made about the fantastic service. From the front gate security to the various waiters, sommeliers and the restaurant manager that looked after us (and the kitchen staff that came out to explain their dishes) – the team at Cavalli seamlessly displayed their calm professionalism and friendly knowledgeability. We were served by a team of waiters (not just one), always receiving our courses at the same time, with incredible wine pairings by head sommelier, Farai. Truly a premium atmosphere all round.

The food at Cavalli was bold in flavour, beautifully plated and pure pleasure on the palate. From bright green silky pea gazpacho to perfectly flame grilled cauliflower, pale pink beetroot meringues and dewy garden salads (and that umami dumpling!) – the food was simply incredible from start to finish. Watch out, this restaurant will draw a lot more attention within the fine dining arena in the near future.

Check out our experience below:

The magnificent view from the restaurant entrance at Cavalli, when you look to your right.

On our way to the entrance at Cavalli.

The entrance sign amongst steel and stone – architecturally, Cavalli is already a must visit.

The contemporary restaurant interior at Cavalli.

More of the restaurant interior and the terrace at Cavalli. The restaurants seats more than 100 guests.

Adjacent to the terrace at Cavalli, there is a tranquil pond with this incredible view.

The brand new release of Cavalli’s first MCC.

Some beetroot meringue kisses with a savoury filling from the kitchen as a welcome snack.

Beetroot salt and other flavoured butters to go with the bread board.

Bread board (tomato & feta flatbread, ciabattini & mini seed loaves).

Farai – the friendly, knowledgeable head sommelier at Cavalli.

Amuse bouche: pork dumpling in umami broth. I could eat a very large bowl of these, they were absolutely incredible. Very punchy in flavour.

SPICED CARROT TARTAR (VEGAN) | pickled shimeji, onion ketchup, shallot cups, crispy ginger. Great combinations of textures in this dish.

One of the many wines we enjoyed as part of a wine paired lunch journey. Cavalli has a very long list of wines that you can order by the glass – something that is very rare these days (and such a great way to taste through a wider variety of their wines with the many menu items).

GRASS-FED BOBOTIE KROMESKIES | kale pesto, mustard crème fraîche, crispy potato, apricot, curried crumble. A modern take on a classic South African favourite. The bright green crispy kale was delightful.

CHILLED PEA GAZPACHO | yoghurt & lemon ice cream, pea salsa, goats cheese. The goats cheese ball was deep fried, and the contrast in temperatures with the cold soup and very cold ice cream was delicious.

My daughter’s “fish & chips” with a fresh garden salad. It was delicious! Kids also have an option to order “chicken nuggets” and, if I remember correctly, a “beef burger”.

We were very impressed with Cavalli’s stainless steel reusable straws – very cool!

CAULIFLOWER STEAK (VEGAN) | tempura, cauliflower puree, macadamia nuts, capers, sultanas. The macadamia nut crumble was the perfect accompaniment to the soft and creamy cauliflower.

My main course red wine pairing: the Valkyrie by Cavalli.

GRASS-FED BEEF FILLET | pomme purée, creamed spinach, pickled baby beetroot, bone marrow crumble. You cannot see the inside of the meat on this picture, but it was absolutely perfectly cooked.

Pre-dessert: yoghurt, beetroot puree, tangerine granita, freeze dried raspberries. So fresh and cleansing!

MANJARI CHOCOLATE MOUSSE | blondie, dulcey ganache, mint ice cream, cocoa nibs. I’m a sucker for chocolate mousse AND blondies, so this was right up my alley.

BANANA & PISTACHIO GALETTE | salted caramel ice cream, peanut tuille, pistachio crème. One of the highlights of the dessert menu offering.

A final sweet gift from the kitchen to end off our lunch.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner 5 days a week, from Wednesday to Saturday. Sundays lunch only.
Restaurant bookings: (021) 855 3218 (8am – 5pm)

Starters range in price from R85-R120.

Mains range in price from R170-R250.

Desserts range in price from R85-R120.

Visit Cavallistud.com for more info. Menu changes seasonally.

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2 Michelin-starred chef opening pop-up restaurant in Franschhoek as part of world tour

29 Jan

Chef Piet telling his story to guests at the preview of his pop-up shop.

Double Michelin-starred Belgian chef Piet Huysentruyt will soon open a pop-up restaurant at The Conservatory on Happy Valley Road in Franschhoek.

The pop-up is a touring version of Huysentruyt’s Likoké Restaurant in Les Vans in France’s Rhône Valley. With his philosophy of honouring his roots, his rock & roll soul and his sentimental emotions, a ‘standard’ pop-up restaurant as a way to keep busy during the French winter simply wouldn’t do and eventually developed into a world tour, just as a rock band would do.

