Laid-back lunch at Steenberg’s Sixteen82

Today I’m heading for Steenberg, at the end of Cape Town’s M3. It’s a Wine Estate with a hotel, two restaurants and a golf club. What more could you want?

Our destination? Bistro Sixteen82, which is named after the year the winery at Steenberg was established (so that’s a while back) and opened its doors in 2009.

Executive Chef Kerry Kilpin (always nice to hear of a female chef) aims to use fresh, seasonal ingredients. She also says that her travels to Thailand mean she has developed a passion for Thai food. So that sounds very good, you know how I love Thai food.

We’d managed to wangle a last-minute booking – today’s lunch was an unexpected treat. So we started off with a bottle of their beautiful pink sparkling Brut Pinot Noir, well, if you’re going to treat yourself..

The menu doesn’t offer a massive choice of dishes, which makes ordering decisions easier. And there’s a blackboard with daily specials chalked up.

From the board, a clever chicken liver dish served with perfectly cooked pasta, all nestling in a little bowl. A melt-in-the-mouth dish with a real chilli kick.

chickenlivers

Chicken livers and pasta make a heavenly starter

The spicy black mussels came with a sauce of onion, garlic, Steenberg chardonnay, lemongrass and tom yum. Plump, flavoursome mussels matched with a simply perfect sauce the flavours transported me straight back to Thailand. The dish also comes as a main course – guess what I’ll be having on my next visit?

mussels

Mussels in a tasty Thai-style sauce

The calamari came with harissa mayo, avocado pulp and paprika oil. Some of the softest, sweetest calamari I’ve eaten in a while that went perfectly with the creaminess of the avocado.

calamari

A must-eat dish for calamari lovers

For mains I couldn’t resist ordering the pork belly. It came with apple mash, greens and balsamic juice. The pork was perfectly cooked, packed with taste and topped with the crunchiest of crackling. And I loved the apple mash – going to be making some of that myself soon. There was a lot of juice and it was very rich, personally would have liked less of it, or had it on the side so I could add it at my leisure and really savour the flavour of the belly. Looking at my picture, I am thinking it does look a bit saucy…

pork

Another pork belly to add to my sampling list

The braised lamb neck came with millet, sultanas, cumin juice and greens. Tenderest of lamb (the neck is a great cut to cook with) with an interesting combination of ingredients – a taste of Northern Africa possibly?

porkbelly

An exotic lamb dish

Again on the specials board was beef fillet which came with a wild mushroom sauce. A beautifully velvet mushroom sauce, served with tender steak cooked to perfection.

lamb

Tender fillet with delectable mushroom sauce

On a sunny day, the stylish light-filled restaurant was packed with a mix of the beautiful people of Cape Town and tourists from all over the world, enjoying tasty food in a great setting. Oh and great wine, too. Aside from the bubbles, which I’d really recommend, their Merlot is lovely and at the top of the tree is their Nebbiolo with its amazingly soft fruity and herby tones and great depth – I’m not a trained wine expert but you get the picture. It’s wine heaven.

Thanks to Juanine for using her influences to nab us a table for a fabulous, spontaneous lunch….let’s do it again soon.

Sixteen82 is on the Steenberg Wine Estate. Find out more by clicking here.

A sunny Sunday at Cape Point Vineyards

So today we’re heading over Ou Kaapse Weg to the beautiful little seaside town of Noordhoek not far from the centre of Cape Town. Known for its laid-back attitude and beautiful beach it’s also home to a couple of excellent restaurants. The restaurant at Cape Point Vineyards (CPV) is a fairly recent addition and there’s also the picnic grounds all with fabulous mountain and sparkling sea views.

On a shiny Cape Town day it’s a wonderful venue with the deck laid out with tables looking out towards the Atlantic. The menu boasts an emphasis on local ingredients like tuna, calamari, kingklip, biltong, springbok and ostrich.

The tuna starter was amazing. Fresh, just seared and very pink (hate tuna that’s overcooked) it was served on a bed of the tastiest of grilled vegetables, with red onion and garden leaves and the clever addition of savoury olive tapenade and crispy capers. The garlic and lemon aioli dressing pulled all the flavours together perfectly.

tuna1

A summery and savoury tuna starter

The starter selection was so good that I had to have two (one as main not as well as a main, that would be a little excessive). This biltong salad was made up of sweet caramelised pears, blue cheese, shaved beef biltong, tasted walnuts, butter lettuce and a blue cheese dressing. The sweetness of the pears, saltiness of the cheese and dressing and meatiness of the biltong make a combination to remember. I’ll be recreating this at home…soon.

biltong

Biltong, pear and blue cheese salad

The day’s special starter was chicken liver parfait. Rich, creamy and melt-in-the-mouth.

chickenliverparfait

Beautifully indulgent chicken liver parfait

The beef carpaccio came with wild rocket, shaved Parmesan and a rocket pesto mayonnaise. A lovely light summer dish that could have been a larger portion, or maybe we wanted more just because it tasted to so good!

carpacckl

The dream combo of carpaccio, rocket, parmesan and pesto

On to the mains. Mixing chicken and prawns in a curry is typically South African and this dish served with fragrant rice, preserved lemon and cucumber mint raita was nicely spicy and light with sweet, juicy prawns.

