Tag Archives: restaurant

Lunch at La Petit Ferme (spring menu)

16 Nov

Three weeks ago we had the privilege of being invited to lunch at La Petit Ferme – one of the jewels in Franschhoek’s infinite destination treasure chest. This iconic manor house on the Franschhoek Pass has just appointed a talented new head chef, Odette Olivier, at their restaurant. She comes with a wealth of local and international experience and is set to re-invigorate the dining experience at one of the Cape Winelands’ most scenic locations.

Here is our lunch in pictures. La Petit Ferme never disappoints in terms of location – it truly is one of the most scenic spots for daytime dining. Seated outside or at one of the large windows, you’ll have a more-than-180-degree view of the picturesque Franschhoek Valley – larger than life. It is world class, breathtaking and awe inspiring. Paired with authentic, friendly, professional service, natural ambiance, refined food and delightful wines, it’s an experience that’s hard to beat.

The incredible, expansive view of the Franschhoek Valley at La Petit Ferme.

 

Our tranquil garden table.

 

The spring menu at La Petit Ferme will be replaced by a summer menu shortly, but rest assured that the culinary team is ready to welcome you with the very best that the new season has to offer. Focusing on fresh, bold flavours and seasonal, sustainable produce, chef Odette Olivier excites with a bold palate and an adventurous mind.

Take a look at what we enjoyed for our lunch, with some comments below the pictures.

To start, we received small aniseed brioche buns in the shape of caneles and a butter spread topped with textural, colourful elements. Delightful.

 

La Petit Ferme’s barrel fermented Chardonnay is highly recommended and was the perfect addition to our multi-faceted lunch.

 

Glass of wine with a view.

 

Schalk’s starter: Fish Crudo – roti, papaya, white anchovy, pineapple, sage, tzatziki, curry leaves, smoked aioli, lemon mead shooter. A intensely fresh flavoured textured dish.

 

My starter: West Coast Mussels (Heritage Inspired): smoked snoek croquette, verjuice beurre blanc, red pepper smoortjie, petite peas, nasturtiums. A beautifully balanced dish with the most delightful sauce.

 

Schalk’s main course: Slow Cooked Karoo Lamb Shoulder – lamb riblet, kapokbos, confit garlic mash, apricot, cauliflower, rainbow carrots, moskonfyt jus.

 

My main course: Seared Salmon Trout – spicy fermented honey glaze, confit potato, sugar snap peas, green grapes, edamame, lime hollandaise. I loved the bold flavours and the simplicity of the dish, letting the individual elements shine without too much complication. Fresh and intense.

 

My main course (pictured above) was suprising – I would have never paired trout with a bold, spicy sauce, but it worked so beautifully. A great showcase of chef Odette Olivier’s adventurous yet refined palate.

Schalk’s dessert: Milktart & Rooibos – milktart ice cream, rooibos sorbet, apple crumble, mebos, milk jam, salted duck fat potato chips. How adventurous is this for a dessert? 🙂

 

My dessert of the day: Caramel Fudge Tart – coffee burnt pineapple, rum, passionfruit yoghurt sorbet, white chocolate cremora crumble. A rich but incredibly satisfying dessert served in a thin sliver.

 

La Petit Ferme remains a must-visit destination on the Franschhoek kaleidoscope of premium destinations, whether for a stay-over, a lunch/dinner or just a wine tasting. Their food offering is packed with value added extras such as one of the best views in the valley, space, outside seating and authentic Franschhoek hospitality. Book now to avoid disappointment.

The restaurant at La Petite Ferme is currently open for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 to 15:00; and, dinner seven days a week from 18:00 to 21:00.

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Dinner at Ember Meat Room

7 Oct

Last week I was invited to visit the brand new Ember Meat Room in Stellenbosch, Plein Street. This restaurant is headed by award-winning chef Michael Broughton (previously from the iconic Terroir Restaurant at Kleine Zalze which closed at the beginning of lockdown) and is centred around showcasing flame grilled locally farmed boran beef from Brenaissance Wine & Stud Estate (located in the Devon Valley, Stellenbosch). Ember Meat Room is one of three restaurants in The Farmers Collection – all three establishments launched during the very challenging Covid-19 environment that crippled hospitality industries worldwide during 2020 and 2021. This achievement speaks of vision, drive and tenacity by the team behind The Farmers Collection and I salute them.

Ember Meat Room is located next to their sister restaurant, Cucina, at 43 Plein Street across the town hall – right in the centre of Stellenbosch. The entrance is slightly hidden, featuring a discreet hallway that leads to a very dramatically lit restaurant space that is dotted with perfectly starched white linen covered tables within a dark, monotone, textured room with no windows (apart from the glass panel that showcases the kitchen). It transforms the vibey bustle of mid-town Stellenbosch into a uniquely discreet, private, upmarket atmosphere that sets a focused tone for food and wine.

The dinner menu is relatively limited, featuring three starters, four main courses, three sides and four desserts. The wine list is sourced exclusively from the Stellenbosch area only. To start, we were offered a bread board with butter and boran biltong.

