Tag Archives: restaurant

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

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

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.

(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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Review: Lunch at FABER

1 Mar

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

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

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

Proprietor Johnathan Grieve and chef Eric Bulpitt welcoming the crowd.

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

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

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

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

Our lunch menu. I love FABER’s logo.

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

The restaurant interior at FABER.

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

One of the planter boxes at FABER.

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

Amuse bouche.

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

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

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

A box of truffles and coffee for the road.

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

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

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

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Visiting Bartholomeus Klip with Miles For Style

9 Sep

The farmhouse at Bartholomeus Klip.

Earlier this August I was invited by Miles for Style to an all-inclusive stay at Bartholomeus Klip in Bo-Hermon between Wellington and Riebeek-Kasteel from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday lunch. The trip included breakfasts, afternoon teas, four course dinners, game drives, informative guided walks, sundowners in the wild, wine and olive tastings, rowing on the dam, cycling on the farm, lunch in Riebeek-Kasteel and much more.

I was over the moon to find out that I could bring my family along, as I’m always keen to explore places where young families could take their kids to experience beautiful surroundings and delicious food.

Miles for Style is an exclusive online shopping experience, providing premium aspirational brands from a select community of supply partners to the public and to members of the South African Airways Voyager programme. Members can now also redeem their SAA Voyager miles into #StyleMiles for a great shopping experience. One of the premium destinations that you can book online is Bartholomeus Klip, but check out their website for many other luxury destinations, travel options, spa experiences, wine & pamper products and much more.

An early morning game drive. This is the entrance to the Elandsberg Nature Reserve.

An early morning game drive. This is the entrance to the Elandsberg Nature Reserve.

I’ve never been to the Bo-Hermon area before. This expansive rural area is serenely quiet with breathtaking mountain views, extensive Fynbos, natural streams and dams. Bartholomeus Klip is a sheep and wheat farm in Bo-Hermon, but also boasts the 4000 hectare Elandsberg Nature Reserve (recognized since 2008). According to the Bartholomeus Klip booklet, it’s botanical value is incalculable since it preserves the largest remaining portions of two highly threatened renosterveld and fynbos plant communities, which have otherwise been almost entirely ploughed up for wheat farming. The reserve is particularly rich in plant species, with more than 820 recorded so far. Several of them occur nowhere else on earth. The endangered geometric tortoise and Cape mountain zebra can also be found on the reserve, along with the bontebok and many other antelopes. You’ll also find other mammals such as leopard, lynx, bat-eared fox and baboon.

Three hiking/cycling trails are available to guests, with bicycles at your disposal if you’re not bringing your own.

On a guided walk with the other guests.

On a guided walk with the other guests.

The breakfast table.

The breakfast table.

Beautifully poached pears as part of the breakfast buffet.

Beautifully poached pears as part of the breakfast buffet.

Muesli pie, bruléed grapefruit, and other treats for breakfast. Not to mention the warm breakfast items.

Muesli pie, bruléed grapefruit, and other treats for breakfast. Not to mention the warm breakfast items.

The interior of the Bartholomeus Klip Farmhouse has an eclectic old-world charm with grand fireplaces, plush colourful furniture and thick carpets. Our spacious suite was luxurious and comfortable, with underfloor heating in the bathroom, air conditioning, linen robes, extra thick white towels, silky Egyptian cotton linen and a coffee pod machine with complimentary treats. At night, freshly made hot water bottles were placed in our beds and the aircon turned on warm (the nights were quite cold outside) – such a comforting way to end the day. The professional staff looked after us in every possible way – so discreet, quick and friendly.

A cosy fireplace in the tea room.

A cosy fireplace in the tea room.

The charming stoep at the farmhouse.

The charming stoep at the farmhouse.

The charming bathroom with free-standing batch and heated floor.

The charming bathroom with free-standing batch and heated floor.

