Early tapas at Bistro Sixteen82 at Steenberg

Today I’m transporting you back to beautiful Cape Town and one of our favourite eateries – Bistro Sixteen82, set on the Steenberg Golf and Wine estate.

Talented chef Kerry Kilpin serves up wonderful seasonal dishes with simply the best sauces (she’s a bit of a sauce Queen, I reckon). There’s a distinct Asian influence (she’s inspired by the food of Thailand), as well as some interesting local touches. Oh and our latest discovery is that you can go there early evening for their special tapas selection. It had to be done – it’s tapas time!

What’s on the menu

How we loved these crispy tacos filled with pickled fish in a Malay-style sauce. Little morsels of heavenly crunch.

Bistro Sixteen82: tacos

Amazing crispy pickled fish tacos

The beef and Manchego croquette was luscious – richly meaty and comfortingly cheesy with a lovely crisp shell.

Bistro Sixteen82: croquette

The perfectly crisp, meat croquette

The West Coast mussels are served in a creamy Asian-style sauce. One of the many bowls of mussels I devoured in this year’s Cape Town sojourn and one of the best. I would eat these on every visit to Sixteen82 without doubt.

Bistro Sixteen82: mussels

Beautifully creamy fresh mussels

And then there was this melt-in-the-mouth mound of sticky ginger and chili beef. Topped with a surprise – some crunchy creamy coleslaw, it made for a satisfying plate.

Sixteen82: sticky ginger and chili beef

The comforting sight of sticky ginger and chili beef

And how’s this for a vibrantly beautiful plate? A broccoli, beetroot and slow-roast tomato salad with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and fresh coriander and a zest dressing. Tastes as good as it looks.

Bistro Sixteen82: beetroot salad

The vibrant reds of beetroot and tomato salad

We loved Steenberg’s wine offering this year. Particular favourites are the Klein Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc, the Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon blend and their top-of-the-range Nebbiolo. My only negative about Sixteen82 is that they put way too much mark-up on the wine in the restaurant. It’s hard to stomach when it’s been made on the estate and you can buy it next door in the shop for a fraction of the price. Having queried this we were told that the Wine Estate and the restaurant are separate entities. And no you can’t take it through with you. So all we could do was get over it if we wanted to enjoy the delicious food. Which we have!

Today’s price point

Our five dishes today cost us R354 which is about £21 at today’s exchange rate.

Bistro Sixteen82 is on Steenberg Golf and Wine Estate in Cape Town.

It is open for lunch every day and for tapas early evening from 1700 to 2000h.

Tasty platters and stunning views at Constantia Glen

Today we’re headed into the mountainous land of forests and vineyards that is beautiful Constantia for lunch at Constantia Glen.

This beautiful vineyard sits just below Constantia Nek nestling in the valley with a mountain backdrop and vines as far as the eye can see. Constantia is the oldest wine producing region in South Africa, they started here in 1685. So they’ve had some practice – and you can tell. Constantia Glen’s wine is nothing short of spectacular.

They produce only four wines – two whites and two reds – and they’re all wonderful though our favourite is the Constantia Glen Three – a classic Constantia/Bourdeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. It’s just heavenly – even more so if you’re sitting at Constantia Glen sipping on it. Settled with our joyous glassfuls, it was time for lunch.

What’s on the menu

It’s a simple menu with a selection of tasty platters, pizzas, a soup dish and a couple of salads to choose from. The classic charcuterie and cheese offering dishes up a fine mix of tastiness.

Constantia: platter

The tasty meat and cheese platter

Today’s soup was a rich and satisfying goulash given a local touch by being served in a potjie – a round, last iron three-legged pot that’s usually used for cooking over a fire.

Constantia Glen: goulash

The rich goulash in a traditional potjie

My South African platter came loaded with all sorts of delish local delicacies like biltong, bobotie, smoked snoek pate and a beautiful loaf of pot bread.

Constantia Glen: platter

A platter of local specialities

Thinly sliced exotic ostrich bresaola was served topped with parmesan, rocket and olive oil.

Constantia Glen: bresaola

Beautifully vibrant bresaola

Constantia Glen is one of those places you simply can’t resist taking a pano on your phone. Here it is in all its lush greenness.

