A PRIVILEGED TREAT

Occasionally, the stars are aligned and something delectable is on offer and one is included in a select few.

The occasion was a visit to Jacobsdal a family-owned winery in Stellenbosch, to taste their range and for lunch. The privilege? Jacobsdal is not open to the general public…..

Jacobsdal Logo

 

Our gracious hosts, the Dumas family has been making wine on the estate for three generations with present owner Cornelis Dumas being helped by his son Hannes.

Cornelis and Hannes Dumas

Cornelis and Hannes Dumas eyeing their handcrafted wine

Jacobsdal only makes two wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon and (of course!) a Pinotage. They hand-make their wines and only use natural yeasts.

We tasted eight vintages of Jacobsdal Pinotage from their 1997 to the 2014, which is their current vintage in bottles, and six vintages of Jacobsdal Cabernet Sauvignon from 2001 to the 2014, its current bottled vintage.

It was rewarding to smell and taste the often subtle differences across the vintages and it would be easy to give detail impressions of each. But, as I am not sure that all the wines we tasted are still available for purchase, I’ll give a general impression of only two of them, if I may? To check on the availability of the Jacobsdal vintages, I suggest you visit: https://www.vinoteque.co.za/collections/jacobsdal

Jacobsdal started out only making Pinotage before adding Cabernet Sauvignon, so let me start with the Jacobsdal Pinotage 2013.

 

Jacobsdal Pinotage PackShot

The Jacobsdal Pinotage 2013 offers dark berries and dark plums on the nose and a hint of spice. It comes across on the lightish side, but is well balanced and elegant. I tasted it on its own and could see it doing well with venison or a meaty stew.  A very drinkable and enjoyable Pinotage.

Jacobsdal Cabernet Sauvingon Packshot

The Jacobsdal Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is full boded and generous with fruit flavours, it gives dark berries on the nose and a hint of vanilla from light oaking. It too would go well with a meaty stew.

Two really well made wines, generous on the palate with or without food.

We tasted the Jacobsdal range on its own and then paired with lunch.

Talking about lunch…..our invitation was to Jacobsdal Wine Estate, so the balance of this post must necessarily be the wine. But the lunch came to us from Executive Chef Jean Delport from Somerset-West restaurant Benguela on Main.

The plating, the food, the creativity and the pairing made for one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had in this country.

If this is an example of what to expect from Chef Delport, I’ll definitely be adding a visit to Benguela on Main to my 2017 bucket list.

Too often one visits wine estates that exudes far too little of a sense of being a farm – the genuine warmth, passion and generosity that makes a farm visit so special. Jacobsdal did more than just tick those boxes!!

Baie dankie Dumas gesin!

 

Advertisements

MOST EVERYBODY REMEMBERS THEIR FIRST TIME

DD99FCxXYAEOMp5

The iconic main building at Dewetshof Estate in Robertson


I remember the first time I tasted chardonnay.

It was in the mid-1980s and at the time, I was living in Johannesburg. A visiting family member brought me a bottle up from Cape Town.

Of course, the chardonnay was from the pioneering Dewetshof Estate in Robertson-what else?

What are my memories of that first taste?

Unfortunately I can’t share with you my nose/palate memory of it, I remember downing so much of it, and enjoying very last drop, but 500ml is a lot of wine on an empty stomach………

Fast forward a few decades – I recently attended a luncheon to launch Dewetshof’s Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2017 held La Tệte Restaurant in Cape Town’s super-trendy Bree Street.

DWH Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2017

 

Now La Tệte has quickly earned a reputation for delivering its Head to Tail philosophy and also offering diners wondrous offal dishes…..

On arrival, my brain clicked in and the inappropriateness of pairing offal with chardonnay….so what dishes would we be served?

I tried a sip of the Limestone Hill before our first course was served. It is unwooded and offered some citrus and nuttiness.

Not being that knowledgeable on matters food and wine pairing, I found it amazing how different the wine tasted with each dish.

We started with a pork dish, which for me (apologies for my lack of sophisticated descriptive words) made the wine taste very very chardonnayish.