We wanted to drink a red wine and our service representative recommended the Brenaissance Merlot – a wine that paired really well with the meat driven menu. I ordered the beef tartare as a starter and it was delightful, especially with the green oil that provided a smooth mouthfeel and bright flavour.

Schalk had the prawn risotto – a rework of chef Michael’s most popular starter from Terroir, with more smokey charred flavour and the wonderful sweetness of grilled corn.

For main course I had the wood fired fillet with a creamy brandy and mushroom sauce – classic flavours, very tender meat, served with potato puree and some grilled vegetables. Ember’s inhouse basting sauce must contain some type of activate charcoal, because all the grilled meats are pitch black on the outside – not from being burned, adding to the drama of the dark interior and emphasizing the beautifully pink colour inside.

Schalk had the proprietor’s cut, which includes three different cuts of beef, along with a beef jus. His favourite cut was also the fillet.

 

We ordered two sides to go with our main courses: the creamed spinach and the parmesan & truffle chips – I can highly recommend both.

For dessert, I enjoyed the Le KitKat – a stunning chocolate dessert that was one of the highlights of the dinner.

Ember Meat Room is a one-of-a-kind addition to the very competitive Winelands dining landscape. I look forward to discovering more that The Farmers Collection has to offer.

They are open for lunch (from 12pm) and dinner (from 6pm), Tuesday to Saturday.

To make a booking for 4 people or less, book now using their online booking system.
To make a booking for 5 people or more, please get in touch directly on ember@thefarmerscollection.co.za or 021 203 6255.

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Lunch at Kleine Zalze Restaurant

1 Apr

The leafy courtyard at Kleine Zalze Restaurant – the best place to fully enjoy the breathtaking natural surrounds (when weather permits).

Exactly one year ago, many restaurants were forced to rethink their futures because of the global Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges it brought for the hospitality industry. Kleine Zalze made the decision to reimagine their award winning and iconic Terroir Restaurant into the refreshed Kleine Zalze Restaurant, with chef Nic van Wyk at the helm as head food consultant.

“In many ways Kleine Zalze is where everything started for me,” reminisces Nic, who opened Terroir Restaurant with chef Michael Broughton back in 2004. “Over my years of cooking across the Winelands I’ve always had a soft spot for Kleine Zalze, so I was thrilled when managing director and owner of the estate Kobus Basson asked me to be involved and advise on this new chapter.”

So, what has changed? The menu has been transformed to include more informal tapas-style snacks and small plates, all meant to be shared, with wine pairing options. The food is fresh, seasonal and fun, and you can either just have a quick bite or stay for a longer exploration of various dishes and courses (like we did). Kleine Zalze’s wines really shine as the food and wine pairings are cleverly put together and turn the dining experience into a multi-sensory feast. Otherwise, many of Terroir’s seasoned staff members are still there and the atmosphere and decor remains tranquil and inviting.

I had the pleasure of being invited a few weeks ago to experience their recent summer menu with a partner, and here is our lunch in pictures. We enjoyed five small plates each, allowing us to really get a thorough feel of the new offering. Although some of the menu items have changed since because of seasonality, you’ll get a great idea of what to expect and you can find the latest menu here (menu will keep changing with the seasons and with availability of ingredients).

Kleine Zalze Restaurant carries the authenticity and integrity of its predecessor, Terroir, with ease into the future. It remains one of the best spots for a lunch in the Stellenbosch wine region because of location (so close to town), setting, atmosphere, value and great service. Coupled with some of the best wines in the region from Kleine Zalze’s own cellar, this is a food and wine destination that’s hard to beat. As a Stellenbosch local, I recommend it proudly.

To start: Bread and flavoured butter.

One of the wines served as a pairing: Kleine Zalze’s Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – a stellar white.

Tomato, red fruit, fig leaf oil. The oil was a revelation – so much flavour locked up in fig leaves! And such a great addition to the tomatoes and fruit.

Roast eggplant, kecap manis, goat’s cheese.

Yellowtail pastrami, unripe strawberry, amasi, dill.

Octopus, red butter lettuce, salsa verde. One of our dishes of the day – superb.

Calamari, curry, avocado.

Farmed prawn arancini, laksa, lime.
Stuffed sirloin.

Fire roasted mushroom sosatie brushed with miso, seaweed vinaigrette.

Valrhona 66% Chocolate, yeast, banana, sourdough ice-cream.

Grilled nectarine, fermented honey, hazelnut, fynbos ice-cream.

Kleine Zalze Restaurant is open for lunch from Wednesday – Sunday:

Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: CLOSED
Wednesday: 11h30 – 16h30
Thursday: 11h30 – 16h30
Friday: 11h30 – 20h30
Saturday: 11h30 – 20h30
Sunday: 11h30 – 15h00

Reservations are highly recommended.

Phone: +27 (21) 880 8167

Email: restaurant@kleinezalze.co.za 

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Dinner at 96 Winery Road (new small plates menu)

9 Nov

One of our favourite plates of the day: 96 Winery Road’s popular “Hollandse Pepper Fillet”.

