High Tea at The Twelve Apostles in Cape Town

My birthday tea at The Twelve Apostles

I recently celebrated my birthday (I’m not going to put a number on it, they’re getting way too big for my liking!) and my sister treated me to High Tea at The Twelve Apostles Hotel in Cape Town. And what a treat it was! This beautiful five-star hotel oozes class and style, with  fabulous views looking out over the ocean and back towards Camps Bay and Lion’s Head.

There’s a set (and large) selection of food to devour, so no stress on the decision making front. Just settle in and enjoy the views and elegance that surround you. The display in the foyer greets you and our first thought was “That can’t be for two” – we were wrong, it is. Not that we managed to eat it all – let’s just say several families benefited by tucking into leftover treats. And they happily produced boxes for us to carry the extras home in.

I’ll let the pictures tell the happy story.

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

The extravaganza on offer

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Cakes, macaroons and sandwiches to delight

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Close up on some of the sweet treats

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Scones, cream and jam…and chocolate treats

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Easter Tea at The Leopard Bar

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Glorious blue views and a curious seagull

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

The lobby oozes class and is filled with beautiful South African flowers

High Tea at The Twelve Apostles

Happiness is birthday tea with your sister

The Twelve Apostles is at Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.

Lunch at Bistro Sixteen82 at Steenberg in Cape Town

Today we’re heading to beautiful Steenberg about half an hour’s drive from the centre of Cape Town. Steenberg claims it’s the Cape’s oldest farm – established in 1682, and who am I to argue? There’s a lot going on here. A beautiful five-star hotel, a world-class golf course and vineyards producing award-winning wines. Plus two restaurants – and we’re visiting Bistro Sixteen82 – no prizes for guessing how they chose the name.

Bistro Sixteen82 sets next to Steenberg’s winery. It’s a bright and contemporary space, surrounded by lovely gardens, a terrace and water features. And great mountain and vineyard views.

Chef Kerry Kilpin’s menu is influenced by her love of Thailand, so you’ll find a lot of Asian flavours popping up in classic dishes.

As well as an extensive menu choice there’s a board with specials chalked up and I went for the mussel special. And it was very special, beautifully plump mussels served in a creamy saffron sauce. I’m loving the Cape Town mussels, just can’t get enough of them.

Mussels at Sixteen82

Creamy, sweet mussels

One of the favourites on the menu are the tempura prawns. Served with red cabbage, coriander and peanut noodle salad, miso mayo and red chilli syrup. An irresistible combination of flavours and textures, and a pretty plate of food, too.

Tempura prawns at Sixteen82

Crunchy prawns on a bed of Asian flavours

And how’s this for an exotic dish? Curry dusted calamari is served with avo pulp, babaganoush sauce and soy syrup. They’re built up into little parcels of deliciousness.

Calamari at Sixteen82

Colourful calamari parcels

Our waitress did offer us the option of starters in main course portions, which is always a good thing. I often find that I’m more tempted by the starter selection. Having said, that, today was  hard enough to make a main course choice as it all sounded tempting.

The braised lamb neck was stuffed with herb ricotta and sultanas and served with sweet potato puree, greens and rooibos and rosemary jus. I love this mix of South African and Italian ingredients.

Lamb at Sixteen82

A tower of lamb delight

So after plenty of umming and aahing my main course choice took a sudden swerve when faced with the pressure of ordering and I went the pork belly. I’ve eaten a good selection of this delicious piggy cut in my Cape Town summer – it seems to be on most menus. Served with  smoked cauliflower puree, a fennel and apple salad and cider jus, today’s dish is right up there on my list of favourite PB’s. The meat was melt-in-the-mouth and the zestiness of the apple and fennel made for a good contrast to the richness. Also, the cider jus was light and I loved the addition of slow roasted tomatoes which weren’t even mentioned in the description. Thumbs up!

Pork belly at Sixteen82

Happiness is the ongoing pork belly tasting

The beef fillet was grilled and served on a bed of potato roost, with asparagus, pea and tomato salsa and a creamy black pepper jus. Lovely tender fillet and another great sauce. Kerry is certainly a sauce-loving type of chef as you can clearly see by these pictures. And wonderful sauces they are too.

