So our stay in Cape Town was unexpectedly extended due to my surgery after breaking my ankle. Healing takes time and what do I like doing when I have time? Yes, going out for lunch. The broken ankle complication has meant a little more research before chosing a restaurant. Easy access has got all that more important.
Today we decided to head deep into the beautifully leafy Constantia Valley to Buitenverwachting. Literally translated from Afrikaans it means beyond expectation and a stunning, winding drive through vines transports you to this established vineyard. The farm originally formed part of the Constantia Estate which was founded by Simon Van der Stel, the first governor of the Cape. 90,000 vines were planted here in 1825 and their wine is fabulous.
The restaurant is housed in one of the original thatch buildings with lovely views of vines and mountains. It has easy access with a ramp on the side for those who can’t cope with stairs – and space to be dropped off right at the entrance.
A great setting for sure and, even better, food which is really beyond expectation.
What’s on the menu
There are two a la carte menus of culinary delights. You can choose between Rustic Affairs or Indulge, with four starters and four mains on each. We were planning on a lighter lunch so decided to opt only for a main course each from the Rustic Affairs section. What we weren’t expecting were the amazing extras that we were served, transforming our casual lunch into something truly special.
First up – amazing bread – and not just any bread but three types, all comfortingly oven-warm, creamy butter and a wonderfully spicy spread.
Before our mains we were treated to this amazing cheesy foam dotted with sweet heirloom tomatoes, intense homemade pesto and soft, creamy mozzarella and sprinkled with a pine nut and parmesan crumb. Kind of like a mouthwateringly magical dish of contrasting textures capturing the flavours of caprese salad in an incredible and totally inventive way.
Main courses to dream about
On to mains with some of those high expectations, then. The pan fried lamb fillet was dukkah rolled and served with pistachios, spring onions, date cous cous, chickpeas, aubergine, oyster mushrooms and pomegranate. A wonderful array of ingredients and flavours with the spicy dukkah spices shining through.
Today I couldn’t resist ordering the burger – the description on the menu got me very excited! Here goes: Truffle butter pan fried Buitenverwachting burger on a glazed Brioche bun. Served with potato crisp, spring onion creme fraiche, red pepper salsa, bacon chips, artichoke, baby marrows, tender stem broccoli, rocket, translucent onions and heirloom tomatoes. Phew…this is certainly the king of the burger world. Beautifully tender, flavourful beef soaked in truffle butter and served with the best burger accompaniments ever…yes, ever.
Could be my favourite plate of food from the whole Cape Town season. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
And there was still an unexpected treat to come…another special morsel from the chef. This delicately light toast was topped with salsa and a slice of perfectly seared tuna and served covering a glass of delicious gazpacho.
So there you have it…definitely one of our best meals during our Cape Town sojourn. All because I broke my ankle, I guess there are always positives to take from any situation. And next year Buitenverwachting is going to be top of my list of lunches to organise.
Here are the incredible views in vibrant blues and greens – just in case you need any more encouragement to head down the valley. Expect greatness if you do!
Today’s price point
Our food came to R425 (£22.71 at today’s exchange rate)
We enjoyed a bottle of their freshly delicious Buiten Blanc for R132 (£7)
So R557 (£29.76) for this sublime lunch…a real fine dining experience with all the extras.
Another incredible lunch at great value.
Buitenverwachting is at 37 Klein Constantia Road, Nova Constantia, Cape Town.