96 Winery Road has been a popular and prominent family restaurant in the Winelands for the past 24 years. Established in 1996 on Winery Road off the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, they’ve always been known to serve “real food”, aspiring to the apt definition by Nigel Slater: “By ‘Real Food’ I mean big flavoured, unpretentious cooking. Good ingredients made into something worth eating. Nothing fancy, nothing extravagant, nothing careless or slapdash, just nice uncomplicated food. Simple food cooked with care and generosity.” With their characteristic thatched roof, fireplace and friendly service staff, the team from 96 Winery Road has remained steadfast throughout lockdown, reopening their doors recently with an adapted small plates menu suited to the changing needs of their loyal customers.

The thatched entrance to 96 Winery Road.

My family and I were invited to experience this brand new menu last week and I’m so happy to be sharing our dinner in pictures. Senior Sous Chef Ryan Zaayman and his team treated us to no less than 8 different dishes from the small plates menu (4 plates per person). The menu still contains some of 96 Winery Road’s most popular items like the “Hollandse fillet” smothered in a punchy black peppercorn sauce and served with perfectly golden fries topped with grated parmigiano, but they’ve also added some new items like the “new style kabeljou sashimi” with Ponzu and Japanese mayo – both our favourite dishes of the day. Service is friendly and swift, and we enjoyed a series of fantastic Ken Forrester wines per glass, generously served, of which the wooded Old Vine Chenin Blanc was my personal favourite. Do check out their carafé wine menu, available per 250ml and 500ml.

96 Winery Road is not what you’d call a “trendy hotspot”, but there’s a good reason why they have remained a local favourite and a beacon on the very competitive Winelands restaurant scene for the past 24 years: serving really delicious food paired with great wine, consistently doing what they believe in with skill and integrity.

Small Plates Menu: 2 plates – R210 | 3 plates – R300 | 4 plates – R390 (choose 2, 3 or 4 plates per person)

Panko crumbed Dalewood brie, wild rocket, spicy bacon jam

New style sashimi, Ponzu, fresh ginger, Japanese mayo, coriander, sesame oil

Smoked kudu carpaccio, basil, Grana Padano, Evoo, pistachio nuts

Slow roasted pork belly, baby fennel and apple salad, red wine jus vinaigrette

“Hollandse” pepper fillet”, peppercorn and brandy cream

Confit duck, Korean BBQ sauce, glass noodles spring onion, cashew nuts

Wagyu slider, blue brie, tomato chutney, rocket, coleslaw

Grilled artichoke and baby veg salad, Aioli

Spinach and Ricotta tortellini, exotic mushrooms, beurre noisette, sage

Loin of lamb, hummus, Dukkha, lamb jus, harissa crumble

Prime cut of Cape Wagyu beef, supplement – R150

Desserts:

Crème brulée

Chocolate mousse, meringue shards, strawberries

Lemon tart, raspberry sorbet

A simple, warm interior of wooden tables and chairs, and tiled floors.

New style sashimi, Ponzu, fresh ginger, Japanese mayo, coriander, sesame oil.

Panko crumbed Dalewood brie, wild rocket, spicy bacon jam.

Confit duck, Korean BBQ sauce, glass noodles spring onion, cashew nuts.

Spinach and Ricotta tortellini, exotic mushrooms, beurre noisette, sage.

We enjoyed our small plates menu each with a different wine from Ken Forrester. This is the Renegade.

Loin of lamb, hummus, Dukkha, lamb jus, harissa crumble.

Lemon tart with raspberry sorbet and in the back a plate of chocolate mousse with meringue chards and fresh strawberries.

Senior Sous Chef Ryan Zaayman, who has been with 96 Winery Road since 2017.

Address:

96 Winery Road Restaurant
Winery Road
Zandberg Farm

96 Winery Road is open seven days a week. In the mornings, they serve freshly-brewed coffee and bakes from the oven including stuffed croissants. The new Small Plates menu is available daily for lunch, and for dinner Wednesday to Saturday.

Open times:

Deli – daily from 9h00
Breakfast – Served until 11:00, last orders in at 10:30
Lunch – daily from 12h00 to 15h00
Dinner – Wednesday to Saturday 18h00 to 21h00

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Lunch at the recently transformed Haute Cabrière

18 Mar

25 Years since the Von Arnim family launched their iconic Haute Cabrière cellar, the destination has transformed into a lighter, more modern, multi-purpose, world-class space. The renovation journey was aimed at building on the foundation of the past 25 years, and setting the scene for the next.

I was recently invited to experience the transformed Haute Cabrière dining area. On a bright Sunday, we took a seat for lunch. Take a look at our experience in pictures below (see a sample menu here). Chef Nic van Wyk is still at the helm of the kitchen, serving French-inspired bistro-style food with a strong focus on local ingredients. His food has the most perfect balance between deep and fresh flavours – almost like the best of rich French and lighter Mediterranean cooking. Generously portioned main courses, reasonably priced throughout considering the world class location. The warm almond cake is a thing of beauty – I could have finished three of those. Service is swift and friendly, and our waiter recommended excellent wine pairings with every dish.