Our main was a gloriously crusty and juicy Hake Pie which made the Limestone Hill Chardonnay taste sweeter than it did on its own or with the pork.

njss4rf0

 

A truly versatile wine from the pioneers of South African Chardonnay, one that works well on its own or with food.

 

FOOTNOTE

 

4hPS1WmG

Dear La Tệte, it won’t be offaly long before you see me again!

 

ONE GOOD TURN DESERVES ANOTHER

Over the past 20 years or so, our visits to Somerset West have largely been to take part in running races on the Lourensford and Vergelegen wine farms. To get there from Cape Town, one takes the Somerset-West turn-off from the N2, turn right onto the Main Road and then left into Lourensford Road.

But recently (and happily) my wife and I strayed off course. Instead of turning left into Lourensford, we turned right into Bright Street and headed for lunch at Imibala Restaurant.

Trying a restaurant “on the other side of the main road” appeals to my inbred passion for things new, so when a colleague suggested giving Imibala a try….

Often one approaches a new restaurant experience with a fair degree of expectation and maybe even some apprehension…….

We were pleasantly surprised!

The first thing we noticed on entering the restaurant was its homely but elegant decor and we had a corner table which afforded us a view of the whole room. Although it was mid-week, the place was busy, which immediately said something positive.

 

CL-Imibala32

 

Imibala’s Daytime Menu at first glance seems quite large. Chatting to the Executive Chef Nicola Dupper afterwards, she agreed but said she had an excellent team in the kitchen and that they coped well with the size of the menu.

Let me break the Lunch options down into manageable portion size for you: Under Tapas there are 10 items ranging from Gnocchi to Baked Camembert to Braised beef short ribs.

Then there’s a selection of 10 Mains including Oxtail risotto, Karoo lamb cutlets, and a Pork sausage, fennel and bean cassoulet.

You’ll also be able to choose from the Daily Roast: which could either be beef, chicken, lamb or pork, each with a selection of vegetables or salad.

But for me, Imibala’s Harvest Table is the section I’d suggest you head for. The array is impressive, one selects  from a wide variety of freshly prepared dishes including soup, pies, tray bakes, curry, salads, vegetables and freshly baked breads. The day we were there, the salads included a tabbouleh, which is one of all-time my favourites.

So, with that plethora of palate pleasers, what did we eat?

I started with a dish from the Tapas selection: Duck 3 Ways – poached egg with crispy duck crackling; duck liver with cherries; and crispy duck croquette with roasted garlic aioli. A duck feast with a range of textures and flavours to delight. A yummy yummy yummy duck duck duck dish!

To follow that, from the Harvest Table, I tried a beautifully seasoned plate of lamb ribs.

My wife had the Beer battered kingklip, the fish was perfectly cooked and the batter light and tasty.

We then hit the salad table, my wife diversely, while I tabboulehed like there was no tomorrow and was reminded of my Lebanese neighbours of yore.

The service was efficient and friendly and the menu pricing reasonable. The food is beautifully seasoned and cooked, the variety is extraordinary, and the portion sizes very decent.

We will definitely make a good turn again soon.

 

IMIBALA RESTAURANT

18 Bright Street

Somerset-West

Tel: 021 851 2364

Hours: 08:00 – 22:00

Any profits from the Imibala Restaurant support the Imibala Trust.

The Imibala Trust works with school-age children deeply affected by impoverished circumstances, and offers programmes that make a substantial and measurable difference to the children’s present and future lives.

….BUT NO MONA LISA

If the heading confuses you, I’ll explain it at the end of this posting…

My daughter Clare and I, as we enjoy doing whenever we can, recently went on a daddy-daughter date. Clare and I are committed foodies, she with a chef’s training and a superb palate, me with years of experience and eating-out passion.

We both fulfilled a long-held ambition by choosing to have lunch at Reuben’s in Franschhoek. Not at the now-closed Reuben’s of old, but at the very recently opened, Reuben’s Restaurant &Bar.

Reuben’s Restaurant & Bar is in a prime location, it’s in Daniel Hugo Street, a few metres off Huguenot Street and parking shouldn’t be a problem on most days.