Afternoon teas at Bartholomeus Klip were a delight: freshly baked scones, mini chocolate cakes, date bars, savoury pies – a different selection of wonderful treats every day. At dinner time, a four-course set menu (that also made room for special dietary requirements) were beautifully plated and presented. The food was of the highest standard. I later learned that the chef and front of house positions were shared by identical twin sisters Louise and Lesley Gillett, authors of the beautiful cookbook “Life on a Cape Farm – Country Cooking at its Best”.

A selection of afternoon tea delights.

A selection of afternoon tea delights.

The ravioli starter at dinner.

The ravioli starter at dinner.

During summer months, the circular swimming pool (with wooden deck and deck chairs) is a cool haven. A large plush lawn and established trees surround the house. Just behind the house lies the recently built boathouse, perfect for private functions and parties. The views from the boathouse onto the lake by sunset were mesmerising and truly something not to be missed.

Nothing beats a tranquil canoe trip in nature!

Nothing beats a tranquil canoe trip in nature!

Taking it easy in a boat on the dam.

Taking it easy in a boat on the dam.

A panoramic view of the dam, late afternoon.

A panoramic view of the dam and boat house, late afternoon.

We also visited the historial Bosman Family Vineyards in Wellington for a tour of their cellar and a wine tasting of some of their premium wines. What a beautiful cellar! Our second tasting was presented by Kloovenburg at Bartholomeus Klip – exceptional wines and olives from Riebeek Kasteel.

A wine tasting at Bosman Family Vineyards.

A wine tasting at Bosman Family Vineyards.

Kloovenburg Shiraz - one of my new favourite wines.

Kloovenburg Shiraz – one of my new favourite wines.

For sundowner drinks on our second night, we were taken by Landrover to a remote spot next to a watering hole in the middle of the reserve. Staff set up a seating area, a well stocked bar and snacks. I had one of the best gin & tonics of my life with a backdrop straight from heaven.

The magical setting for sundowners in the Elandsberg Reserve.

The magical setting for sundowners in the Elandsberg Reserve.

In the landrover with Mike, Carlin, Seth, Sam, Dax and Melissa.

In the landrover with Mike, Carlin, Seth, Sam, Dax and Melissa.

Bartholomeus Klip is a destination where you can unwind, refresh, relax, be pampered and get in touch with the magical serenity of farm life away from the city. With the drive from Cape Town being just over an hour, this is an accessible choice for a fuss-free weekend away.

Thank you to Miles for Style for the incredible gift hamper that was filled to the brim with many of the luxury products available on www.milesforstyle.com.

My gift hamper from Miles for Style included silver jewelry, wine, bee balm, chocolate, olive oil, hand crafted soap, a coffee mug and a leather wallet!

My gift hamper from Miles for Style included silver jewelry, wine, bee balm, chocolate, olive oil, hand crafted soap, a coffee mug and a leather wallet!

On our last day we were treated to lunch at Mama Cucina in Riebeek Kasteel. It was one of the highlights of the trip – absolutely scrumptious Italian fare.

Mama Cucina in Riebeek Kasteel.

Mama Cucina in Riebeek Kasteel.

Some of the dishes that we tried at Mama Cucina: Prawn & saffron risotto, polenta with meatballs, veal with tuna & caper mayonnaise and a roasted artichoke dip.

Some of the dishes that we tried at Mama Cucina: Prawn & saffron risotto, polenta with meatballs, veal with tuna & caper mayonnaise and a roasted artichoke dip.

Thank you also to Bartholomeus Klip for yet another gift bag filled with Lesley & Louise’s cookbook and many other delightful local treats.

Our visit to Bartholomeus Klip was unforgettable and I cannot wait to return – highly recommended to anyone seeking a scenic, tranquil, farm-style getaway where you will be treated like royalty. Get more information and book your trip on www.milesforstyle.com.