Constantia Glen: views

Panoramic views taken on pano

Constantia Glen: view

The stunning green and blue landscape

Constantia Glen is at in the Constantia Valley just below Constantia Nek.

 

 

 

Phenomenal food at The Greenhouse in Constantia

I do love a list. Especially a top-10 restaurants list. Oh, the arguments it can cause as everyone fiercely fights for a place for their favourite. It also makes for a brilliant goal – to try out every one on the list. A mission I have chosen to accept.

Luckily on the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards list of top-10 restaurants in South Africa for 2017, nine of them are in Cape Town and the surrounds. Making my mission easy to complete.

So today we’re heading to The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenhort, to give it its full title. Its home is in a beautiful five-star hotel set in nine acres of stunning gardens in the historic Constantia Valley. And it sits proudly at number five in South Africa on the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards 2017.

The intriguing menu is conceived by Executive Chef Peter Templehoff and Head Chef Ashley Moss. They are committed to using local ingredients which makes for some interesting dishes. At today’s lunch we went for the three-course option. But of course – as you’d expect in a high end establishment like this – the three-course option is not three courses. Because there are pre-starters (three of them) and a bread course. And wonderful they were too – a fabulous way to start before you have your starters!

First up were little crispy parcels of cauliflower in a Cape Malay sauce. Great crunch, amazing flavours – and they look beautiful, too.

The Greenhouse: Pre starter

A crunchy base for the cauliflower in Cape Malay sauce

The biltong bitterballen were a revelation. Crisp on the outside, lovely and creamy inside with a good biltong hit. Biltong is a type of dried, cured meat that originated in Southern Africa – great use of one of my favourite ingredients.

Greenhouse: bilton bitterballen

Savoury and creamy biltong bitterballen

Deep-fried herby leaves were served topped with a tasty black garlic sauce.

The Greenhouse: Pre starter

Crunchy leaves and savoury delight

And then there was the bread course – yes, it’s officially a course these days – and so it should be, a real bread extravaganza. Three types of bread served with ceremony – and with three types of butter. Wow!

The Greenhouse: Pre starter

An extravaganza of bread three ways

The Greenhouse: butter

And of course an extravaganza of butter, too

Our butter was given a little bit of extra attention in the form of a grating of ancient volcanic salt. Seriously! There was garlic, spring onion and salted butter to sample.

The Greenhouse: butter

Salt is grated over at the table

Pre-starters consumed with sighs of joy we then all gasped with happiness when the starters were delivered. Ostrich tartare was served with salt baked celeriac, a truffled quails egg, kombu pickled vegetables and Cape mushrooms.

One of the most delightful presentations ever – it arrived nestling in the bottom of an ostrich egg which was nestling on top of a nest – complete with feathers. And what stunning tastes. My favourite bit was the fact that some of the egg yolk had been removed and replaced with truffle cream giving a surprisingly different flavour and texture. An amazingly clever mix of flavours and textures to tantalise the taste buds.

The Greenhouse: ostrich tartare

Ostrich tartare nestles in an ostrich egg

The Greenhouse: ostrich tartare

An overhead of the delightful tartare

On to mains. The local Cape fish (Kingklip) was served with langoustines, a Chinese noodle bean, miso onion, soba noodles and a crustacean emulsion. Beautifully cooked kingklip – possibly my favourite fish anyway – sweet, juicy langoustines and a wonderfully delicate sauce.

The Greenhouse: kingklip and langoustine

Beautifully flaky kingklip and sweet langoustines

The other mains choice was Braai Bokkie which was served with coffee carrots, lacquered onion, mushrooms and sweetbread. The springbok was coated with ground coffee before it was grilled to a succulent state of rareness.

The Greenhouse: springbok

Wonderfully tender and tasty springbok

Today was one of the rare days I ate dessert – obviously I had to as it was included! I opted for the Mpumalanga mango, Ethiopian passion berry, coconut ice cream and granadilla curd. All my favourite flavours dished up on a single plate. How perfect is that?