I am in awe of the clever design at the transformed Haute Cabrière. It is incredible that you can build a large freestanding space right in front of the existing cellar and restaurant, and make it feel more open, more modern, more accessible. The amount of light that comes into the new space is fantastic, and it allows you to fully admire the breathtaking views from all angles, floor to ceiling. When weather permits, the glass panels can be opened up completely for an even more spacious feeling without any barriers to the surrounding natural scenery. The existing “underground” space is now utilized as a tasting room and deli, and feels quietly private, more spacious than before, with a newfound serenity.

Left: A friendly reception. Right: Guests reclining next to the reception area on soft seating, with the destination’s iconic view as a backdrop.

 

Left: Welcomed with a glass of Haute Cabrière MCC Brut. Right: The view from our table next to the floor-to-ceiling glass “walls”.

 

Left: House-baked sour dough bread, tomato jam and butter. Right: Simplicity rules with a heavenly slice of buttered bread and tomato jam to start with.

 

Schalk’s starter: Cured tuna, creamy horseradish and herb vinaigrette. Fresh and punchy flavours.

 

My starter: Steak tartare, caper, brandy and tabasco mayonnaise, croutes. A popular classic – I really enjoyed their interpretation.

 

Schalk’s main course: Beef sirloin, brown onion, garlic and lemon sauce, duck fat potatoes, garden greens. French bistro cooking at its finest.

 

My main course: Pan-fried linefish, chargrilled and marinated courgettes, tomato and spring onion salsa, herb-salt chips. Fresh and light Mediterranean flavours, and generously portioned silverfish fillets.

 

Left: Trio of sorbet (berry, stone fruit and mango) – delightfully fresh. Right: A perfect ending with dessert – the iconic Haute Cabrière Ratafia.

 

My dessert: Warm almond cake, amaretto ice cream. My favourite dish of the day. Exquisite flavours with a soft and gooey texture.

 

Modern, open, semi-industrial spaces inside the new dining area. The feeling is light, accessible, welcoming.

 

Leaving Haute Cabrière from the old entrance, walking in the space left open between the old cellar and the new dining area.

 

Do take the time to visit Haute Cabrière and experience everything it has to offer for yourself. It’s the best of Franschhoek’s views and premium hospitality within a very laid-back environment where time almost stands still, and without the hassle of finding parking in the middle of town.

Haute Cabrière is situated on the Franschhoek Pass, Franschhoek. From the a la carte menu, prices range between R90-R120 for starters, R155-R230 for mains and R40-85 for dessert. Pre-starter and cheese course also available on the menu.

Update: New operating hours during Covid-19 restrictions:

Monday – Saturday: 10h00-17h00

Closed: Sunday and Public Holidays

 

Offering: 

Bakery & Deli 10h00 – 17h00

Tapas from 11h00 – 16h00

À la carte 12h00 – 16h00

Wine tasting and sales 10h00 – 17h00

Breakfast is usually available from Monday to Saturday from 08h00 to 11h00, but in light of the current Covid-19 climate, no breakfast will be served until further notice.

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Lunch at Monneaux Restaurant

14 Jan

Some of the dishes on Monneaux Restaurant’s summer menu 2019/2020. Photograph courtesy of Franschhoek Country House (FCH).

 

At the beginning of December 2019, I was invited to visit Franschhoek Country House & Villas for a first hand experience of their recently reimagined Monneaux Restaurant. We stayed for a night in one of the hotel suites suitable for a small family – a spacious king size bedroom with separate sitting room (including sleeper couch) and large bathroom with window views of the lawn and swimming pools.

Boutique hotel and pool view. Photograph courtesy of FCH.

 

Hotel suite interior. Photograph courtesy of FCH.

 

Beautiful gardens all over the property. Photograph courtesy of FCH.

 

At first sight, the property is inspired by the charming French countryside – cobbled walkways, quaint window shutters, various water features, lemon installations, lush lawns and manicured gardens, incredible mountain & vineyard views. Monneaux Restaurant is set adjacent to the luxurious five-star Franschhoek Country House & Villas boutique hotel. The restaurant has recently reconceptualised its dining offering “from pass to plate”, as well as introducing self-sustainable initiatives and a hyper-local focus at every stage of the culinary chain. The driving force behind these inspired changes is chef Calvin Metior, who was appointed as Executive Chef in September 2019.  After working with renowned chef Eric Bulpitt at La Motte, his most recent position, Calvin says his mind and perspective were opened to a new world of cooking.

Chef Calvin Metior. Photograph courtesy of FCH.

 

“Having the freedom to dream, to make my concepts a reality and to produce my own food is incredible. To be able to do so in this beautiful country-style setting and surrounded by so much natural inspiration and superb produce in the Cape Winelands, is a dream come true,” says chef Calvin.

He’s also fiercely passionate about supporting local producers, thus keeping the restaurant’s carbon footprint to a minimum and improving self-sustainability. Micro gardens have been established throughout the property, which will produce a rotating supply of fresh herbs and vegetables. In the kitchen, Calvin and his team has started making their own miso, fermented mustard, hot sauces and fish sauce, smoking and curing their own meat and fish, making charcuterie from scratch, and dry and wet ageing of fish and meat.

Chef Calvin Metior in the kitchen, plating artfully. Photograph courtesy of FCH.

