So my best friend from school, Sharon, came down to visit us in Cape Town. Another excuse for booking somewhere fabulous for lunch. I went to Jordan two years ago and had a simply spectacular lunch so, for once, the choice wasn’t difficult. So there we were, four ladies ready to lunch.
Driving down the R310 into the heart of the Winelands, you pass a myriad of wine estates (more to come on that later), with Jordan right at the end of a winding road. The views get more and more beautiful and just when you think you really can’t go any further, you’re there.
The chef, George Jardine, is certainly one of my absolute favourites. His plates of food are so beautifully presented they elicit gasps of delight as they arrive at the table. And they’re simply wonderful to eat. The menu changes all the time and today offered five choices of starters and mains. As luck would have it, the four of us all ordered different dishes…honestly, it just happened like that, so you get to savour a great selection. All truly amazing dishes, the pictures speak for themselves.
One of the most striking dishes I’ve seen this year, the organic golden beets were served with buffalo milk mozzarella, orange water dressing and fennel. A feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
Okay, I know I keep saying this…but this could be my starter of the year. The standard of the dishes I’ve been eating this year has been mind blowing, and every element of this one almost took my breath away. The seared Fairview lambs liver was melt-in-the-mouth and bursting with flavour; the herbed soft polenta couldn’t have been more perfect and it was served with pancetta, deep crispy sage and fried capers. Never have sage and capers tasted like this, a crisp texture that exploded the flavours onto my tongue. Wow, wow, wow!
A satisfyingly large and tasty bundle of steamed Saldanha Bay mussels “papillote” (cooked in a parcel) was infused with the flavours of Thailand – lemongrass, coconut milk, chilli, lime and ginger. Beautiful, juicy mussels in a luscious sauce to delight.
The fabulous tartar of yellowfin tuna came with sesame, ponzu and daikon dressing, sweetcorn puree and fried zucchini flowers. A delicate balance of flavours with perfectly rare tuna.
Now for some incredible mains. The aged shalmar sirloin had a soft herb crust, a confit of black heirloom tomatoes and little crunchy onion rings. And it looked simply stunning.
Another strikingly summery plate with steamed farmed Kabeljou, parsley mousse, sauce mousseline and organic vegetable crudite. The fluffy souffle-like sauce was incredible and the Kabeljou (a firm-fleshed white fish) full of flavour, all topped with crunchy vegetables.
The fricassee of smoked East Coast hake was substantial and served with mushroom and home cured bacon and tarragon.
And now for something novel. The roasted Glen Oaks pork neck was oh-so-thinly sliced and served with spatzle (a kind of tiny German noodle), tarragon veloute and charred white corn.
Gosh, all of that was a lot to take in. Eight wonderful dishes to savour. We debated long and hard whether we had room for dessert, decided we didn’t and still had to order some. What a good decision. The honey and poppy souffle is a masterpiece that gets finished at the table with amazing creme anglaise and ice cream. As regular readers will know, I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but this dessert I swear I could eat every day. If there’s ever a souffle of any kind on the menu when you’re visiting Jordan, just order it – I mean, look how unbelievable this looks.
The macerated summer berry tart sat on a bed of vanilla pastry cream and the richest of Valrhona chocolate ice cream.
Jordan was voted the sixth best restaurant in South Africa in the Eat Out restaurant awards for 2013. Seriously, I can’t imagine what the five that beat it must be like. The fresh, local ingredients, ingenious combinations, fabulous presentation, amazing flavours and textures, ample portions and great service have really got to be impossible to beat. Their wine’s lovely too, oh and did I mention the view? You can’t avoid the spectacular here, it all feels like you’re living in a dreamland. Well, I suppose you are really.
You will pay R275 for two courses and R320 for three.
Jordan is at the end of a winding road near Stellenbosch. Find out more at www.jordanwines.com