 

Reuben's interior

As you can see from the photograph, the décor is modern, elegant and understated. Centrally on the right is the bar counter and centrally on the left is a fireplace. It was a cold day when we visited, but the whole restaurant was comfortably warm.

I hate categorising but…I would label Reuben’s as ‘relaxed fine dining’. Happily, the menu is a small one with four Tasters, eight Starters, nine Mains and four desserts. There are also daily Specials advantaging the freshest of locally available ingredients.

I chose well, Reuben’s signature Starter, Tuna Tataki – yuzo (a Japanese citrus), pickled mustard, avocado, radish, lime mayo and roasted sesame. Refreshing, and a good palate opener. Clare ordered the Poke Bowl – ceviche, lemongrass, edamame and sesame. Lovely textures and Asian flavours, I tasted some and we both agreed it’s a starter we’d be happy to order again.

Choosing a main was a challenge, Clare chose one of the Specials of the day, Asian Braised Beef Cheek and I chose from the Menu, Peppered Chalmar Picanha. Two perfect meat dishes for a cold day and lovely contrasts to the light freshness of our starters.

Waistline conscientious, we dithered as to whether or not to order Desserts. Our server ended our agony by suggesting that we share a Warm Chocolate Fondant, and who were we to argue. The test of a good fondant is its ooze of liquid chocolate, and this one certainly did ooze. Clare and I don’t like overly sweet desserts, the Chocolate Fondant was just right for our palates.

All the portions of the dishes we ordered were of a very decent size. Not always that common these days

Now to the non-menu yardsticks of a good restaurant, plating and service. Not only is Reuben’s plating top-notch, but mention must also be made of his beautiful choice of plates as well. I like servers that are well-informed, warm and appropriately friendly, ours certainly was.

A faultless meal in every way – the boy from the ‘hood certainly knows how to cook up a storm.

Why did I refer to the Mona Lisa in my heading, I hear you reminding me? On my very first visit to Paris, a visit to the Louvre was top of my tourist must do list. We joined the queue, and went in. Looking at the layout guide, we headed straight for the Mona Lisa (what else?!), almost out of breath, we reached where she is hung…..except she wasn’t there!!!!! Removed for cleaning. Gasp, close to tears with huge disappointment, necessitated a three year wait before a (successful!) return visit.

Reuben was not at Reuben’s on the day we visited, so no Mona Lisa! But we definitely will not wait three years to return!

Not the Mona Lisa, but here’s Reuben:

Reuben

 

18582431_261615950971523_3575194509996678896_n[1]

Call 021 876 3772

 

 

2017 OLD MUTUAL TROPHY WINE AWARDS DELIVER A FINE SPREAD

 

One of the most prestigious wine competitions in South Africa, the Old Mutual Trophy Wine show, is always a class act.

From the privilege of listening to the Judges’ feedback to the excitement of the Awards lunch – its superbly organised all the way and the tone set is unpretentious and elegantly relaxed.

The 2017 awards climaxed yesterday at a lunch at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town. The late May day delivered balmy warmth as we arrived to welcoming drinks and canapes.

It was tempting to over-indulge on the canapes – Marinated calamari on tapioca cracker; Seared springbok loin with crispy beef tendon and pickled cucumber; Mushroom and baby marrow terrine; and Crispy fried potato skin with salmon mousse and watercress – but in anticipation of the lunch, I bravely held back……a bit!

Lunch was at the Nellie’s famous Planet Restaurant and without going into the menu in detail, we enjoyed a superb spread: Seabass ceviche, Roast beef fillet and slow-cooked beef short rib, and a waistline endangering dessert.

Michael Fridjhon with his charm and tongue-in-cheek delivery-style announced the Gold winners first and then the Trophy Winners. The geographic breadthof ht winners speaks volumes for how our quality wine industry has grown.