 

Restaurant interior opening up to a leafy courtyard. Photograph courtesy of FCH.

 

The dappled courtyard at Monneaux Restaurant. Photograph courtesy of FCH.

 

Ready for our lunch experience at Monneaux Restaurant.

 

Monneaux Restaurant’s variety of beautiful seating areas provides choices to suit all preferences. The outdoor fountain terrace, beneath the dappled shade of a spreading pepper tree, is ideal for lazy summer lunches and sundowners, and al fresco dinners beneath twinkling fairy lights on balmy evenings. The restaurant’s interior is discretely divided into three individual dining rooms, creating an intimate atmosphere.

“Calvin brings along impressive skill, passion and limitless creativity, and shares our vision of elevating Monneaux to an exciting new level,” says Franschhoek Country House & Villas owner Jean-Pierre Snyman. “In the culinary hub of Franschhoek, it’s important to differentiate and develop, whilst continuing to offer quality and authenticity. We believe that our new offering truly sets the Monneaux Restaurant apart as a must-visit dining destination and we look forward to welcoming guests to enjoy the transformation with us.”

Take a look at our lunch experience in images below. Chef Calvin’s starters were the absolute highlight of our day: aged beef tartare and local caught skipjack – both dishes leaving you bowled over with punchy flavour; delightfully inspired food that will set him apart in his new role at Monneaux. His plating is playful yet considered. Service is seamless with a deep sense of authentic Franschhoek county-style hospitality. Pricing is reasonable considering the setting, and portions are generous. A varied local & international wine list with many options by the glass is available, with pricing options to suit most diner’s pockets.

Monneaux Restaurant – with chef Calvin Metior at the helm – promises to be a dining destination to discover and revisit in 2020.

For reservations and enquiries, contact: (+27)21-876 3386 or email info@fch.co.za.

Trading hours: Open 7 days a week for lunch (12h00-14h30) and dinner (18h30-21h30).

(Please take note that menus change regularly as Monneaux Restaurant only use the freshest seasonal produce. The most recent menu can be e-mailed by their management on request.)

Note: Photographs credited as supplied, where applicable. All others were taken by me during our visit, on location.

To start with, from the “snacks” menu: chicken liver parfait, butter and ciabatta.

 

From the “small plates” menu (also available as a main course): aged beef tartar coal emulsion, fermented mustard, burnt onion paste.

 

From the “small plates” menu: local caught skipjack, sesame, lime, wasabi, avo.

 

From the “mains” menu: hay smoked oak valley beef short rib, carrot, dukkha, dill.

 

From the “desserts” menu: valrhona dark chocolate, passionfruit, coconut, honeycomb.

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Lunch at Gåte Restaurant, Quoin Rock

11 Oct

One of the lunch courses at Gåte Restaurant, Quoin Rock.

 

A few weeks ago I was invited to visit Gåte Restaurant at Quoin Rock on the Knorhoek Road outside Stellenbosch. I’ve heard quite a bit about this upmarket, modern estate – the Ukranian Gayduk family bought the property in 2012, and reopened it in 2018 after 6 years of careful renovation and restoration. The estate now boasts a very modern wine lounge, function venue, restaurant and revamped manor house accommodation facilities.

Gåte Restaurant is headed by chef Nicole Loubser who gained experience at JAN Restaurant in Nice, France. We sat down for lunch in their impressive space, and what followed can be described as a premium culinary adventure filled with surprises, paired with fabulous wines. The 6-course set lunch experience is called “Journey around the world” (R800, or R1100 with wine pairing – pairing highly recommended). Take a look at the menu:

Here’s our experience in pictures. Chef Nicole and her team certainly lives up to the “dialogue between art, tradition and technical craft” that they’ve set out to deliver. Service is efficient, smooth and friendly and diners can be sure of an all round luxurious, premium experience. This is certainly not an everyday eatery, but for special occasions and those in search of the best new offerings it will impress and delight.

 

The entrance to Gåte Restaurant at Quoin Rock.

 

The partly shaded restaurant terrace, also used for wine tastings.

 

Cream leather chairs and modern wooden accents coupled with large glass window-walls provide a modern, comfortable environment with incredible vineyard & mountain views.

 

 

Caffe Macchiato with Gate Cigar. The “macchiato” is a tomato soup with basil foam, the “cigar” is a cleverly made potato bread stick, and the “ash tray” is a delicious edible mousse with flavoured powders and paprika.

 

The potato flour “cigar” bread stick steals the show. Beautiful!

 

 

Gate`s signature Saldanha Bay Oysters – beautifully presented on fresh sea grass and delicious served with their MCC.

 

 

Gate`s signature Caprese Salad: fior di latte disguised as tomatoes, a frozen milky mozzarella dome, tomato flavoured meringue, basil oil – what a clever spin on a traditional Italian favourite. Served with spongy bright green basil bread.

 

 

 

Lamb croquette, cranberry and smoked cheese tuile.

 

 

Oryx meat with smoked potato pure and veggies – my favourite dish of the day. Stunning flavours, expertly prepared and plated.

 

Pina Colada dessert with coconut – a light, delicate ending to the journey.