Fillet at Sixteen82

A fillet and black pepper jus extravaganza

Our lunch today was shared with four of our lovely Cape Town friends (thanks guys for an awesome lunch). So there were plenty of dessert lovers insisting on some sweet treats. I’m aware that I often don’t order pudding because I’m not that much of a sweet eater. So today you’re lucky to be treated to what was actually the highlight of a very good meal – and that’s even for a non-dessert eater.

Like this plate of pinkness. The yogurt panna cotta was served with rose vanilla ice cream, a phyllo cigar, fresh berries and lemon curd. Now I am quite partial to a panna cotta and eaten with the rose vanilla ice cream it was simply wow.

Panna cotta at Sixteen82

Panna cotta and pinkness

And how’s this for a work of art. The salted caramel chocolate ganache was served with peanut pinwheels, vanilla cream, peanut butter ice cream and a lace biscuit. Heaven for chocolate and peanut butter lovers – I mean peanut pinwheels?! What joy.

Chocolate pud at Sixteen82

Chocolate and peanut butter flavours to savour

Pud number three is the banana cheesecake and peanut macaroon. It’s served with sesame ice cream, creme anglaise, popcorn praline and honeycomb. Seems like six desserts in one!

Banana cheesecake at Sixteen82

A bundle of beautiful sweet treats

Well, those desserts simply blew me away – it’s worth visiting just for a plate of sweet treats. Although I certainly wouldn’t be able to resist the mains – or the starters come to that. Settle in at Sixteen82 for a long three-course lunch and savour Kerry’s delicious dishes.

Oh and here’s today’s autocorrect annoyance. Steenberg being corrected to Sternberg EVERY TIME…clearly autocorrect doesn’t learn from being corrected – is there an irony in there somewhere?

Today’s price point

You will pay around R350 per person for three courses. That’s just over £20 at today’s exchange rate. All the courses are pretty substantial – making for very good value.

Bistro Sixteen82 is on the Sternberg Estate, Steenberg Road, Tokay, about half an hour from Central Cape Town.

 

Beautifully tasty lunch at Terroir at Kleine Zalze

Welcome to Terroir, Kleine Zalze

What is your favourite restaurant? A question I regularly get asked and one I find extremely difficult to answer. I don’t know how people make their judgements for all those “Best restaurants in the world” lists, it’s  a tricky business. Having said that, today we are having lunch at a restaurant that I would certainly put up there at the top of my list.

Terroir opened in October 2004 and I’ve been at least once every year since then when I visit Cape Town. It’s almost like an annual pilgrimage that I have to make. The restaurant is set on the Kleine Zalze wine estate near Stellenbosch and on a balmy summer day you sit under the shades overlooking the De Zalze Golf Course and the terraces of vineyards. Simply walking down those steps to Terroir gives me a sense of contentment – and of course anticipation for the food to come.

You’re know you’re going to eat beautifully presented plates of seasonal, modern South African cuisine and drink wonderful wine. The menu is chalked up on the board and as the waitress talks you through the dishes on offer freshly baked bread is served. And a bowl of their wonderfully smoky olives. Today we had a choice of four dishes per course.

Bread at Terroir

Freshly baked bread and wonderful smoked olives

Sweet and sour salmon with a difference

It was one of those days when the choice was made easy for me with two dishes I couldn’t wait to try. For my starter I chose this stunning seared salmon dish served with bacon, watermelon, sweet and sour sauce and kewpie mayo. An unusual mix of ingredients but one that worked beautifully. The salmon melted in my mouth, the sauce had a lovely sweet/sour balance with its crunchy watermelon and crispy bacon. Kewpie mayo is Japanese mayonnaise and considered by many to be the king of mayo – it was rich and creamy. And what beautiful colours!

