Tag Archives: restaurant

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.

Save

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.

Macaron8

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

Macaron9

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

Macaron10

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.

Review: Lunch at Ryan’s Kitchen, Franschhoek

30 Apr

Ryan's Kitchen interior

Panoramic view of the interior at Ryan’s Kitchen, Franschhoek

I was recently invited to experience the “new” Ryan’s Kitchen  – a recent move to a new location on Main Road gave this restaurant room to grow on the competitive and established Franschhoek culinary scene.

Given their reputation for excelling in modern South African cuisine, I was quite intrigued as to how they would present this to the market keeping in mind that they will be serving a discerning crowd of locals as well as international guests. So on Friday the 30th of January I took my husband and daughter along for a lunch trip to Franschhoek.

Chef Ryan Smith and his wife Lana make a strong team in this relatively new space. Ryan, who has worked in numerous Michelen-starred restaurants and schools across the world, heads up the kitchen while Lana commands the front of house. Their modern and fresh interior lended a clean slate for what was to come, as we took our seats inside the restaurant (we later moved to the terrace outside, as the gentle breeze started to cool down a scorching hot day).

The menu is divided into four sections: 1) salads & vegetables, 2) fish and shellfish, 3) meat and poultry and 4) dessert. Guests are encouraged to see the lists as grouped smaller dishes (like tapas) and not as “starters”, “mains” etc. Lana explained that we should order a few dishes and share, as they “love seeing the often lost art of social dining” – something that really resonated with me.

We proceeded to try quite a few dishes, and here are some of the pictures:

Bread box

Artisanal bread box with rotis and flavoured butters

Seared tuna

Seared tuna slices, pepper-pineapple and cucumber atchar.

Cape salmon

Tandoori cured Cape salmon, tomato and chilli “snow eggs”.

Brinjal dumplings

Smoked brinjal dumplings, basil and pine-nut dressing. This was one of my favourite dishes of the day.

Tapioca

Mushroom tapioca “pudding”, sautéed exotic mushrooms.

Seafood parcel

Cape Malay pickled seafood, cooked in a bag (before opening).

Seafood parcel open

Cape Malay pickled seafood, after opening the parcel. The simplicity of the presentation deceives the flavours that come out of this parcel.

Outside

Sitting outside in the sunny courtyard at Ryan’s Kitchen.

Duck parfait

Duck parfait per-peri, lemon jelly & green bean chutney.

Soufflé

Granadilla soufflé, mango ice-cream. This exquisite dish was the winner of the day.

Chef Ryan Smith

Owner/chef Ryan Smith at Ryan’s Kitchen, Franschhoek.

Some of my highlights were the beautifully presented bread box and the smoked brinjal dumplings. But the dish of the day was the absolutely breathtaking granadilla soufflé – the best soufflé I’ve ever had – perfect in every way. The soufflé cost R85, but is a massive portion and great to share.

I will recommend Ryan’s Kitchen to anyone who would love to experience a fresh and modern take on classic South African cuisine – you’ll find no clichés here. Every single dish was meticulously prepared and masterfully presented. The service was personal, attentive and very professional. This is one of my favourite new restaurants of 2015 and I cannot wait to see what the menu will bring later in the year.

Ryan’s Kitchen is open for lunch (12h30-14h30) and dinner (18h30-21h30), Monday to Saturday.

Prices vary from R40-R115 per dish.

Bookings are advised: info@ryanskitchen.co.za / 021-876 4598.

Thank you to Ryan’s Kitchen and Manley Communications for the opportunity to discover this gem of a restaurant.

A day at Anthonij Rupert Wines, Franschhoek

8 Feb

The glass entrance door at Terra del Capo.

The glass entrance door at Terra del Capo.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to experience a day at Anthonij Rupert Wines in Franschhoek. We put aside a Saturday as we heard that it was worth spending more time than just the usual for a tasting, and took the drive over the magnificent Helshoogte Pass towards Franschhoek.

Anthonij Rupert Wines is home to two exquisite tasting rooms. The first is their Terra del Capo Tasting Room, situated at the entrance to the property, which was designed to showcase the company’s Italian-inspired Terra del Capo range. At the restored original Manor House on the farm, wine aficionados can also enjoy tailored wine tastings  of the Cape of Good Hope and Anthonij Rupert Wine ranges.