 

We took a quick tour through the kitchen to meet chef Nicole and her young team. The vibe in the kitchen was very calm and tranquil, and the facilities were impressive, spacious and modern.

 

 

A quick visit to the cigar lounge (without having cigars) to admire the views. Schalk has a special affinity for a Chesterfield couch.

 

The Helderberg mountains and surrounding vineyards provides an awe inspiring backdrop to the experience at Quoin Rock.

 

Contact Gåte Restaurant: Tel: +27 21 888 4750 / gate@quoinrock.co.za

Address: Quoin Rock Wine Estate, Knorhoek Road, Knorhoek Valley, Stellenbosch, 7600

Lunch: Tues – Sun, 12:00 – 14:00 (6-course at R800 excl. wine pairing)
Dinner: Tues – Sat, 18:00 till late (7-course at R1000/person excl. wine pairing, or 14 course/person at R1600 excl. wine pairing)

Thank you to the Gåte team for hosting us.

 

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A heritage of sharing: The new menu at Pierneef à La Motte

24 Sep

The entrance leading to Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant.

 

Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant has always been about sharing. Sharing food stories and sharing food favourites. It is this personal concept of heritage cuisine that is the inspiration behind the restaurant’s new offering. Everything served in the restaurant shares a creative line from the South African food story.”

I was recently invited to experience this new offering at Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant – a refined Franschhoek destination rich with cultural heritage. After an inspiring guided tour in the La Motte Museum of the current exhibition by MJ Lourens, titled “Land Rewoven” (as a conversation with the existing collection of Pierneef’s works), we made our way to the restaurant. Chef Eric Bulpitt’s new menu invites guests to start with shared dishes inspired by the various food cultures and stories from South Africa’s rich culinary heritage – a variety of breads, spreads, salads and meats, accompanied by condiments from “Granny’s pantry” – fruit and vegetables pickled or preserved, chakalaka or chutney, kaiings or kluitjies. It’s amazing how simple items like curried beans or pickled beetroot can conjure up clear memories from my childhood – items that I despised as a child (yet it always landed on my plate courtesy of my dear Mother) but these days adore as an adult.

Keeping with the heritage theme, Pierneef à La Motte’s à la carte menu offers a choice of individually plated main courses with Chef Eric’s signature modern approach. While this menu changes regularly according to the season, availability of ingredients and the Chef’s inspiration, options might include celeriac baked in a salt crust, lowerland grains and truffle sauce (a stunning vegetarian dish that I can highly recommend), free-range pork, slow cooked for 12 hours, broad beans from their garden and pork broth, as well as wood-fire roast spring chicken brushed with fermented chilli and creamed mielies, or aged beef rump from Bonnievale with roasted shallots and baby carrots.

All dishes are offered with La Motte Cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche’s wine recommendations, available at estate prices. However, the acclaimed wine list also includes other interesting South African as well as international wine choices.

The two-course menu of a shared starter and main course costs R335 per person (wine and service fee excluded). Dessert can be ordered as an additional course at R115. The dessert menu is a trip down memory lane, revealing a legacy of nostalgic sweets in a way that charms and comforts. Decadent baked dark chocolate with chocolate biscuit and rose ice cream (reminding me of a refined combination of “bazaar pudding” and chocolate fondant), lemon meringue with lemon curd, burnt meringue and vanilla tuile, or sago pudding, honey and boerenmeisjes (probably the best sago pudding I’ve ever tasted). A selection of South African cheeses, preserves and lavash is also available.

Our lunch was the best I’ve ever experienced at Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant – I was in a state of pleasure and nostalgia by the end of our desserts which I didn’t want to end. Well done to Chef Eric and his team for hitting the flavour nails on the head.

The restaurant also offers a lighter option to enjoy after a wine tasting, mountainside hike or visit to the La Motte art gallery. Choose between the Winelands Cheese Platter or a seasonal Farm Plate – both including a glass of wine at R150 per person.

In line with the principle of heritage food, menu choices are ethical and sustainable, making use of seasonal, local and artisan ingredients.

  • Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant is open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday, 12:00 – 15:30.
  • Reservations are recommended and can be made online, T +27(0)21 876 8800, E pierneef@la-motte.co.za
  • The charming La Motte Farm Shop hosts an array of delicious South African-inspired baking and confectionery to be enjoyed in the estate gardens or as a take-home treat.
  • Current menu (subject to change)
  • Current wine list

High ceilings and delft plate installations dominate the elegant spaces at Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant.

 

A photo wall with some of the Rupert Family’s portraits provides a personal touch.

 

Plush seats and contemporary wooden tables.

 

The delightful shared starter offering at Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant – an array of salads, bread, vetkoek, pickles, spreads and whipped beef fat.

 

La Motte’s range of wines are carefully paired with each course and comes highly recommended.

 

Celeriac baked in a salt crust, lowerland grains and truffle sauce – my choice of a main course (vegetarian). This was my dish of the day – a fantastic celebration of simple ingredients, varied textures and that luxurious base note of fresh truffles infused in the sauce. I’ll be back for more.

 

Schalk’s main course: Free-range pork, slow cooked for 12 hours, broad beans from their garden and pork broth. Exceptionally tender and delicious.