Terroir salmon

The spectacularly sweet and tangy salmon

The perfect prawn risotto

The prawn risotto with Americaine sauce is Terroir’s signature dish – and has been on the menu as far back as I can remember – the only dish that remains on the ever-changing menu. I think there would be such an outcry if it was ever removed that they don’t dare to! I have friends who don’t even look at the menu but simply order prawn risotto every time. They can serve it in starter or main course portions. And yes, it does taste as good as it looks. This version of sauce Americaine (a classic French sauce) is truly spectacular, makes me want to lick the bowl clean.

Terroir prawn risotto

The ever-fabulous signature prawn risotto

Beef tartare to dream about

This is one of my favourite dishes and I’ve eaten it in many, many restaurants around the world. Terroir’s version is served with a soft quail’s egg, basil pesto, charred aubergine puree and asparagus ribbons. And a silken sauce to pour over. Such a pretty and indulgent plate of richness.

Terroir steak tartare

Compact and rich steak tartare

The flakiness of Kingklip

Today’s fresh line fish was kingklip, one of my favourite fish with it’s great firm texture and sweet flavour, It was served on a bed of spinach with chorizo, crispy pieces of squid and mild red pepper.

Terroir kingklip

Flaky, juicy kingklip with squid

Bring on the pork belly

The quest to eat pork belly in every corner of the Western Cape continues. The confit pork belly was served on a luscious pea veloute, with crushed potatoes, delicate sprout leaves and pickled onions.

Terroir pork belly

Sweet and tender pork belly

As I ordered two starters (one instead of a main, not as well as) I decided to treat myself to a truly indulgent side – truffled mac. Bubbling in this beautiful little pot, the rich earthy flavours and creaminess were wonderful.

Terroir truffled mac

Richly earthy truffled mac

Don’t try to resist the pudding

Desserts are equally beautiful like this amazingly dedication mille-feuille of apple with fennel, rose and vanilla ice cream.

Delicately delicious dessert

Terror does a good cheese board selection which several of us opted for. A lovely range beautifully presented with a basketful of crisp breads.

Cheese at Terroir

Tasty local cheese beautifully displayed

Biscuits at Terroir

Crunchy homemade biscuits

Menu at Terroir

Terroir’s blackboard of choices and the view beyond

Another great lunch at Terroir – as these stunning pictures prove that. I love that you can always depend on that. I can see I’ll be back again next year because it’s just too good to resist.

Today’s price point

Terroir is one of the more pricey restaurants in the region – but still great value, especially with the quality of the cooking.

We paid R1,100 for three courses for two people without wine. That’s about £65 at today’s exchange rate.

The wine list offers a good choice, including the estate’s own wine. Their delicious Kleine Zalze Merlot sells for R150.

Terror is at the Klein Zalze Wine Estate off the R44 between Somerset West and Stellenbosch.

South China Dim Sum Bar – Cape Town’s dumpling heaven

How I love a dim sum feast. Consequently I was totally delighted when friends recommended the South China Dim Sum Bar. It’s right at the top of Cape Town’s Long Street (close to the Mountain).

Long Street is a mix of bars, coffee bars, souvenir shops and random other shops, youth hostels and book shops. As a result it’s a busy, interesting road, also known for its attractive Victorian buildings with their wrought iron balconies.

First of all we popped in at The Dubliner for a quick pint (they serve Kilkenny Irish ale on tap). My Irish roots appreciate that it seems like there’s an Irish welcome in a bar everywhere in the world.  A refreshing beer and time to head for some much needed Dim Sum treats.

South China Dim Sum Bar is an understated sort of establishment. It’s a long, narrow room and you sit at small tables on crates or stools – not unlike a lot of the places we experienced recently in Vietnam. The place was buzzing with activity when we arrived and we got the last available table.

There’s a good selection of dim sum as well as a soup and salad option. Must go back to try out their Thai papaya salad – one of my all-time favourites. Today we decided to go for a sampling of the dim sum – gotta get the full picture after all.

Dumplings are served up on paper plates (there’s no frills here), piping hot and obviously freshly made. The chicken wontons came with a spicy Szechuan dressing. And you’re also given a little bowl of soya, hoisin and chilli sauces for extra dipping.