The Greenhouse: pudding

A wonderful mix of tropical flavours

The other pudding option was cleverly designed to look like a cheeseboard. But it didn’t taste like one! Camembert cheese cake was served with pineapple compote and pine nut biscotti. The cheese cake looked like such a perfect round of Camembert it certainly sent confusing signals to the brain. Genius!

Greenhouse: cheese cake

Is it a cheeseboard? Or is it a cake?

Phew! What a selection of delights. And of course it wasn’t over yet. A delightful tray of sweet treats to finish off a wonderful feast – mini custardy tarts and chocolate and passion fruit truffles.

Greenhouse: chocolates

Sweeties to complete the feast

This is certainly a wonderful voyage of flavours and clever ideas all well executed. The ambience is a touch formal which fits with the class and standards of both the restaurant and the hotel. Another one ticked off the list and well-deserved of its high ranking.

I’ve had a brilliant restaurant journey this year in Cape Town and I’m mulling over my own top-10. So watch this space.

Today’s price point

A meal at The Greenhouse is a real special occasion sort of thing, which does also mean that it is on the expensive side of Cape Town choices. Having said that it’s good value  – it would certainly punish your wallet a lot more for this calibre of food in London.

We had the official three-course menu which was actually eight dishes. And sensational they all were, too.

With one pre-lunch drink each and two bottles of wine between six our bill came to R1,000 each (approximately £58 at today’s exchange rate).

The Greenhouse is in the Cellars Hohenhort Hotel, 93 Brommersvlei Road, Constantia, Cape Town.

 

Lunch in the Winelands at wonderful Terroir

Today we’re heading for lunch just off the R44 outside Somerset West in the Cape Winelands. Finally! Because I’ve been waiting for my return to Terroir for what seems a very long time!

Terroir is on the Kleine Zalze wine estate and opened in 2004. I’m pretty sure I’ve been every year since then! And it’s always an absolute pleasure to sit under the trees looking out towards De Zalze Golf Course, tucking into their amazing food. It’s certainly one of the most relaxed dining experiences you’ll ever have.

While we pondered our choices, the breadboard arrived to sighs of delight. The bread was served with a babaganoush puree, sage butter and smoked olives. Slices of ciabatta and tomato bread, still warm for the oven made the perfect partners to the silkily indulgent sage butter and the amazingly sweet and intense babaganoush puree – so good I’m going to have to make some myself.

Terroir: breadboard

The perfect start: bread, olives, sage butter and babaganous puree

What’s on the menu

There’s a choice of four starters and four mains, chalked up on the large blackboards.

The yellowtail ceviche was served with mango chipotle and a zingy grapefruit dressing. The perfect mix of sweet and sour with thin slices of melt-in-the-mouth fish. Another perfect summery dish.

Terroir: yellowtail ceviche

The prettiest of ceviche in shades of green and yellow

Terroir’s prawn risotto is legendary, served with the spicy Americaine sauce and topped with flavoursome prawns. It’s so creamy and bursting with flavour you almost want to cry. This is the restaurant’s signature dish and the only thing that remains permanently on the menu – apparently when chef Michael Broughton tries to take it off the protests can be heard echoing through the Winelands. Quite right, too.

Terroir: prawn risotto

The signature prawn risotto with stunning sauce Americaine

And now for an onion tart – something I’m very partial to. But this is no ordinary onion tart, with its crumbed goats cheese, honeyed figs, sage and sweet barbecue sauce atop the lightest, crispest sheet of pastry. The crunchy balls of cheese were quite a revelation and the amazing balance of sweet and savoury meant every mouthful seemed to dance in my mouth. One of my dining companions muttered between every mouthful about ordering another one…it seemed too good just to settle for one helping!

Terroir: onion tart

A mouthwateringly beautiful tart

Because it was so good I have to show it to you twice.

Terroir: onion tart

Close up to the delectable onion tart

The beef fillet was served on a swoosh of mushroom puree with Anna potatoes and baby carrots. I don’t know who Anna is but her potatoes are something out of this world. And that mushroom puree pulled all the elements together so beautifully. Pretty as a picture, too.

Terroir: fillet

The tenderest of fillet makes a beautiful plate

For a side we shared a dish of beetroot, hummus and pumpkin seeds. A totally yum combination.