I lift my glass and salute:

Old Mutual Trophy for Most Successful Producer Overall

Tokara

Makro Trophy for Best Shiraz, Old Mutual Trophy for Best Red Wine Overall

Leeuwenkuil Heritage Syrah 2014

Miele Trophy for Best Chardonnay, Old Mutual Trophy for Best White Wine Overall,

Old Mutual International Judges’ Trophy

DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2016

Old Mutual Trophy for Discovery of the Show / Best Value Gold Medallist

Secret Cellar Merlot Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon No. 702 2015

American Express Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon

Landzicht Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Grande Roche Trophy for Best White Blend

Cavalli Cremello 2015

Old Mutual Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine

Constantia Uitsig Méthode Cap Classique Brut 2013

Old Mutual Trophy for Best Dessert Wine

Buitenverwachting ‘1769’ 2014

Riedel Trophy for Best Bordeaux-Style Red Blend

Buitenverwachting Meifort 2014

Harold Eedes Trophy for Best Chenin Blanc

Darling Cellars Old Bush Vines Chenin Blanc 2016

Nestlé Pure Life Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc

Stark-Condé Round Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Tony Mossop Trophy for Best Cape Port

Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2015

Trophy for Best Red Blend – Non-Bordeaux Style

De Krans Tritonia 2015

Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Blend

Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2015

Trophy for Best Pinotage

Bosman Family Vineyards Pinotage 2014

Trophy for Best Pinot Noir

Paul Wallace Brave Heart Pinot Noir 2015

Trophy for Best Semillon

Deetlefs Familie White 2014

Trophy for Best Niche Variety

Credo Limited Release Verdelho 2015 (Stellenbosch Vineyards)

Trophy for Best Museum Class Chenin Blanc

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012

Trophy for Best Museum Class Chardonnay

Rustenberg Five Soldiers Chardonnay 2009

Trophy for Best Museum Class Unfortified Dessert Wine

Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur Chenin Blanc Noble Late Harvest 2009

 

I not so modestly cconclude with this from my blog written in 2015: “Last, was my Shiraz 2013’s daddy, the truly splendid, fynbos-influenced Leeuwenkuil Heritage Series Syrah 2012. I am convinced much acclaim and recognition is coming this wine’s way. I shall certainly be following its track record.”

 

 

 

IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE ‘HOOD TODAY YOURE SURE OF A BIG SURPRISE

 

If you go down to the woods today

You’re sure of a big surprise.

If you go down to the woods today

You’d better go in disguise.

For every bear that ever there was

Will gather there for certain, because

Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

 

For many of us of a certain age, Teddy Bears Picnic was a song of our childhood. It came to mind when I recently paid a visit to Robertson.

It had been a few years since I last visited the town, so I was happy to be invited to visit the new home of Four Cousins Wines – it’s literally the gateway to the town and is the first building on your left you see as you enter Robertson driving from Worcester.

Now, knowing one is visiting a relatively small country town, one tends to temper one’s expectations. But what a wonderful surprise @Four Cousins is!

 

@FC-180

Entrance to @FourCousins, Robertson

 

From the moment one walks up the building’s front steps, one is struck by the chic yet unpretentious look of the place. The multi-spaced interior is modern industrial with clever touches of warm and softening colour. The layout is such that there is abundant space for all its leisure offerings.

 

@FC-198

Boet Beer Microbrewery

Inside there is a deli shop, a wine-tasting area, the @FourCousins restaurant and the Boet Beer Microbrewery.

Now, the Four Cousins range of wines is a diverse one and deservedly, they are a popular choice of everyday drinkers and they are very affordably priced too.

I particularly loved the innovative offering of wine and nibble pairings. I won’t detail them all, but there are eight tasting platter options. I found the Sparkling Wine Pairing a particularly fun one, it came with a triangle of Melrose Cheese, Camembert and green fig on Melba toast, strawberry meringue and pepper cheese.

The @4Cousins restaurant an asset to the area and is likely to become much sought out by locals and visitors alike. Its menu is comprehensive with a decent Breakfast Menu and a Lunch/Dinner offering inclduing flatbreads, starters, salads, steaks, burgers and pizzas. Of course, there is a wine and beer list as well. What else?

Not only is the food good, but the plating and service are as well.