Both tasting rooms are unique in their own rights and offer visitors an exquisite day out to the Winelands. Earlier in 2014 the farm introduced two beautiful vintage trams offering visitors a complimentary transport system between the two tasting rooms as well as the adjacent Franschhoek Motor Museum on the picturesque L Órmarins Wine Estate.

Below is our day at Anthonij Rupert Wines in pictures. It is surely one of the best day-trips to make in the Winelands, and offers exceptional value in terms of scenery, wine tastings, tapas and adventure. The tapas restaurant at Terra del Capo is still one of the best kept secrets in Franschhoek (not too commercial, not overcrowded) and it is very affordable. I’ll return there often – one of my favourite new places to eat. You can sit inside with a view of the cellar, or outside underneath the beautiful olive trees on comfortable couches.

This experience is highly recommendable for food and wine lovers looking for a quality day out in the Winelands, but is also a picture perfect romantic Valentine’s excursion with your beloved – especially with the newly released L’Ormarins Brut Classique and Rosé. The motor museum at the adjacent L’Ormarins is breathtaking (even for those who aren’t necessarily gearheads) and the sheer beauty of the pristine grounds and gardens will leave you in awe.

Anthonij Rupert Wines & Terra del Capo is open: Tuesday – Sunday, 10h00-16h30.

Cost for tastings: R10-R60

Prices for tapas vary from R20-R150

Contact: Elana Bernhardt – 021 874 9041 / tasting@rupertwines.com.

The Franschhoek Motor Museum is open:

Mon – Fri: 10h00 – 17h00  (last admittance 16h00)
Sat & Sun: 10h00 – 16h00 (last admittance 15h00)
Open most public holidays (phone for confirmation +27 (0)21 874 9000 / fmm@fmm.co.za)
No motor bikes

Admission prices are R60 adults, R50 pensioners, R50 motor club members, R30 children (3-12yrs).

The lush green gardens at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The lush green gardens at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The tram waiting for us under one of the huge trees at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The tram waiting for us under one of the huge trees at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The beautiful vintage tram - our ride for the trip to the Manor House and L'Ormarins.

The beautiful vintage tram – our ride for the trip to the Manor House and L’Ormarins.

The exotic entrance to Anthonij Rupert Wine's Terra Del Capo tasting room.

The exotic entrance to Anthonij Rupert Wine’s Terra Del Capo tasting room.

Lounging on the counches under the olive trees outside the Terra del Capo tasting room.

Lounging on the couches under the olive trees outside the Terra del Capo tasting room.

The cheetah statue outside the entrance to the Terra del Capo tasting room at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The cheetah statue outside the entrance to the Terra del Capo tasting room at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The tapas prep area at Terra del Capo's tapas restaurant.

The tapas prep area at Terra del Capo’s tapas restaurant.

Inside the tapas restaurant at Terra del Capo, adjacent to the wine cellar.

Inside the tapas restaurant at Terra del Capo, adjacent to the wine cellar.

The private boardroom / dining room / tasting room at Terra del Capo.

The private boardroom / dining room / tasting room at Terra del Capo.

Olive oil tasting of the Terra del Capo 2012 and L'Ormarins premium ranges.

Olive oil tasting of the Terra del Capo 2012 and L’Ormarins premium ranges.

Opening our tapas lunch with a glass of L'Ormarins MCC at Terra del Capo.

Opening our tapas lunch with a glass of L’Ormarins MCC at Terra del Capo.

Olive oil and wine tasting at Terra del Capo.

Olive oil and wine tasting at Terra del Capo.

Deep fried rillette balls at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Deep fried rillette balls at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

White anchovies, quails egg, manzanilla olives & tomato salad, caper dressing at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

White anchovies, quails egg, manzanilla olives & tomato salad, caper dressing at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Artichokes marinated with thyme, lemon & olive oil at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Artichokes marinated with thyme, lemon & olive oil at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Fried calamari with lemon & chive aioli at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Fried calamari with lemon & chive aioli at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Zucchini fries at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Zucchini fries at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Lamb chops at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Lamb chops at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

The talented chef at Terra del Capo's tapas bar. Some of the best tapas I've had in this region.

The talented chef at Terra del Capo’s tapas bar. Some of the best tapas I’ve had in this region.

A wide variety of wines, oils, preserves an decor is available at the shop at Terra del Capo.

A wide variety of wines, oils, preserves an decor is available at the shop at Terra del Capo.

L'Ormarins MCC.