 

Schalk’s dessert: sago pudding, honey and boerenmeisjes. Take note of the glass bowl that reminds of your ouma’s house, as well as the paper doilie. This was the best sago pudding I’ve ever taste. A must on the menu.

 

My dessert: baked dark chocolate with chocolate biscuit and rose ice cream. The pudding is hidden underneatht the biscuit (see next photo).

 

Reminiscent of a dark chocolate fondant mixed with an old-school “bazaar pudding”, this dessert was exactly what I hoped it would be: warm, decadent, soft and oozing in the middle, with the delicate hit of rose water ice cream.

 

Having a quick chat to thank Chef Eric Bulpitt at the end of our meal.

 

The entrance to the charming Farm Shop at La Motte. Well worth a visit.

 

The entrance facade at La Motte.

 

Thank you to chef Eric Bulpitt and the team of La Motte for hosting us.

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Lunch at Viande with Chef Pete Goffe-Wood

12 Sep

Chef Pete Goffe-Wood at the bar counter, Viande Restaurant, Grande Roche. Photography by Charles Russel.

 

After three decades of offshore ownership, Paarl’s iconic Grande Roche Hotel is back in South African hands. The hotel has been acquired by entrepreneurs Hansie and Theresa Britz. Both born and raised in Paarl, the couple shares a life-long association with the Grande Roche as most locals do. This historic five-star property at the foot of Paarl Mountain has recently been fully transformed to return it’s status as one of the Cape’s premier destinations.

Apart from a complete overhaul for the hotel side of Grande Roche, the restaurant previously known as ‘Bosman’s’ has also been totally refreshed to become a more accessible destination: ‘Viande’ is the brainchild of Pete Goffe-Wood, a respected and loved television personality (ex-Masterchef judge), author and consultant chef. Pete wasn’t looking to start another restaurant, but when he heard the new owners’ passion for the hotel he realised it was something he could get behind. “I loved the fact that they wanted to make Grande Roche accessible to locals again, and the more their vision unfolded the more I realised I wanted to be a part of it. It’s been wonderful to see this property given the love and respect and investment it deserves.”

The contemporary new interior of Viande Restaurant at Grande Roche.

 

The culinary-themed 3D artworks by Mitch Mitchell of Scotch & Sofa by Mitch and the Machine, featuring a hog’s head here.

 

Chef Pete is now responsible for all food and beverage operations across Grande Roche. With Viande becoming a major draw card for the estate, Goffe-Wood worked with interior designer Francois du Plessis to completely re-imagine the interiors, adding a more contemporary and approachable feel to the new restaurant while acknowledging the heritage of the building. Gunmetal grey walls are offset by the landmark crystal chandeliers, bespoke monochrome wallpaper creates an eye-catching scene along one wall, while wooden floors brighten the space. Furniture is by design studio Houtlander, and there’s Goffe-Wood’s quirky humour in the culinary-themed 3D artworks by Mitch Mitchell of Scotch & Sofa by Mitch and the Machine: a hog’s head, kitchen scale and a burly pair of chef’s arms clutching cleavers.

That modern approach is mirrored on the brasserie-style menu, where meat is unashamedly the star. Viande means ‘meat’ in French – an apt title for this meat-focused restaurant offering contemporary nose-to-tail dining. On the menu you will find items like pan-fried calves liver, slow roasted pork belly, seared hangar steak, 28-day dry aged prime rib and roasted free range chicken. Chef Pete and his capable kitchen crew are even curing and smoking new delicacies, with selected cuts dry-aged on site in imported German meat-fridges.

Mobolletjies, ciabatta, beef fat and flavoured butter.

 

My choice for a glass of wine to go with my lunch: Underoaks Three Twenty 2015 – a premium white blend, lightly wooded.

 

I was invited to experience Viande for lunch, and want to share my photographs with you. I’ve been a fan of Chef Pete’s food for many years, having tasted a few of his nose-to-tail menus before, also including the best vanilla custard I’ve ever tasted (yes, he makes fabulous desserts too). Chef Pete has a knack of putting a menu together that will surely be a hit with many. Items like traditional bouillabaisse are hard to find on menus these days, and although it’s a surprise to find it on a meat driven menu like Viande’s, it was my choice for a main course. Served with a bright yellow rouille, it was the perfect cherry on top. For starters I went for a classic mushroom risotto (relatively easy to get right, difficult to get immaculate) and it delivered in every way possible. For dessert, I tried the profiteroles – something Pete added to the menu from childhood memories. I also have strong childhood memories of eating custard-filled eclairs topped with a runny chocolate icing, so having these beautiful profiteroles freshly topped with warm chocolate, filled with delicious French-style vanilla custard and grilled banana was a joyful ending to an extraordinary meal.

Viande at The Grande Roche, Paarl, is a bright new beacon on the highly competitive Winelands dining scene.

Starter: Wild mushroom risotto, parmesan & gremolata.

 

Main course: Bouillabaisse with toasted ciabatta & rouille. (The rouille only arrived after I tucked in, so I didn’t get a photograph of it. It was the highlight of this dish – absolutely delicious. This dish is not on the regular menu, but will be featuring now and then on the set menu for Sundays.)