South China Dim Sum Bar

Chicken wonton with spicy Szechaun sauce

My favourites of our order were the beef and lamb potstickers. I love their crunchy outside and they were packed with flavoursome meat.

South China Dim Sum Bar

Beef potstickers with black vinegar

The Har Gow were beautifully soft and packed with fresh prawns, while the Sui Mai offered a delightfully rich combination of pork and shiitake mushroom.

South China Dim Sum Bar

Delightful prawn and pork parcels

South China Dim Sum Bar

The trio of dipping sauces

South China Dim Sum Bar

Lamb potstickers with spicy yogurt

Service is friendly and quick and there’s a great atmosphere as people demolish large quantities of some of the best dim sum I’ve ever experienced. In addition, it’s all really great value.

I spotted the cocktail list too late – they all sounded very enticing therefore I will have to have one on my next visit.

Because I’m telling you there will definitely be another time. And soon.

South China Dim Sum Bar

Enjoy an exotic cocktail with your dim sum

South China Dim Sum Bar

The entrance to dumpling heaven

South China Dim Sum Bar

The menu is chalked up on the blackboard

South China Dim Sum Bar

You can watch the activity in the open kitchen

South China Dum Sum Bar

The lovely blue view opposite the restaurant

Today’s price point

And finally…lunch for two (five dim sum dishes and a bottle of wine) cost us R289 which is £18 at today’s exchange rate.

South China Dim Sum Bar is at 289 Long Street, Cape Town

Great tapas at Chalk & Cork in Kloof Street

Today we’re heading to Chalk & Cork on Cape Town’s Kloof Street. It’s the road that connects the centre of the city to all the City Bowl neighbourhoods and is where Long, Orange and Buitensingel meet. More than that it’s a hive of activity with such a range of places to eat and drink you’re going to get confused if you wander for too long. On the up side you’re definitely going to find something that suits your needs.

Tapas-style eating is everywhere these days. Suits me as it means I get to try more of the dishes on offer and can avoid food envy when others’ orders look better than mine.

The slightly strangely named Chalk & Cork specialise in sharing plates. This small, quirky restaurant has a lovely outside area, perfect for Kloof Street people-watching, a small bar area downstairs and a few tables upstairs. It’s a cosy little place with welcoming service and a great feel. And there are corks all over the place, they’re part of the decor –  not so sure what the chalk has to do with it. Anyway, it’s certainly a name that sticks in the mind.

We shared a range of dishes which were all outstanding. The tempura of East Coast hake came with variations of peas – such a clever idea. Pea puree, peas in and out of the pod and pea shots added a beautiful sweetness to the flakey fish with its perfectly crisp batter.

Chalk & Cork hake

Sweet and crunchy hake tempura with peas

The smoked tomato risotto was served with sour cream and charred corn. The smoking certain gave the dish a unique flavour and the sour cream added extra zest.

Chalk & Cork risotto

Soft and smoky tomato risotto

My favourite of the dishes we ordered was the aged beef steak which was served with pickled carrots atop an aromatic green curry sauce. The steak was so perfectly cooked and the sauce had a lovely creaminess and a real chilli kick. Think I’ll have to keep the whole bowl for myself next time. And doesn’t it look beautiful?

Chalk & Cork steak

Beautifully tender beef on a bed of spicy green curry sauce

Finally, this stunning plate of food is their new potato salad with a herb aioli, walnuts, radishes and celery. Wonderfully crunchy and crisp with the herbiest of dressings.

The herbiest of new potato salads

We did also enjoy a plate of lamb meatballs with mint yogurt, peas and fresh basil. Sorry for the lack of photographic evidence.

I will definitely go back to Chalk & Cork. I loved all their dishes, the service was fabulous and it has a lovely, relaxed feel – and an excellent wine list. Most of all, it’s really great value for money.

Writing about Kloof Street turned out to be more of a challenge than I’d anticipated as my autocorrect kept changing it to Aloof Street, which made me laugh (although it was incredibly annoying!). There’s certainly nothing Aloof about this street!