On the back of his t-shirt, more info about the Likoké On Tour pop-up restaurant tour.

Their first destination was Huysenstruyt’s native Belgium, followed by stopovers in Japan, Indonesia and Singapore.  Franschhoek is the restaurant’s last and only African stop before heading back home. The restaurant team is being followed by a TV crew, writer and photographer with a view to publishing a book about their culinary world tour.

Chef Piet attended the Ter Duinen Culinary Institute against his parents’ wishes. He went on to work at some of Belgium’s and France’s most prestigious culinary institutions before opening his own eatery in the late 1980s. His efforts were finally rewarded with a Michelin star in 1994.

His cuisine became famous for his rebellious and unconventional combinations of noble ingredients and offal, but also of “surf and turf”.  When he published his first book with food photographer Tony Leduc, it was aptly titled “Contemporary and Stubborn”. They also made history by coining the original phrase “food porn”!

Feeling somewhat misunderstood and underappreciated, Piet closed his first restaurant and went on to become a celebrity TV chef – creating more than 20 cooking shows and selling more than 4 million books over the past 15 years.

Likoké welcomed its first diners in 2013 and received a Michelin star a mere five months later.  The Gault et Millau Restaurant Guide awarded it three toques later the same year as well as its Discovery of the Year accolade. Today the restaurant is ranked 39th on the WBP Stars World’s Best Restaurants List.

The African stop on Likoké’s world tour has particular sentimental significance for Piet as his restaurant carries the nickname his father was given while living in the Belgian Congo. Huysentruyt says Likoké’s core values reflect his family’s roots in Africa, his love of southern France’s terroir and his desolate past in Belgium where he learned to appreciate the beauty of simple products.

I was invited to exclusively experience some tasters of what can be expected at the upcoming pop-up a week ago, hosted by the rockstar chef himself, Piet Huysentruyt. Here is my experience in pictures:

Chef Piet pouring tasters of Beetroot | Coconut | Yoghurt, Carrot | Saffron | Passion | Yoghurt and Celery | Tarragon | Cucumber.

Liquid tasters served on a vine branch.

Pork Tartare | Pickles (one of my favourite dishes of the day).

Avocado cracker.

Belgian waffle | Mushroom.

Chef Piet getting ready to plate.

Tomato | Franschhoek trout. A stunning, light dish packed with flavour.

Moules Frites.

Pork Trotter Beignets | Cauliflower.

Moambe | LFC. A tongue in cheek version of KFC.

Biltong | Grill. Slices of almost carpaccio beef on smoking hot fire logs served with a sprinkling of cheese.

Stoverij | Friet. That golden deep fried item in the background was a potato chip, Belgian-style. Just incredible! Underneath the melba toast there was a very good meat stew. Also one of my favourite dishes of the day.

Apple | Honey | Goats Cheese.

Chocolate | Beetroot | Buttermilk.

Chef Piet’s beetroot-stained hands adding the finishing cocoa dust on the dessert. There were also smoked almond financiers served after this dish.

Likoké in Franschhoek will be open from Tuesday to Saturday, between 28 February and 15 March. It will be located at The Conservatory on Happy Valley Road.

Cost: Set Menu of 12-15 courses for R1250 per person (R1900 with wine).

Bookings: 071-365 9612

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Col’Cacchio Stellenbosch revamped to celebrate 25 years

23 Oct

Early evening at Col’Cacchio, Stellenbosch.

 

This year, well-known pizza franchise Col’Cacchio celebrates 25 years in the industry. They’ve updated their branding and revamped some of their flagship stores, with more revamping rolling out countrywide shortly.

I was invited to visit my local Col’Cacchio in Plein Street, Stellenbosch last week. The location of this store has always been a hit – a tranquil courtyard in the absolute centre of town, perfect for families with young kids but also walking distance from campus for students. It has a distinct European feel, yet enough privacy and safety because it is not directly on the street.

Col’Cacchio distinguishes themselves as an Italian-inspired elegant pizzeria with an extensive menu, also including generous salads, antipasto, pasta and desserts. With their menu also recently updated, you can now do half-and-half pizza options, choosing any two of your favourite pizzas on the menu or even creating your own list of toppings.

The standard thin crust of Col’Cacchio’s pizzas wins my vote. I also love the size of their pizzas and the fact that they don’t feel heavy, but still are generously topped with fresh ingredients. I’ll definitely be back for the antipasti platter – such great value and perfect for sharing. Note that there are also gluten free and vegan pasta and pizza options!