 

Dessert: White and milk chocolate profiteroles.

 

The view from Viande’s entrance.

Viande is open 7 days a week for breakfast between 07h00-10h00, lunch between 12h00-15h00 and dinner from 19h00-22h00, with Sunday brunch on the cards as well. Book online (Dineplan app) or by calling Grande Roche on 021-863 5100, or emailing viande@granderoche.co.za. Starters vary from R90-R120, mains from R120-R250, and desserts from R80-R120 (click here for a menu).

The Grande Roche Hotel is located at 1 Plantasie Street, Paarl.

#Viande #GrandeRoche #GRANDgranderoche

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The new spring menu at Tokara with Chef Carolize Coetzee

6 Sep

The beautiful Tokara Restaurant, Helshoogte, Stellenbosch. (Picture from tokara.co.za.)

 

Following a three-week stint at Cosme Restaurant in New York (ranked 23rd on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019) under the watchful eye of superstar Chef Daniela Soto-Innes,  Tokara Restaurant Executive Chef Carolize Coetzee has found global inspiration for her new ingredient-driven spring menu.

Chef Carolize Coetzee with Chef Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme in New York. Photo supplied.

 

I was invited to experience a taste of this new menu at a media luncheon a week ago, and had the pleasure of talking to Chef Carolize about her New York experience – a dream trip that was initiated because of her deep admiration for Chef Daniela Soto-Innes (at 28 years old, the youngest ever winner of Female Chef of the Year 2019). She was inspired by how Daniela manages to present traditional Mexican produce, heirloom recipes and ancient techniques in a refined and modern context.

Chef Carolize’s spring menu is filled with ingredients unique to the Simonsberg area of Stellenbosch, fresh produce growing in Tokara’s organic vegetable garden and playful flavour combinations. Fragrant Cape flavours such as nasturtium, kapokbos, renosterbos and sorrel are infused in classically prepared dishes alongside broad beans, asparagus and stone fruit.

Chef Carolize Coetzee joined us at the table, seated next to me. It was a joy to hear more about her New York adventure – a destination that I would love to visit.

 

For starters, I tried the oyster and ‘viskop’ broth with Chinese cabbage, peach & caviar, as well as the spinach, renosterbos and cured egg yolk. For mains, the smoked duck breast, parsnip, whisky
and hazelnut shitake was a feast of nutty & umami flavours. For dessert with a twist, the Spanish almond cake with hibiscus and lemon posset, hibiscus meringue, almond streusel and Spanish nougat ice-cream is utter indulgence and a combination of some of my favourite flavours all in one dish. Chef Carolize’s female touch shines through in her food, and this new spring menu is a celebration of delicate natural colours, clever textures and deep flavours.

“We often tend to shy away from finding inspiration in revisiting our own culinary history and rather try to imitate what’s going on elsewhere in the world. As Daniela and her mentor Enrique Olvera remained loyal in their pursuit of the essence of Mexican cookery, I’d like to remind our guests with each new menu of something they may have forgotten about our collective South African culinary memory.

My aim is for my food to have a real sense of place and that our guests should leave with an indelible impression of our restaurant at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain. That impression should not only concern the food, wine, views and architecture, but the joy and enthusiasm of all the people cooking, serving and cleaning behind the scenes,” says Chef Carolize.

She was particularly inspired by the family-style kitchen culture at Cosme. “Chef Daniela has a real connection with her staff from diverse backgrounds and a multitude of different countries. Every morning she takes the time to personally check in with each and every member of her team, asking about their well being and the well being of their families. To her, family is everything. The Cosme culture has changed the way in which I see the industry. You can create your own ‘vibe’ and culture within a kitchen with joy and respect right at the core,” says Chef Carolize.

With both chefs being 28 years old, Chef Carolize resonated deeply with Chef Daniela’s connection to her heritage, family recipes, and generations of woman cooking together in the kitchen. These food memories are also at the heart of Chef Carolize’s cooking. Take a look at my lunch experience in pictures:

Garden vegetables, vetkoek & dips to start with.

 

Tokara’s incredible wines complemented Chef Carolize’s menu in every way.

 

Oyster and ‘viskop’ broth with Chinese cabbage, peach & caviar.

 

Spinach, renosterbos and cured egg yolk.

 

My favourite wine of the day, Tokara’ Director’s Reserve 2015 – a premium white blend.

 

Smoked duck breast, parsnip, whisky, hazelnut & shitake.

 

Spanish almond cake with hibiscus and lemon posset, hibiscus meringue, almond streusel and Spanish nougat ice-cream.

 

Delicious petit fours to end with.

 

Tokara Restaurant & Olive Estate is a landmark destination in the Stellenbosch Winelands framed by
spectacular views and contemporary art.

Tokara Restaurant is open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday (Monday to Sunday from 7
October) and for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. Chef Carolize’s signature six-course dinner
menu runs from Wednesday, 4 September, with her new a la carte menu from Wednesday, 18
September.

For reservations call Tel: 021 885 2550, e-mail reservations@tokara.com or
visit www.tokararestaurant.co.za

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