L’Ormarins MCC.

The premium range extra virgin olive oil by L'Ormarins.

The premium range extra virgin olive oil by L’Ormarins.

Terra del Capo wine gift boxes.

Terra del Capo wine gift boxes.

 

The beautiful cheetah statue outside the entrance to Terra del Capo.

The beautiful cheetah statue outside the entrance to Terra del Capo.

The facade of the Terra del Capo tasting room and cellar at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The facade of the Terra del Capo tasting room and cellar at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The pristine grounds at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The pristine grounds at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the tram, en route to the Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the tram, en route to the Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the stoep at the Manor House tasting room, Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the stoep at the Manor House tasting room, Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The manor house stoep, where we tasted the Anthonij Rupert Wine range.

The manor house stoep, where we tasted the Anthonij Rupert Wine range.

Cape of Good Hope Ultima - one of their premium wines at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

Cape of Good Hope Ultima – one of their premium wines at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

Three of the wines in the Antjonij Rupert range.

Three of the wines in the Antjonij Rupert range.

One of the rooms inside the restored Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

One of the rooms inside the restored Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

Some of the cars that you can see at the Franschhoek Motor Museum at L’Ormarins, next to Anthonij Rupert Wines.

IMG_1246

A panoramic view of the motor museum at L’Ormarins.

 

Review: Dinner at Bistrot Bizerca

19 Jun

The interior at Bizerca, with their signature exposed brick wall and butterfly details.

The interior at Bizerca, with their signature exposed brick wall and butterfly details.

I was invited to Bistrot Bizerca in November last year for a preview of their summer menu for 2013/2014.  I couldn’t attend on the planned date and sadly had to decline the invitation.

The kind people at Bistrot Bizerca and Manley Communications then extended the invitation to a time that would suit me, and a whopping 6 months later I could finally confirm our booking. It took me a long time to get here, but it certainly won’t take me that long to be back. So let’s forget about the summer menu and focus on their hearty winter fare.

The beautiful butterfly detail on the brick wall at Bizerca.

The beautiful butterfly detail on the brick wall at Bizerca.

The courtyard at Bizerca, perfect for warmer weather.

The courtyard at Bizerca, perfect for warmer weather.

Bizerca is situated on Heritage Square  in the center of Cape Town (they moved from the Foreshore to the CBD five years ago). The square is a charming renovated block of restaurants and shops that form part of the Cape Heritage Hotel. As the weather played along nicely that night, we had the option to dine outside in the courtyard or inside in the cosy restaurant. We opted for inside amongst the bustling tables filled with other dinner quests. Bizerca had a full house that Friday night – a great testament to their popularity, and a chance to see how they handled their restaurant at full capacity.

Chef-owner Laurent at work in the Bizerca kitchen.

Chef-owner Laurent at work in the Bizerca kitchen.

Owners and husband & wife team Laurent Deslandes and Cyrillia van der Merwe classify their restaurant as a bistro, although Laurent’s skill and execution might easily be mistaken for fine dining cuisine. There are only six permanent dishes on their menu, with a daily chalk board for seasonal additions. For starters I ordered one of Bizerca’s signature dishes: Saldanha oysters with Cape gooseberry dressing. It was clear why this dish remains such a favourite –  a slightly sweet yet refreshing spin on a classic French favourite. I could have finished buckets full of these oysters. Schalk ordered the trio of cured fish from the chalk board menu, and it was one of the best dishes of the night – absolutely spectacular flavours, light yet intense.

Oysters with Cape gooseberry dressing.

Oysters with Cape gooseberry dressing.

For a main course, I chose the butternut gnocchi with roasted vegetables, tomato coulis & parmesan cheese. The gnocchi were large orange-coloured pillows, beautifully smooth and light, and they worked well with the peppery rocket leaves on top. I also loved the pan-fried texture on the sides of the gnocchi. Schalk had the beef fillet with stuffed mushroom and marrow and echalotte crust. It was perfectly prepared and a great option if you’re a meat lover.

Schalk's beef fillet with stuffed mushroom and marrow and echalotte crust.

Schalk’s beef fillet with stuffed mushroom and marrow and echalotte crust.

For dessert, I chose one of the most popular items on the menu: Valrhona soft centre chocolate pudding, white chocolate creme brulee and raspberry sorbet. It was generously portioned, and absolutely delicious. I also tasted Schalk’s choice of Granny Smith apple sorbet with calvados – simply delightful and so very refreshing!

