Tag Archives: restaurant

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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A food and wine showcase at La Petite Ferme

15 Aug

La Petite Ferme Verdict 2015 – one of the wines that was part of the food and wine showcase at La Petite Ferme.

 

Last week I had the privilege of attending a food & wine showcase – the last in their winter series – at La Petite Ferme, Franschhoek. We were treated to MCC and canapés at the fireplace before a tutored tasting for red blends with La Petite Ferme winemaker Wikus Pretorius. Then it was time for Executive Chef Sidwell Yarrow and his kitchen team to treat us to a three course food and wine pairing (with choices of starters and mains) with added amuse bouche and pre-dessert course.

With guests seated at a special long table, the team of La Petite Ferme pulled out all the stops to guide us through their carefully curated event complete with thematic centre pieces for each course. The service was impeccable and I enjoyed every minute of this luxurious food and wine showcase.

Keep an eye out for more seasonal food and wine events coming up at La Petite Ferme (the last series was priced at R750/person) or visit them for their a la carte restaurant offering with wine, open every day. Here is my recent experience in pictures:

Morena NV Catherine Brut MCC on arrival at La Petite Ferme, in front of a cosy fireplace.

The fire place in the lounge at La Petite Ferme.

The last of the canapés being served before our tasting.

Red blends tutored tasting.

La Petite Ferme winemaker Wikus Pretorius.

Domaine Magellan 2013 from France, being tasted by Schalk.

The food and wine showcase menu for the evening.

Fig and blue cheese plaited rolls.

Bread board at La Petite Ferme.

Amuse bouche: pork shank croquette.

Starter (option 1): Ocean trout gravlax, apple & celeriac remoulade ,yuzu pearls, coral tuille. Paired with La Petite Ferme Viognier 2017.

Starter (option 2): Fire and Ice, spicy yellow fin tuna, cucumber and daikon relish, sea lettuce, ponzo dressing, wasabi foam. Paired with La Petite Ferme Viognier 2017.

Chef Sidwell Yarrow talks us through his dishes for the showcase.

Mains (option 1): Rooibos tea smoked springbok, sweet potato mash, rooibos gel, thyme flowers, jus. Paired with La Petite Ferme Verdict 2015. This was my dish of the night – impeccable.

Mains (option 2): Braised black angus beef short rib, truffle mash, sous-vide baby beets, crispy garlic flakes. Paired with La Petite Ferme Verdict 2015.

Pre-dessert: “Hertzoggie”

Dessert: A Study of Papaya, bruleed banana, caramelized white chocolate, passion fruit. Paired with La Petite Ferme Merlot Rosé 2017.

The kitchen team receives a well-deserved ovasion for their food showcase.

Contact La Petite Ferme:

Telephone: +27 (0) 21 876 3016
Franschhoek Pass Road
PO Box 683
Franschhoek
7690
South Africa
Restaurant reservations
reception@lapetiteferme.co.za
+27 (0) 21 876 3016
Accommodation reservations
accommodation@lapetiteferme.co.za
Tel: +27 (0) 21 876 3016
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Lunch at Love Thy Neighbour

3 Aug

An unpretentious space at Love Thy Neighbour.

 

Last weekend I had the pleasure of having lunch at Love Thy Neighbour in Cape Town – the recently refurbished and rebranded space where And Union used to be. The setting is 110 Bree Street, a very central location that has been frequented by Cape Town locals for years.

I’ve always had a deep affinity for Mediterranean food. Having traveled in Greece a few years ago, I was excited to see what these guys had up their sleeves. We arrived for lunch at 12h30 while the venue was still quiet (just the way I like it). The interior was modern with beautiful stone walls and striking mini tiles on the floors. What followed was a lunch that I absolutely loved and will never forget – indulging in some of my favourite dishes prepared faultlessly by the kitchen team and the griller outside.

Here is my experience in pictures. Be sure to visit Love Thy Neighbour soon – it’s an inviting space with fabulous (and affordable) food, friendly service and a killer playlist.

110 Bree Street, Cape Town.

Friendly waiters at Love Thy Neighbour.

Food specials at Love Thy Neighbour.

The bar at Love They Neighbour.

Green walls and comfortable seats at Love Thy Neighbour’s inside area.

I just LOVED the little floor tiles at Love Thy Neighbour.

Crisp glasses of sauvignon blanc.

A seasonal menu at Love Thy Neighbour.

Saganaki, fried halloumi, pickled kumquat, walnut, basil. The crunchy nuts and soft cheese was a winning combo.