Terroir: beetroot and hummus

Our lovely pink and white side

Seared springbok loin comes with dollops of vibrant pumpkin puree, beetroot, gingerbread (which is nestling under the beetroot) and the most incredible whisky sauce. The combination of flavours and textures in this dish produced something totally heavenly. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Seems like I can almost taste it!

Terroir: springbok

What a stunning springbok dish

Dessert you can’t resist

Terroir is one of those places where you simply can’t resist the puddings – and nor should you – they are truly memorable. This beautiful concoction of mango served with honey oats crumb, mascarpone, passion fruit and coriander again offers the incredibly perfect combination of flavours and textures.

Terroir: Mango dessert

What a plate of sweet and zesty deliciousness

And for those with not much of a sweet tooth there’s always the cheese plate. Substantial chunks of cheese perch on top of a crisp flat bread with the sweetest of pickled grapes and a zingy chutney. Clever!

Terroir: cheese board

Inspired serving idea – you don’t really even need the board

The Sacher comes with caramel crunch and kirsch ice cream. Sacher is a type of chocolate cake or torte that was invented by Austrian Franz Sacher in Vienna in 1832. Clever him! This wonderful version of the dish that will certainly satisfy even the most demanding of chocolate lovers.

Terroir: Sacher

It’s chocolate tart heaven to finish off with

As well as the lovely wines from the Kleine Zalze farm you’re eating in, there’s also a good selection of others – so you’re spoilt for wine choice.

Terroir: Wine

Our wine breathes in the decanter at the end of the table

Terroir: blackboard

The important job of dessert description

Today’s price point

Terroir is one of the top restaurants in South Africa and one of my favourites in the world, yes the whole world! Consequently it’s a bit of a more expensive dining experience than most of the meals we’ve enjoyed recently. Having said that it’s still on the low side for such a great experience –  amazing value for money.

Starters are from R135 (approx £8.00)

Main courses are from R250 (approx £14.70)

Desserts are from R130 (approx £7.60)

I was so inspired by my sublime lunch at Terroir I left clutching Michael Broughton’s recipe book, determined to create some of his amazing dishes at home. Wish me luck! I might even invite you round for dinner!

Terroir: Book

Time to recreate Terroir’s magic at home

Terroir is on Kleine Zalze Wine Estate just off the R44 between Somerset West and Stellenbosch.

Tasty Indian cuisine tapas-style at Thali

Thali for two

Today we’re heading up bustling Kloof Street to an exciting new Indian restaurant. It’s the brainchild of Chef Liam Tomlin – who runs the successful Chef’s Warehouse in Bree Street (where I still haven’t been – must remedy that soon) and also recently took over the kitchen at Beau Constantia.

Thali has the same menu concept of Tomlin’s other two restaurants – a set menu of dishes to share that come up in groups, making for four tasty courses. Thali literally means “a set meal at an Indian restaurant” which for me means the joy of no menu indecision and a chance to taste everything the chef wants to offer. The food comes served in small dishes arranged on large round copper platters which look stunning but do make photography tricky (food blogger problems!). However, I’ve done my best to give you a good flavour of what’s in store.

What’s on the menu

So first up we received the Aloo Tikki, a beautifully soft and spicy potato cake served topped with yogurt and a touch of tamarind paste. I love potatoes and I could definitely consume this version of my favourite starch on a regular basis. It’s served with curry salt and spices which you keep on your table for the duration of your meal.

Thali: Aloo tikki

Starting off with a delightful potato dish

Thali: aloo tikki

Close up on the delicately spiced morsels

Our next course consisted of three dishes (dhal, cauliflower and tandoori chicken), a buttery paratha, two dipping sauces and an onion mix.

Thali: second course

Never have vegetables looked so vibrant and tasty

The cauliflower plate was a veggie revelation with Tandoori cauliflower and cumin cauliflower puree served with a cashew and coconut sauce. A genius way to showcase the humble cauli, producing a dish with incredible depths of flavours and a wonderful range of textures.

Thali: cauliflower

Close up on the spiced-up cauliflower

Beautifully flavourful and creamy smoked tadka dhal was served with the softest of buttery paratha. Dipping heaven.