Valrhona soft centre chocolate pudding, white chocolate creme brulee and raspberry sorbet.

Valrhona soft centre chocolate pudding, white chocolate creme brulee and raspberry sorbet.

Granny Smith Apple Sorbet with Calvados

The wine list at Bistrot Bizerca is hand selected by Laurent & Cyrillia, with beautiful items that I’ve never seen before. We had a bottle of Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir – a gem of a wine, made in Elgin. We had outstanding service the whole night, and our waiter had an exceptional grasp of the menu and wine list.

Bistro Bizerca seems to be firmly settled as one of Cape Town’s favourite bistro restaurants in the CBD. With their unpretentious menu, brilliant flavours and great service, they can certainly be recommended as a must-visit eatery for lunch, dinner or bites. Prices range from R80-R85 for starters, R135-R145 for mains, and R55-R75 for dessert.

Bistrot Bizerca operating hours: (Reservations: 021-423 8888)

Lunch: Mon-Fri, 12pm-3pm
Afternoon bites: Mon-Sat, 2:30pm-6pm
Dinner: Mon-Sat, 6:30pm-10pm
Late night bites: Mon-Sat, 9:30pm-10:30pm
Thank you Manley Communications and the whole team of Bistrot Bizerca for the experience, and for the use of their images due to low light restrictions on the night.

Review: New winter special menu at Terroir

28 May

Chef Michael Broughton being introduced by Lise Manley

Chef Michael Broughton being introduced by Lise Manley

I was invited to attend the media launch of Terroir‘s new winter special menu on the 14th of May. As I have been to Terroir quite a few times since they opened in 2004 (yes, they’ve been around for 10 years this year), I knew that I was probably in for a huge treat. I’ve been a big fan of Chef Michael Broughton‘s food since the very beginning, and couldn’t wait to explore his latest offerings.

Terroir is set amongst the huge oak trees and expansive gardens on Kleine Zalze – a family owned wine farm on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. They also boast a popular golf course, which you can see from the restaurant’s stoep. The relaxing view set the scene for an unpretentious and tranquil dining experience. Their numerous awards and nominations over the years testify of Terroir’s constant quality of their offering. Another feather in their hat is that Stellenbosch’s locals come back over and over to dine here – one of the best ways of establishing whether a restaurant is worth their salt, especially in a highly competitive market like Stellenbosch (SA’s gourmet capital).

Chef Michael Broughton has always kept Terroir’s changing menus seasonal and is still sourcing fresh produce locally as far as possible. While some guests at the table dubbed him “the king of sauces”, I too have experienced his knack for creating deep flavours. After a glass of Kleine Zalze brand new MCC, we were shown to our table.

And then the feast began. We were served four courses, each available on their winter special menu. Terroir’s winter special entails this: two courses for R240, or three courses for R280 – both including a glass of Kleine Zalze Cellar Selection wine of your choice.

This is what we tasted at the showcase lunch:

Our showcase menu at Terroir's launch of their Winter Special 2014

Our showcase menu at Terroir’s launch of their Winter Special 2014

The bread board at Terroir

The bread board at Terroir

Amuse bouche to share

Amuse bouche to share

1st Course: poached pear, gorgonzola, panna cotta

Poached pear, gorgonzola, panna cotta

2nd Course: Fresh kingklip with bouillabaisse, squid, rouille and mussels

Fresh kingklip with bouillabaisse, squid, rouille and mussels

3rd Course: Lamb belly, gnocchi, dukkah

Lamb belly, gnocchi, dukkah

4th Course: Pineapple tarte tatin, coconut and lime ice cream

Pineapple tarte tatin, coconut and lime ice cream

Every course was magnificent, but the kingklip dish with bouillabaisse was an absolute highlight for me –  one of the best seafood dishes I’ve ever tasted. The pineapple panna cotta was also superb: sticky, sweet and filled with aromatic tropical flavours. Every course was carefully paired with Kleine Zalze’s wines, which were perfectly chosen and stood tall against the food’s bold flavours.

In believe that the winter special at Terroir is exceptional value for money and I most definitely recommend it.

Phone 021-880 8167 for bookings.