Dinner at Makaron Restaurant with new chef Lucas Carstens

5 Mar

Chef Lucas Carstens with consultant Pete Goffe-Wood and sommelier EsméGroenewald

Chef Lucas Carstens with consultant Pete Goffe-Wood and sommelier EsméGroenewald (picture supplied by Majeka House)

After a magnificent era with head chef Tanja Kruger at Majeka House‘s Makaron Restaurant, chef Lucas Carstens took over the reigns in November 2015. Under the guidance of Pete Goffe-Wood as their consultant, the Makaron team is now presenting a lunch and dinner menu that is more focused on ‘special’ rather than ‘special occasion’ dining.

“We’re into food that’s more about ‘origin’ rather than ‘process’. If you take a beautiful braised shoulder of lamb as an example, it definitely won’t be manipulated in seven different ways. The aim is not to dazzle or intimidate diners,” says Pete, “but to create a relaxed, inviting environment in which to enjoy a delicious plate of food that relies on excellent sourcing.”

I was invited by the Makaron team to experience their new offering earlier in February this year as a three course dinner with wine pairings. As all of my previous experiences at Makaron were superb, I was interested to see what the new team had up their sleeves.

Majeka House & Spa is situated in Paradyskloof, a quiet leafy suburb in Stellenbosch. Tranquil surrounds have always been a great backdrop for luxurious hospitality experiences, and if you take a look at the nearby majestic mountains and adjacent vineyards you’ll know that you’re in the centre of the glorious Winelands.

We kicked off the evening with cocktails next to the pool, then moved into the dining area where we were seated outside on the terrace. It was a perfect evening in Stellenbosch. We scanned the menu and asked for recommendations from our very well-informed waiter. Here is our dinner in pictures, each accompanied by sommelier Esmé Groenewald’s suggested wine pairings.

Cocktails next to the pool at Majeka House & Spa.

Cocktails next to the pool at Majeka House & Spa.

The brand new menu at Macaron Restaurant.

The brand new dinner menu at Makaron Restaurant.

Bread board at Macaron.

Bread board at Makaron.

Amuse bouche from chef Lucas Carstens.

Amuse bouche from chef Lucas Carstens.

Trout ceviche, melon, sea lettuce - served with Thelema Verdelho 2015

Trout ceviche, melon, sea lettuce – served with Thelema Verdelho 2015.

Steak tartare, onions, horseradish - served with Sutherland Pinot Noir 2014

Steak tartare, onions, horseradish – served with Sutherland Pinot Noir 2014.

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Springbok, butternut ravioli, spiced jus – served with Longridge Pinotage 2013.

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Pork belly, celeriac, apple – served with Super Single Vinyards “Pella” Malbec 2013.

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Caramel bar – served with Blaauwklippen Noble Late Harvest Viognier 2012.

Schalk had the Sesame Panna Cotta for dessert, but the light did not allow me to take a deserving photograph.

It would be my absolute recommendation that you take the wine pairing option with your choice of dishes as it elevates the dining experience to new heights. I especially loved the Blaauwklippen Noble Late, the Pella Malbec and the Longridge Pinotage pairings – superb suggestions.

My favourite from this dinner was the Springbok main course – meltingly soft meat, beautifully presented, perfectly seasoned. The Sesame Panna Cotta with nectarines and miso was also a total hit, served with Signal Hill Straw Wine 2011.

Makaron Restaurant continues to deliver invigorating and stylish food with their new menu and new team, although it is uncomplicated and truly accessible. I specifically enjoy their attention to detail when it comes to service – friendly, informed, attentive, knowledgeable staff. They are comfortably situated on the outskirts of town, close enough to make your journey just a handful of minutes from the centre of Stellenbosch.

Majeka House & Spa: 26-32 Houtkapper Street, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch.

Lunch: 11:00 – 21:30

Dinner: 18:30 – 20:30

For bookings call +27 21 880 1549 or e-mail reservations@majekahouse.co.za.

