Tag Archives: Manley Communications

Review: Lunch at Tokara

17 Oct

Tokara Restaurant, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch.

I was invited to experience a preview of the brand new summer menu at Tokara Restaurant outside Stellenbosch on the 4th of October 2013. The menu will officially be launched in the beginning of November this year, but I was one of a lucky few that had the opportunity to chat to chef Richard Carstens about some of the new menu options and to experience 7 of these dishes first hand.

“Being situated on a working wine farm, I draw inspiration from the seasons, the alchemy of wine-making and how different flavours and intensities of taste and texture are overlayed. I create complexity from simplicity,” says Chef Richard – a man deeply influenced by Japanese cuisine. After being named Chef of the Year by the Eat Out Awards in 2005, he continued to wow guests at various restaurants in KZN, Gauteng, Franschhoek and Cape Town (also acting as consultant chef at a few establishments).

Chef Richard Carstens

Chef Richard’s precision with plating and his understanding of flavours – some very subtle, others bursting with umami – turns his food into a true culinary adventure for his diners. The Franco-Japanese interpretation of prawn, calamari, mussel and line fish was one of my lunch highlights, and will probably be part of a special degustation menu at Tokara this upcoming season. I cannot wait to return to Tokara this summer for a taste of the rest of the menu!

This is Tokara Restaurant’s new summer menu:


Broccoli, parmesan fondue, yoghurt, marinated artichokes, pine nuts with a saffron mustard dressing

Asparagus, pea mousse, daikon, goat’s cheese, pumpkin seeds and oil with yuzu & buttermilk dressing

Beef tartare and cured beef, sushi rice, lemon, kimchee and black garlic with spiced lemon emulsion

Crisp line fish, turmeric rice, pineapple and coconut with a Cape Malay yoghurt sauce & apricot

Rice roasted rainbow trout, buck wheat noodles, cucumber, toasted nori and sesame with a roasted lemon cream


Pan-fried springbok, carrot ginger puree, croquettes, salted apricots, yoghurt sorbet with Japanese curry sauce

Line fish of the day

Duck, szechuan cucumber, sushi rice, pak choi with a lithci & Cantonese gastrique

Beef fillet, confir potato, asparagus, lemon glazed mushrooms with a green pepper corn sauce


Lemonparfait, ice cream and sponge with meringue

Chocolate pave, ginger ice cream, hazelnut daquise and amaretto

Sumacice cream, candied carrot, confit orange and yoghurt

Fig leaf panna cotta with coriander ice cream and strawberries 

Selection of artisanal cheeses

Asparagus, pea mousse, daikon, goat’s cheese, pumpkin seeds and oil with yuzu & buttermilk dressing

Franco-Japanese interpretation of prawn, calamari, mussel and line fish

Beef fillet, confit potato, asparagus, lemon glazed mushrooms with a green peppercorn sauce

Lemon parfait, ice cream and sponge with meringue

Prices for starters average R85, mains vary between R100 and R155, and desserts average R65.

All pictures courtesy of Tokara Restaurant & Manley Communications.

Tokara Restaurant is situated at the top of the Helshoogte Pass, R310, Stellenbosch. For reservations call 021-885 2550; e-mail reservations@tokara.com or visit www.tokararestaurant.co.za.

Tokara Restaurant is open for lunch Tuesdays to Sundays and for dinner Tuesdays to Saturdays. Kindly note that Tokara restaurant is a non- smoking venue.

For further press assistance contact Manley Communications on 0861 MANLEY (626 539), email premierbrands@publicity.co.za or visit www.manleycommunications.co.za

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Review: Gourmet Braai Festival at Hidden Valley

10 Sep

Hidden Valley Wine Estate against the majestic surrounding mountains (photo courtesy of Manley Communications, photography by Gideon Nel)

I was invited to attend the Hidden Valley Gourmet Braai & Wine Festival on Saturday the 31st of August. Knowing that Chef Bertus Basson would be in charge of the kitchen (and the fires), I couldn’t wait to see what he has prepared for us!

Chef Bertus Basson is one of SA’s culinary greats – famed for the phenominal success of Overture Restaurant at Hidden Valley where he is the chef and co-owner. Overture has been in the Top 10 of SA’s Eat Out Awards 5 times since it opened in 2007. Bertus has also been a judge in the recent tv show The Ultimate Braai Master, so the heat was on to show his true colours on the grid.

Bertus Basson braaing up a storm (picture courtesy of Manley Communications)

After being greeted at the door, I tasted the fabulous new Hidden Gem and Hidden Secret red wines, as well as a barrel selection that has not been bottled yet.

A fully booked Overture Restaurant at Hidden Valley – view from my seat.

We were seated at a long table alongside other food industry friends, and the waiters started to bring out platter after platter of amazing starters, snacks, salads, meats, sides and dessert. Here is the full menu: (R350/person)


Roosterkoek with apricot and almond butter

Smoked Hidden Valley olives

Hidden Valley olive tapenade

Grilled squid with salsa verde, chilli, capers and fennel

Pickled fish with a coriander emulsion and a gem salad


Lamb wors with tomato and crisp waterblommetjie

Bourbon basted smoked pork loin with flour tortillas, sweet corn and avocado

Sugar cured jersey rump with bourguignonne sauce and crisp potato

slaw with dill and mustard cream

Maple roast sweet potato with pecan nuts

Ash roast beetroot with pumpkin and labneh


Tannie Hetta’s apple pie with custard cinnamon ice cream


Smoked camembert with walnut & ginger

I was amazed by Bertus’s ability to turn simple ingredients into an amazing feast. Dishes like the roast beetroot and the maple roast sweet potato were my absolute favourites, although the braaied meats were also really delicious. I also loved the pickled fish – it reminder me of the wonderful curried mussel cracker that my Dad used to make us on December holidays at Keurboomstrand, but Bertus’s coriander emulsion just took it up a few notches.

After this tremendous feast, I am inspired to make roosterkoek again – one of the joys of a real South African braai. This festival was a true celebration of South African braai culture, and I can surely recommend you to join in for the next events. Unfortunately, the tickets are currently sold out, but you can place your name on a waiting list for a possible extra date! Otherwise, there’s always next year…

Thank you Hidden Valley and Manley Communications for this huge treat.

Ready to be sent out to our tables: the beetroot salad (photo courtesy of Manley Communications)

The fabulous pickled fish, as served at our table.

A selection of braaied meat cuts, served platter style to each table (picture courtesy of Manley Communications)

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