Today’s price point

Two gin and tonics, five tapas dishes and two bottles of wine cost us R638. (Around £40 at today’s exchange rate).

It was plenty of food for four people.

Chalk & Cork is at 51 Kloof Street, Cape Town.

Beautifully fresh dishes at stylish Cavalli

Today we’re heading just outside Somerset West to Cavalli. Set on a hill with stunning views of Cape Town and the majestic Helderberg mountains, it’s a working farm with an olive grove, lavender fields, vineyards and citrus trees.

It’s also home to the Cavalli Stud (it means horses in Italian) – the family breed and train world-class Saddlebred horses. It’s a sprawlingly beautiful property in shades of green all enclosed with white picket fences – there’s definitely a touch of the Southforks here.

Environmentally friendly fine dining

The restaurant was recently awarded the Great Wine Capitals Best of Wine Tourism award for architecture and landscapes in Bilbao. It’s certainly a striking, contemporary building which uses a Geo-exchange system – using the dam to heat and cool, solar energy and a waste water treatment plant to recycle 93% of the estate’s water. Because of all these amazing environmental incentives it’s been named the first Green-star rated restaurant in South Africa.

Cavalli describe their food as “everyday gourmet”. They grow their own seasonal herbs and a wide range of vegetables and stress the importance of using local and sustainable ingredients. A lot of thought has gone into the combinations in dishes, the colours, textures and flavours – consequently you’re served plates of beautifully plated food packed with taste.

The menu at Cavalli

I love carpaccio – therefore it is one of my  most-ordered starters. Today’s was a particularly spectacular example. The beef was seared and served with shaved radish, ginger soy dressing, pickled shimeji and Thai basil. Tender, flavoursome meat with crunchy, zesty toppings and a wonderful light dressing that really brought all the ingredients to life.

Carpaccio at Cavalli

Fabulous carpaccio with an Asian twist

The glazed duck breast was served with mango puree, sweetcorn salsa, nam prik and a coconut reduction. Duck, mango and coconut make for a wonderfully refreshing combination.

Tasty duck breast nestles on salsa and puree

And of course we had to sample the pork belly – I’m still trying to taste every pork belly dish in the Cape, but think it’s a massive and intimidating goal – even for me! It seems like there’s a version on every restaurant’s menu. This was acorn-fed and served with nam jim vermicelli, bok choi, laksa sauce and roasted peanuts.

Succulent pork belly with noodles and crunchy crackling

My choice today was the fish dish – probably one of the nicest I’ve had this year as it turns out. The seaweed-crusted line fish (sea bass) was served with butter-poached prawns and mussels, chilli tagliolini and sauce nacional. The sea bass was wonderfully sweet with a crunchy topping and the seafood melted in my mouth. And the little pile of noodles were perfect to help mop up the creamy, buttery sauce.

A pretty and delightfully tasty fish dish

The grass-fed beef sirloin was served with estate beans, gem squash emulsion, pear chutney and potato dauphinoise. A delicious work of art on a plate.

A beautifully delicate plate of sirloin

A lot of the dishes clearly have an Asian influence which I loved. And you could really taste the freshness of all the ingredients.

Stunning mountain views

And then there’s the views! Vines, mountains, farmland, fynbos, wildflowers and blue, blue sky.

The view at Cavalli

The view across the farm to the mountains

The restaurant overlooks a lake – love the sculptures

And I really loved the rose-gold ice bucket which perfectly matched our lovely bottle of Rose. It seems like Cavalli certainly does everything with style.

Shades of pink and rose gold

In addition to the fabulous food, Cavalli is also worth a visit for their art on exhibit and fabulous wine tasting area.

Today’s price point

We paid R955 (£60 at today’s exchange rate) for lunch for four (two starters and four main courses).

There’s also an amazing wine list with a huge range on offer, including a selection from Europe if you feel like pushing the boat out. Whites and roses start from R125 (£8) a bottle, reds from R135 (£8.50).

Cavalli is just off the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West.