For lunch I chose the Chef’s Choice River Red Rump which was char-grilled and topped with sautéed mushrooms and a red wine sauce. It was as good a steak as any I had enjoyed in Cape Town. Having tasted the Four Cousin wines earlier, I opted instead for a Boet Beer Weiss, it and the steak were very happy together.

 

The restaurant is open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and its trading hours are:

Monday – Saturday              09h00-22h00

Sunday                                  09h00-17h00

Phone 023 615 1505 for more information

 

I really enjoyed my visit to @FourCousins and will definitely return to say “Howzit my cousin” soon.

Pity I didn’t see any Teddy Bears there on my first visit……

 

logo[1]

 

DIE WARE BERTUS – HOMEGROWN

South African chef Bertus Basson is best known nationally from his television appearances as host and judge on The Ultimate Braai Master and on Brood en Botter.

As a chef he has enjoyed remarkable success with his Stellenbosch restaurant Overture, which he established in 2007. Over the past 10 years, the restaurant has regularly been awarded prestigious accolades from both the Eat Out and Rossouw’s Restaurant guides. Bertus has expanded his food interests to include his own range of condiments, and establishing more restaurants: Bertus Basson at Spice Route and Spek & Bone in Stellenbosch and the revolving restaurant, Bertus Basson at the Ritz Hotel in Sea Point, Cape Town.

 

5601192-l[1]

Chef Bertus Basson’s first published cookbook

Constantly being asked when he was going to bring out a cookbook, Homegrown is that book. If you are expecting a cookbook bulging with challenging recipes, this is not it.

If you are lucky enough to have visited Overture, you will be familiar with the traditional South African inspiration that runs through its menu.

Homegrown is a largely about the many food memories that inspire Bertus and that have made him the chef he is today.

“It is about place and the past, capturing more than just a bunch of my recipes. It is about where my food journey began and how I draw on both my own memory and the strong cultural past of an Afrikaans kid to create the food in our restaurants. I do this because I love how we cook and how we eat as South Africans is such a rich fountain of inspiration.”

In it you will find some classic Overture recipes but also recipes that have stayed with Bertus wherever he has cooked.

From the ice-creams of childhood, pilchard salad, braaid snoek with apricot glaze. There are recipes for tongue, frikkadels, recipes inspired those from his mother and his aunt and even some from people in his ‘hood’. Some recipes that stand out include those for Beer Braised Pork Belly, Charred Octopus with Gnocchi and Nasturtium Paste and Milk Tart Soufflé and much more that is lekkerly local.

Along the way one gets to learn what makes Bertus tick, food wise and Homegrown. is more fine eating than fine dining. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that!

“It surprises friends to learn that I did not like food as a kid. My mother had to work hard to get me to eat anything that wasn’t sweet. That’s why my earliest memories are of sweet things and with Homegrown starts with dessert.”

The book’s food is genuinely South African and unpretentious and in it you’ll find some original twists on many familiar dishes and the gloriously delicious images taken by photographer, Claire Gunn.

Bertus Basson Homegrown, mooi so, Bertus!

THE NEXT BEST THING TO BREAKFAST IN BED

Who doesn’t have nostalgic memories of the pleasure of enjoying breakfast in bed? My memories of this delight, alas, are from a distant childhood.

Recently I enjoyed a breakfast that gave me an experience, if not of “in bed” status, that came a very decent second place.

La Parada Del Mar is situated on the world famous Camps Bay strip, here in Cape Town – ocean, palm trees, beach facing, it is beautifully situated and boasts a modern interior décor that is tastefully appropriate to its seaside location.

Now I am a ‘been there many times’ fan of the La Parada Bree in central Cape Town and have revelled in the diverse delights of its tapas menu and special vibe. So a recent breakfast invitation to its sister on the beach was a very easy yes please

Weather-wise it was a glorious morning, clear sunny skies and comfortably warm and tranquil. We ate upstairs and this image provided us with the state of mind and pleasure on the visual senses to stimulate having a good time…..

la-parada-del-mar-camps-bay-upstairs-hr

 …..that view. Tranqulity Base, I have landed!!