As always, kids are well catered for with complimentary pizza dough and cookie cutters to play with, as well as crayons to draw on the brown paper table cover. This literally keeps them busy for ages – I love it.

Linger longer this summer season at Col’Cacchio Stellenbosch, invite a crowd of friends to join you and sit back while you snack through their menu. Their wine selection also includes many local favourites.

Take a look at our visit in pictures:

Garlic, chilli, parmesan, Tabasco, olive oil and balsamic vinegar comes standard with every sit-down table.

Happiness is fresh dough for the kids!

My favourite of the day: a delicious antiplasti platter of caprese salad, artichokes, charcuterie and marinated peppers. This platter also includes thin, crisp, herby pizza slices, plated separately.

Prosciutto and orange salad with rocket.

My half-and-half pizza – the smoke babe (Asian deboned smoked pork ribs, rosso onion, corn, spring onion, mint and coriander) and spicotta (fior di latte, garlic, spinach, ricotta, tomatoes and parmesan).

Schalk’s half-and-half pizza: the smoke babe and the moghul (Indian butter chicken, yoghurt, fior di latte, coriander & crispy onions).

Kids playing happily in Col’Cacchio’s courtyard.

 

Where to find Col’Cacchio Stellenbosch:
Location: Shop 29-31, Simonsplein Centre, Plein Street, Stellenbosch, 7600
Telephone Number: (021) 886-7088

For more info visit www.colcacchio.co.za or hop onto these social media platforms:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColCacchio/
Twitter: @ColCacchio
Instagram: @colcacchio

Download the Col’Cacchio Rewards app from the Apple App Store or Google Play & unlock delicious rewards.

 

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New menu at The Werf, Boschendal

23 Sep

The shaded terrace at The Werf Restaurant, Boschendal, overlooking their gardens.

 

Boschendal Farm is one of my favourite destinations in the Cape Winelands. Their popular farm-to-table restaurant, The Werf, has a brand new menu and I was recently invited to check it out.

Here is our experience in pictures. The thing about Boschendal is this: there is a golden thread that runs through everything they do – a premium, relaxed, unpretentious, welcoming approach. They do many things right and it really shows. From the gate keeper’s friendly wave to the efficient waiters, the excellent wines and the beautiful gift shop, Boschendal hits it on the head. But The Werf Restaurant headed by chef Christian Campbell stands out head and shoulders next to the impressive, vast vegetable garden – it’s a real farm-to-table eatery, not just pretend. You can taste it.

Check out The Werf’s new menu here.

The pathway that leads to the historic buildings that house the butchery, gift shop and wine tasting at Boschendal.

The Werf’s iconic Spanish-inspired blue tile floor and flower-filled wine barrels.

An appetizer to start with, compliments of the kitchen.

Bread basket with beef fat and butter.

For starters: Chokka squid spaghetti, fennel & oyster emulsion.

For starters: Grilled tuna, charred beetroots & homemade yoghurt. This picture does not do this dish justice – it was one of the best of the day. The homemade yoghurt and the beetroot dressing was fantastic.

My daughter’s grilled fish with crispy potatoes and garden salad (kid’s portion).

Tucking into her beautifully prepared fresh fish.

Main course: Hake, sorrel sauce & seaweed. One of my favourite dishes of the day. It was topped with crunchy miniature popcorn and edible flowers.

Main course: Sirloin with chimichurri, marrow & grilled vegetables.

Side dishes of potato crispies fried in beef shallow, and mange tout with lemon & house ricotta.

We had a wine pairing with each course and it was world class.

Dessert: Turmeric brûlée, frangipane & kumquats – also one of my favourite dishes of the day! That bright yellow custard is the stuff dreams are made of…

My favourite wine pairing of the day (with dessert).

The plating station next to the kitchen at The Werf, Boschendal.

The interior of The Werf, Boschendal. Most people were seated on the terrace – the restaurant was packed to the brim.

The lush garden view from The Werf’s terrace.

The manor house at Boschendal.

The Werf Restaurant opening hours:

Lunch: Wednesday to Sunday 12:00 to 14:30 (Seated by 14:00)

Dinner: Wednesday to Saturday 18:00 to 21:00 (Seated by 20:30

Opening times from 01 October 2017:

Lunch: Wednesday to Sunday: 12h00 to 15h00. (Seated by 14h30)

Dinner: Wednesday to Saturday: 18h00 to 21h00. (seated by 20h30)

Please note that a 10% service charge will be added to tables of 8 or more.

Booking is essential:

Tel: +27 (0) 21 870 4207/09

Email: werf@boschendal.co.za

Thank you Boschendal Farm and Manley Communications for this experience.

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