Calamari, harissa, za’atar, aioli. Meltingly soft with a fluffy coating.

Fried aubergine, whipped feta, date molasses, sesame, mint. This simple dish was my favourite of the day and I’ll be back for more very soon!

An outstanding lamb belly souvlaki, cherry tomato, cucumber, pickled red onion, tahina sauce, tzatziki.

From the fire: sardines in vine leaves, skordalia, ladolemono. I ate all 3 sardines with my hands and licked my fingers – delicious.

For dessert: Loukoumades – Cypriot doughnuts, hazelnut, chocolate. It has a soft centre and chewey exterior almost like a French canele. Outstanding! I want more…

Grilling peppers outside – most of their meat is also grilled here and you can taste the smoke and fire. This guy sure knows what he is doing.

Love Thy Neighbour on Facebook:

“We’re all about good Mediterranean style food, wine, beer, music and being good to people. Fresh, clean, free range. Wholesome and locally sourced. As organic as possible. 110 Bree Street. (021) 4222770”

Hours: Tuesday 12h30-23h00, Wednesday – Saturday, 12h00 – 23h30

See the winter menu here.

Pricing: Meze: R32-65, Mains: R70-R85, Sides: R35-R50, Dessert: R45

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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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(review) New small plates menu at Makaron Restaurant

17 May

Small plates at Makaron Restaurant, Majeka House, Stellenbosch. (Photograph supplied by Manley Communications)

MAKARON RESTAURANT is confirming its reputation as one of the most exciting dining destinations in the Winelands with an exciting new ‘small plates’ menu from Head Chef Lucas Carstens.

Situated in the stylish Majeka House & Spa in Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch, this luxury small hotel has recently earned yet another award, being named the Best Design Hotel in Africa & the Middle East at the international Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2017.

This winter, Chef Carstens is heating things up with an innovative menu of tapas-style dining where the idea of flexibility and social eating gets preference.

The small plates offering begins with an amuse bouche of leaves from the Majeka vegetable gardens, tossed in rooibos vinegar and served alongside korrelkonfyt, sourdough and butter. From there you can choose from 18 small plate dishes on the menu, varying from vegetarian to meaty to sweet and everything inbetween. Fermenting and curing play key roles in bringing out umami flavour, with the team making kombucha, malt vinegars, cured duck breast, pickled figs and ginger beer.

I had the privilege of experiencing a taste of the small plates menu earlier this week. Makaron remains one of my favourite restaurants in Stellenbosch. Their new small plates offering is highly recommended and their wine pairings were, as always, exquisite. Here is my experience in pictures:

Our media table at Makaron Restaurant, where I had the privilege of tasting many of the small plates on the new menu.

Chef Lucas Carstens tells us more about his new small plates menu.

Majeka garden leaves & rooibos (compliments of the kitchen).

Bread board with spiced butter dip (compliments of the kitchen).

“Mielie pap” croquette & Sheba (compliments of the kitchen).

Heirloom tomato, white balsamic, house ricotta, gazpacho granita.

House made duck breast ham, baby figs, cos lettuce.

Cured trout, beetroot-apple kraut, milk kefir dressing.

Charred cauliflower, cabbage, sweet corn, parmesan.

Beef tartare poke bowl, avocado, sesame bar – one of my favourite dishes of the day.

Kingklip, black garlic, eggplant, ash baked carrot, black rice.

Baby marrow risotto, cured egg shavings, raw mushroom, truffle.

Springbok rump, beetroot, cabbage.

Dark chocolate, almond milk ice cream, home brewed ginger beer.

Passion fruit, buchu meringue, coconut, spekboom.

“Melktert” ice cream sandwich.

Makaron Restaurant is open daily for dinner (closed on Wednesdays during winter between May and September), from 18h30 – 20h30. Diners can choose four/five/six courses from the ’small plates’ menu for R450/R565/R675 respectively. An optional wine pairing is also available, at a cost of R770/R940/R1100 for both food and wine.

Take advantage of the special winter promotion available at Majeka House & Spa where you will pay only R1420 per person sharing a night inclusive of breakfast and dinner at Makaron, available from Sunday to Thursday, May to end of August 2017. 

Majeka House & Spa and Makaron Restaurant are situated at 26-32 Houtkapper Street, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch. For bookings call 021 880 1549 or email reservations@majekahouse.co.za. For more information visit www.majekahouse.co.za

Thank you to Makaron Restaurant and Manley Communications for hosting me.

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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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