The Breakfast Menu is very decently priced and its first-listed offering leapt off the page and became my choice:

Pan Breakfast (R69) – slow cooked tomato sauce, fried chorizo, blackened corn, two fried eggs and toasted bread.

It was absolutely delicious and resonated big time with my inner umami. Smile on my face and the look of contentment.

For those of you with a more sedate palate at breakfast time – the rest of the menu is for you.

‘Not in bed’ Breakfast at La Parada was good, very good and very ‘must do again’!

The La Parada Breakfast Menu is available at their three branches. If you want a tranquil setting, try the La Parada Constantia in its splendidly wooded environment atop Constantia Nek, or like me head to the Camps Bay seaside.

 

 

d2d600c98c813dd580bee79c50ffd53b-img1 

La Parada Del Mar

35 Victoria Road, Camps Bay

021 286 2106

Monday-Sunday 09h00 – 02h00

 

SPENDING QUALITY TIME WITH PIERNEEF AT LA MOTTE

img_20170130_103848

This year marks 60 years since the death of celebrated South African artist Pierneef, as well as the 90th birthday of his daughter Marita.

To celebrate these two anniversaries, the La Motte Museum in Franchhoek is presenting a new exhibition – A Tribute to the Life and Work of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957). The exhibition will run for the duration of 2017, and enhances La Motte’s permanent heritage collection with selected artworks from various collections in South Africa and some of Pierneef’s personal artefacts are also on display.

I was fortunate enough to have attended its official opening recently.

Our hosts, Hein and Hanneli Koegelenberg painted a vivid picture of their relationship to Pierneef’s works and gave background to the new exhibition. Both spoke eloquently from the heart (although I would have given anything to have heard Hanneli break into song!).

The Rupert-Koegelenberg support of the arts and cultural heritage is legendary and has added so much to the South African cultural landscape over the years and this exhibition is but the latest example.

Jacob Hendrick Pierneef is considered by many to be the quintessential South African artist.and this Pierneef Tribute exhibition is both a privilege and a delight. For those, like me, who only think of trees when the name Pierneef is mentioned, the works on display certainly broaden one’s appreciation.

“For Pierneef art and architecture were inseparable because for him both depended on the structuring of space and proportion. One can say that he interpreted the landscape through with a structural bias. He often treated mountains and rock formations as structures and even his trees were sometimes used like collonades through which the landscape in the background is seen in perspective. The Architectural structural elements in his paintings are emphasised by his simplification of subjects that reveal their basic structure”.

Of course there are many marvellous works featuring trees, but there are also painting depicting architecture, mountains and clouds. It was wonderful to be able to see in one venue Pierneef’s stylistic evolvement.

untitled

In particular, his Composition in Blue (1928) really appealed, as did the technical mastery he showed in his pencil drawing of the Union Buildings (1947).

There is so much to savour at the rare opportunity that is this Pierneef exhibition of over 100 of his works, make sure to give yourself enough time when you visit it.

After an extensive walk through the exhibition, it was off to Pierneef a la Motte for lunch. The day’s Pierneef focus continued, with Executive Chef Michelle Theron producing four exquisite courses (paired with La Motte wines, of course!) that were inspired by the master of the paint palette.

For a starter we had: Confit tomato, goat’s cheese and nut millefeuilles; our main was: Venison with traditional stewed peaches and wild rosemary; the cheese dish was creativity at its best and consisted of: Gorgonzola parfait, blue cheese candyfloss, black pepper honey cake and boerenkaas choux with straw wine jelly, homemade preserve and pickles; and to end on a sweet note: White chocolate blanc mange with strawberry and elderberry jelly and red velvet opera (Hanneli’s influence?)

A feast for the eyes, a feast for the palate, La Motte certainly feeds the senses.

 

 

The Pierneef Tribute Exhibition is at the La Motte Museum which is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 09:00 – 17:00 and entrance is free.

logo1

Phone +27 (0)21 876 8000

I’VE DISCOVERED A FAB NEW RESTAURANT IN CAPE TOWN – THE MESS

I love eating out and especially at places I have never been to before. That appeals to the spirit of adventure in me and culinary curiosity is part of my DNA. I also am likely to choose food/dishes that we don’t serve at home….