For more information, visit www.majekahouse.co.za

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

Bistro 13’s Summer Menu Preview

30 Nov

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the first birthday celebration of Bistro 13 just outside Stellenbosch, owned by chef Nick van Wyk and cricketer Faf du Plessis. Nick and multitasking PR/marketing/front-of-house powerhouse Roxy Laker received us in style with bubbly and gave us a preview of their upcoming summer menu.

Nic was recently seen on tv as judge and mentor in Kyknet’s Kokkedoor, a popular Afrikaans reality cooking show. His love of robus flavours from France and North Africa is combined with a love of nostalgic South African favourites.

Here’s Bistro 13’s summer menu preview in pictures, as I ate my way through it:

Roxy Laker & Nic van Wyk – the dynamic team from Bistro 13.

The Bistro 13 summer menu preview with wine pairings.

Crumbed goats cheese, summer salsa, olive oil and honey vinaigrette

Bistro 13 Bread board, before we start. How I love a good bread board!

Smoked paprika dusted calamari, vinaigrette baby potatoes, avocade, pickled cucumber, rouille. The pickled cucumber was one of the favourites for the day.

Monkfish, green herb crust, tomato sauce (black and red), crispy potatoes.

Crispy sweetbreads, carrot puree, brown caper butter. This is one of their signature dishes and you are going to LOVE it.

Braised lamb shoulder and rib, asparagus barley, thyme & garlic sauce, broad beans.

Three chocolate terrine with caramel sauce and praline. This is a 5 star stunning dessert and I’ll totally be back for more.

If you love discovering the best of local Stellenbosch cuisine in an unpretentious, bold, yet relaxing package, you will fall in love with Bistro 13 and the team that keeps this place buzzing. I look forward to spending many more lunch and dinner hours here.

Bistro 13 has new opening hours:

Breakfast: Sat & Sun 08h00-10h15

Lunch: Mon-Sun 12h00-15h00

Dinner: Mon-Sun 18h30-21h30

Starters range from R70-75, main courses from R120-R160 (sides charged extra) and desserts from R50-85. Tasting menu options also available, and they are kid-friendly with a lush lawn outside.

Contact them on reservations@bistro13.co.za or 021-8813044.

Celebrating 250 years with Hennessy at La Colombe

6 Jul

Paradis

Hennessy Paradis (picutre courtesy of Hennessy).

I was recently invited to celebrate the 250 year anniversary of Hennessy cognac at the “new” La Colombe restaurant at Silvermist organic wine estate in Constantia, headed by Chef Scot Kirton.

Most cognac lovers will know that Hennessy is the largest producer of cognac in the world – the brand sells more than 50 million bottles a year, making up 40% of cognac sales globally. Hennessy was founded in 1765 by Irish officer Richard Hennessy who was serving in the army of King Louix XV. Eight generations later, Maurice Richard Hennessy (great-great-great grandson of Richard Hennessy) is still actively involved with the brand.

Hennessy blends more than 100 vintage eaux-de-vie (spirit before it’s aged into cognac) for its special blends. The creators believe that an excellent cognac starts with the wood barrels. Therefore, they only use barrels that are made from oak from the Limousin region and from (sustainably managed) trees that are between 100 and 150 years old – these add the rich vanilla and toast aromas to the brand’s cognac.

Pascal Asin, MD of Africa and Middle East at Moët Hennessy, who has been supervising the Hennessy brand in Africa for more than a decade, says: “Hennessy and the consumer in Africa have a very special relationship: there is a strong emotional connection between the two, and the significance of the brand here is unlike elsewhere in the world. In many countries, cognac is still seen as the old-fashioned drink favoured by an older, affluent generation who enjoys it as an after-dinner toast near a cosy fire while puffing on a cigar. The typical consumer in Africa, however, is young, aspirational and middle-class: the man whose ambition and inner drive will steer him to realise his full potential. It’s customary for him to meet his friends and colleagues in their favourite club or pub at the end of the day or week to celebrate their journey to success. They will also, most likely, drink Hennessy from a balloon glass – a ritual that is often viewed as archaic in other parts of the world. Yet, in Africa, the balloon glass differentiates the Hennessy drinker from the rest of the crowd: it’s the symbol of the relentless African spirit of conquest.”