Review: A secret dinner at Grootbos

27 May

Relaxing after the drive, on the stoep at Grootbos (Angelique Smith Photography)

Relaxing after the drive, on the stoep at Grootbos (Angelique Smith Photography)

A few weeks ago I received an invitation from the Secret Eats team to join one of their secret dinner adventures on the 5th of April 2014. I was only told that the adventure involved some traveling to a secret location, and that it involved a secret chef and a secret menu. Having heard of the Secret Eats adventures before (underground dining experiences with limited seats), I signed up immediately and couldn’t wait to discover more!

On the 4th of April, it was revealed that our secret dinner location was Grootbos, an exclusive luxury destination in the heart of the Overberg. On the afternoon of the 5th of April, I joined a group of other adventurous eaters in the shuttle and headed out towards Hermanus. About 20 minutes past Hermanus we entered the Grootbos gates – a  private nature reserve that provides luxury accommodation, dining, wine tours, spa treatments, guided adventures, and supports responsible tourism.

The chicken coup at Grootbos (Angelique Smith Photography)

The chicken coup at Grootbos (Angelique Smith Photography)

We were treated to a guided tour of the Grootbos Foundation’s Green Futures project – a horticulture and life skills college that provides an annual training programme to 12 unemployed young adults from the Gansbaai area. In addition, the Grootbos Foundation also established the Growing the Future project – an organic food production and life skills certification course that provides an annual training programme to 8 unemployed women from the Gansbaai area. Here they have established an impressive organic vegetable garden and chicken coup, selling most of their produce (also including pork and honey) back to Grootbos. This means that Grootbos is not only able to supply diners with amazing, fresh produce, but more importantly they are making diners aware that they are supporting the upliftment of local women in their local community – an ethical way of eating.

Canapés before the start of our secret dinner at Grootbos (Angelique Smith Photography)

Canapés before the start of our secret dinner at Grootbos (Angelique Smith Photography)

After a quick refreshment and a new lick of lipstick, we gathered for bubbly and canapés before being escorted to our secret dinner location inside an ancient milkwood forest on the Grootbos grounds. The location was one of the most beautiful settings for a dinner that I have ever seen – absolutely magical.

Getting to know the guests at our Secret Eats adventure, Grootbos (Angelique Smith Photography)

Getting to know the guests at our Secret Eats adventure, Grootbos (Angelique Smith Photography)

The pathway to our secret dinner location... (Angelique Smith Photography)

The pathway to our secret dinner location… (Angelique Smith Photography)

One of the exquisite dinner tables inside the ancient milkwood forest (Angelique Smith Photography)

One of the exquisite dinner tables inside the ancient milkwood forest (Angelique Smith Photography)

Our dinner followed, cooked by Grootbos executive chef Benjamin Conradie. Here is a copy of his menu:menu

SecretEatsGrootbos_0102

Chef Conradie plates the first course (Angelique Smith Photography)

SecretEatsGrootbos_0094

Guests at my table, taking pictures of new friends (Angelique Smith Photography)

SecretEatsGrootbos_0103

1st Course: Klein Rivier Gruyere soup (Angelique Smith Photography)

SecretEatsGrootbos_0108

2nd Course: Trio of Langkloof rainbow trout (Angelique Smith Photography)

SecretEatsGrootbos_0115

3rd Course: Walker Bay poached crayfish (Angelique Smith Photography)

SecretEatsGrootbos_0121

Me, meeting new people! (Angelique Smith Photography)

SecretEatsGrootbos_0122

4th Course: Villiera and strawberry sorbet (Angelique Smith Photography)

SecretEatsGrootbos_0128

5th Course: Grilled lamb loin (Angelique Smith Photography)

SecretEatsGrootbos_0130

The star kitchen team, plating dessert (Angelique Smith Photography)

SecretEatsGrootbos_0131

6th Course: Chocolate flan with raspberry chiboust (Angelique Smith Photography)

The night was unforgettable – the food, the atmosphere, the laughter, the setting – and most of us made some lasting friendships with people who were complete strangers to us earlier that day. It was like being transported to a strange and beautiful planet where time and reality were completely irrelevant.

I can certainly recommend Secret Eats to anyone who wants to explore beyond the usual restaurant dining experience – locations and menus change all the time, as do the pricing range of dinner experiences. I can also recommend Grootbos as a destination – what a breathtaking place!

Keen to join SecretEATS for an evening?  Request your Private Invitation here: www.thesecreteats.com/request

Thank you Angelique Smith for the use of your beautiful photographs. And thank you to Yuppiechef for the R150 voucher gift surprise after dinner!

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram
YouTube