Top of the range Fine Dining of course has enormous appeal, but expense of dining at these establishments tends to make them aspirational. But much like enjoying a wine that was awarded less than four or five stars, dining at a restaurant that isn’t in the fine dining descriptor, can be no less a rewarding experience.

Last week, together with my daughter Clare, I discovered The Mess, a restaurant and bar located in Cape Town’s trendy De Waterkant Village in Green Point  Cape Town is blessed with trendy nodes – Bree Street, Long Street and the De Waterkant being three of them. So The Mess is right there in an area where taking a short stroll reveals so much to delight.

the-mess-interior-hr-4

We had booked for early evening, enjoying the transition that occurs as day turns into night as we do. We were warmly greeted and seated and immediately enjoyed the look and feel of the place.

The Mess encourages the sharing plates of enjoyable food, its menu takes inspiration from a diverse range of cuisines. Although the menu is (happily!!) not a large one, there is much from which to choose and the dishes are all very reasonably priced.

Our waitress was really good, relaxed, friendly and intimate with the menu and we soon were ‘into it’ and ready to make our choices.

We found the overall service at The Mess really top notch and pitched perfectly for the establishment. A wonderful value-add for us was the hands-on presence of owner and restaurateur Carlene de Gouveia. A charming lady and a genial and caring host.

This is what we chose (some dishes we didn’t share):

 

the-mess-flatbreads-and-mezze-hr

We started with Yoghurt & Thyme Flatbreads on which we topped; Confit duck rillettes, pickled beetroot; White bean and tahini paté, pine nut and mint vinaigrette; and Pickled goats’ cheese with nut dukkha. We enjoyed all three, but agreed that the duck option was the star.

Next dish I tried was Soft Shell Crab, Creole fried with a smokey mayo. This was a treat, and I can’t remember when I last ate crab in any form. Much like a wine/food pairing, I first tried the crab on its own, then tried the yummy yummy yummy mayo and finally the crab and mayo together. I could easily devour a generous main portion of this dish.

Next, for sharing, was Tuna Geviche. The tuna was lime cured with coriander and spring onion salad and avocado. We both found this dish fresh and refreshing and a lovely gateway to what we had chosen for mains. It too was very moreish.

We chose from The Grill and must say that both dishes deserved a description on the menu, they were too good to be relegated to just a line item and maybe unfairly overlooked.

I chose the Pork Loin Ribs, which were magnificently and exotically flavoured with a Char Siu basting, honey, soya sauce and Hoisin sauce – this Asian inspired treatment was superb and gave this ribs fan a new Number One. The cliché is that the meat fell off the bone, well it did! As a side I had Charred broccoli and dukkha, crisp and tasty – so delicious that I could turn vegetarian. Well maybe only for ten minutes!!!

Clare, she the Warwick-trained chef, had Angus Ribeye steak with an herb butter (coriander, basil, dill, parsley, garlic, butter) with chips as a side. “The best chips I have had in my whole life!” She made short shrift of the steak too. I also had a taste of the steak which elicited in me,  MasterChef salivation.

I must make special mention of The Mess’s special mayos, they are superb. Hopefully they will eventually bottle and sell them. I’ll be first in the queue.

The battle between weight and a lifelong passion for desserts is an uneven contest. The latter always the valiant winner. I must confess the dessert menu is usually my first port of call in a restaurant menu.

the-mess-dark-chocolate-lava-cake-hr

Clare and I shared: Dark Chocolate Lava Cake – baked dark chocolate pudding, white chocolate and lime ice cream with roasted hazelnuts. Dangerously good, but we showed no fear.

We loved our first visit to The Mess, there is so much to like about eating there and there is much untasted on its Menu that I want to come and try.

 

 

 

the-mess-final-inverted-011

 Ground Floor, The Rockwell All Suite Hotel, Shop 110 Napier Street.

Operating hours are Monday – Saturday 18h00 till late.

(021) 418-3910 or email: info@themess.co.za