To celebrate its 250th birthday this year in Cape Town, the brand invited a handful of female media representatives to experience Hennessy Paradis at La Colombe with a foie gras inspired pairing menu. Paradis is the result of successive blends that combine several hundred exceptional eaux-de-vie aged from 25 to 130 years. It has a splendid coppery gold colour and a velvety texture, richly fragrant with spices like cardamom and cinnamon as well as sensual floral scents. This cognac reveals itself masterfully and gradually, like a mysterious lover, and is surprisingly accessible to women – a market that is traditionally not familiar with cognac.

Chef Scot Kirton treated us to a personal demonstration inside his La Colombe kitchen of some of the food that we were about to enjoy – such a privilege to see a master at work. It was a first for me to drink cognac with lunch, and made me rethink my preconceived ideas about this premium amber liquid and the versatility of how to enjoy it. Take a look at my pictures from this unique lunch experience:

Guests are keen to learn more from Chef Scot Kirton.

Guests are keen to learn more from Chef Scot Kirton.

Chef Scot Kirton frying a slab of fois gras to perfection.

Chef Scot Kirton frying a slab of foie gras to perfection.

My first taste of Hennessy Paradis.

My first taste of Hennessy Paradis.

Our fabulous lunch menu at La Colombe, paired with Hennessy Paradis.

Our fabulous lunch menu at La Colombe, paired with Hennessy Paradis.

Bread board at La Colombe.

Bread board at La Colombe.

Amuse bouche at La Colombe. Delightful little surprise!

Amuse bouche at La Colombe. Delightful little surprise!

Pan-fried foie gras, jasmine & Paradis broth, snow crab, citrus marmalade, hazelnut and endive.

Pan-fried foie gras, jasmine & Paradis broth, snow crab, citrus marmalade, hazelnut and endive.

Pouring over some jasmine Paradis broth...

Pouring over some jasmine Paradis broth…

Palate cleanser: melting citrus balls.

Palate cleanser: melting citrus balls.

Confit pork belly & shoulder, sous-vide loin, smoked apple puree, pomme anna, apple & Paradis jus

Confit pork belly & shoulder, sous-vide loin, smoked apple puree, pomme anna, apple & Paradis jus

Gorgonzola, creamed fynbos honey, walnut cake, Paradis pickles apricots, honeyed oats, spelt croute.

Gorgonzola, creamed fynbos honey, walnut cake, Paradis pickles apricots, honeyed oats, spelt croute.

Bitter chocolate & Paradis cremeux, foie gras gelato, toasted kumquat cake, naartjie, foie gras caramel.

Bitter chocolate & Paradis cremeux, foie gras gelato, toasted kumquat cake, naartjie, foie gras caramel.

The bottle of Hennessy Paradis that we had the privilege of enjoying with our lunch, finished. It currently retails for R18 000-R19 000 per 750 ml.

The empty bottle of Hennessy Paradis that we had the privilege of enjoying with our lunch. It currently retails for about R9 000 per 750 ml.

The exclusive Hennessy Paradis Food-Creation Experience will be available from 8 July to 31 July for lunch daily from 12pm and dinner daily from 8pm at R1350 per person. For more information or to make a reservation, please contact La Colombe on 021-795-0125 – please reference ‘Hennessy Paradis Food-Creation Experience’ when making reservation.

For more information on Hennessy and its 250th anniversary celebration, please visit www.hennessy.com/en-africa and join the conversation on Facebook (HennessySA) and Instagram (HennessySA).

Thank you to Hennessy, La Colombe and OFyt for this magnificent experience and the beautiful leather gift bag.

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