curry

Add spiciness with a delicious curry

In a nation of carnivores there’s always a steak dish on the menu. One that’s frequently ordered, too. Today it was grilled beef fillet with truffled mushroom sauce, fries and a garden salad. Deliciously cooked medium rare with a light and tasty sauce.

steak

Steak and chips is always a good option

I love the setting at CPV and the food’s really good, too. We did go in the middle of the silly season, just after Christmas and service was a little patchy – the place was heaving. As it happened, that made no difference as it gave us the excuse to linger longer over lunch, absorbing the peace and the views surrounding us.

view

The stunning view from our table across to Noordhoek beach

You can also picnic at CPV and the baskets sound tasty – you need to order at least 24 hours in advance. And there’s a market day on Thursdays from 4.30 to 8.30pm with market stalls offering the produce of the Cape. Simply bag your space and choose from the array of foodie delights. What a great way to spend a Thursday evening.

There’s no doubt this is the perfect place to watch the sun set with a glass of wine in hand. The CPV Sauvignon Blanc is particularly lovely. Anyone for a Thursday evening picnic?

Cape Point Vineyards is at Silvermine Road, Noordhoek

Sunday lunch at stunning Cape Point Vineyards

Sunday lunch comes around again and it’s time for a long-awaited visit to Cape Point Vineyards (CPV). It’s located on a narrow strip nestled between the icy Atlantic and the warm currents of False Bay in Noordhoek, with cool sea breezes that provide the sort of climate that Sauvignon Blanc grapes love. The first vines were planted in 1997. It’s a unique place as it’s the only winery in the whole district.

The sparkling new building opened in October 2013 and owner Sybrand Van Der Spuy couldn’t believe his luck when he heard about the closure of legendary Cape Town restaurant, Constantia Uitsig. He wasted no time in snapping up their chef Clayton Bell.

We’ve been planning to visit since we heard at our final dinner at Constantia Uitsig that Clayton was moving here. Uitsig was such a Cape Town institution and reliable favourite and we miss it sorely. So if a bit of that magic had been transferred, we knew we would be happy. And we were. The menu has a distinct touch of Uitsig to it, a familiarity that warmed our hearts! And all in a beautiful new setting.

The restaurant is set up on a hill at the base of a mountain with beautiful views down across vines towards stunning Noordhoek beach. It’s a modern, airy and light-filled space, such a contrast to the often cramped restaurants of today.

I love Clayton’s attitude to food: “Don’t over-complicate food and don’t mess with good quality ingredients.” Sounds simple but I’m always amazed at how far off this path some chefs stray.

The menu offers six starters and six main choices. The Bouche de Moules of steamed black mussels served in a puff pastry case with a saffron cream sauce looked amazing and was beautifully aromatic with its saffron sauce.

mussels

Yummy mussels in a richly aromatic saffron sauce

The beef carpaccio was truly melt-in-the-mouth and topped with fresh, creamy avo and rich, crumbly parmesan and house vinaigrette. One of those starters that is truly spectacular if you get it right…this one was!

parma ham

The perfect combination of flavours and textures

This beautifully simple and delicious tomato tart is an old favourite from Uitsig and simply had to be ordered. The butteriness of the pastry, freshness of the tomato and basil and flavours of cheese and mustard combine to produce the queen of tarts.

tart

Tomato tart with Fontina cheese, Dijon mustard and fresh basil

The figs in South Africa are fabulous at this time of year, and combined with sweetly salty Parma ham make a wonderful starter.

parma ham

Parma ham served with luscious red figs

Today’s line fish was Kingklip. I wanted to cheer when our waiter announced this, it’s probably my favourite white fish and has been a bit in short supply this Cape Town sojourn. Well, it was heavenly – dusted with cumin and perfectly cooked it fell apart in gorgeous chunks.

kingklip

Cumin dusted Kingklip with sweet potato mash, baby spinach and verjuice onion vinaigrette

Clayton’s known for his amazing pasta dishes, too. The mushroom ravioli was creamy and deeply satisfying. Gotta love a bit of truffle flavour.

ravioli

Half moon ravioli filled with mushroom and ricotta in a truffle sauce

More truffles! The sirloin was served with the most amazing mushroom and truffle sauce. Sue asked for it to be cooked rare, very rare and it’s what she got. Fabulously rare, flavoursome steak with a sauce I wanted to inhale.

steak

Grilled beef sirloin with mushroom and truffle sauce

Dessert time, with four summery options.

orange dessert

Caramelised oranges with basil mascarpone

I don’t know why all restaurants don’t serve this! Vanilla ice cream served with espresso (aka affogato). The perfect dessert/coffee combo.

icecream

Vanilla ice cream with espresso

CPV only makes white wines and their 2013 Sauvignon Blanc is truly wonderful and great value at R98 a bottle in the restaurant. I really should have bought some to take home.

Sunday was one of those rare rainy summer days in Cape Town which, while atmospheric, meant we couldn’t eat al fresco. Not to worry, with such lovely, unpretentious food, a stylish yet relaxed environment and one of our favourite chefs at the helm, I feel sure CPV will become a new regular. Even looking at the pictures is making my mouth water!

Cape Point Vineyeards is at Silvermine Road, Noordhoek.