Thali: dhal

A beautiful bowl of glistening dhal

And the tandoori chicken skewers arrived in their own little tandoor, complete with burning coals. Great theatre and these little morsels were so perfectly cooked they melted in the mouth giving a pop of those tasty tandoori flavours. Another wonderful dish that was very difficult to photograph well, but you get the idea.

Thali: tandoori chicken

Happiness is…your own tandoori oven

Time for some fabulous fish

The fish course added a real freshness to the dinner. The fried fish tacos were packed with juicy cubes of kingklip, crunchy fresh veg and chilli.

Thali: fish tacos

Vibrant fishy tacos with a chilly bite

Unusually for an Indian restaurant, a ceviche-style bowl of raw line fish was served with a Cape Malay dressing, coriander emulsion, saffron and pickled onion. Even more fabulous flavours and textures to savour.

Thali: Linefish

Fresh fish with a Cape Malay dressing

Wonderful curries to finish with

Our final tray of delights brought the curry element to our table. Another incredible combo of dishes. Two curries, served with rice and naan – the perfect ending to our Indian extravaganza. The smokey lamb curry was packed with flavour with a silken sauce and wonderfully tender meat.

Thali: curries

A tray of curries to finish with

The Panch Phorand seafood curry was possibly my favourite dish of the night. Wonderful cubes of flaky fish, plump prawns and the freshest of mussels in a rich and spicy sauce. The mussels are so fabulous in Cape Town at the moment. So I’m eating them whenever I have the chance and boy were they great in this curry.

Thali: seafood curry

A masterpiece of spicy seafood

The rice was also spectacular – which I think is a sign of a really great chef. I battle with cooking good rice dishes – wonder if they’d be available to give me some lessons?

Thali: Rice

Rice doesn’t get better than this

Phew! What a great selection of dishes. Portions are substantial at Thali, and there’s quite a lot of heat in the sauces, dips and spices. You can taste the love and care that everything has been prepared with and you can feel the energy emanating from the busy kitchen.

Thali doesn’t take bookings (one of my pet hates) so we got there just before 6.30 to make sure we could nab a table for six. The restaurant was already about three-quarters full and soon filled up completely. While we were having dinner people queued up at the bar and some didn’t even stay, having been told they would have over an hour to wait. This is one popular place! Because of this service may be inconsistent.

The menu tells you to expect a selection of dishes to share which can take up to 90 minutes – it will probably take longer (as it did in our case). But what’s the rush? Arrive prepared to take your time and enjoy the courses as they come and I guarantee you’ll enjoy a wonderful Indian extravaganza.

Thali: kitchen

There’s plenty of activity in the open kitchen

Thali: kitchen

Making sure the platter looks perfect

Today’s price point

And finally, Thali for two is R700 (about £45 at today’s exchange rate).

Thali is at 3 Park Road, Gardens, Cape Town, just off Kloof Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tasty tapas at La Parada on Cape Town’s Bree Street

Today we’re heading back to Bree Street on the edge of Cape Town’s City Bowl District (CBD). My favourite street in Cape Town – it’s restaurant and bar heaven and perfect to stroll down sampling places along the way. Start at the top (Table Mountain end) of the street and weave your way down the hill.

It’s the sort of street you keep going back to and although there are myriad restaurants to try we regularly find ourselves drawn to La Parada on the corner. We even head straight for the same seats each time – if they’re not available we tend to feel somewhat peeved.

La Parada has been open for several years and serves tapas. A lot of the dishes are authentically Spanish and there’s also a nice South African twist to the menu. While the food has always been good, this year it seems to have been elevated to a different level – and on our first 2018 visit our waitress informed us that they have a new chef. He’s certainly put a little something extra into the dishes.

We visit Spain as often as we can and love Spanish food. Today’s gambas Pil Pil was authentic, with sweet, plump, fresh prawns flash fried in olive oil, chilli, garlic and lemon. The perfect combo of flavours giving a lovely garlic undertone and a real chilli bite.

La Parada: prawns

Luscious prawns in the perfect chilli, garlic sauce

Another Spanish classic – the ham croquettas were made with smoked ham and served with mustard aioli which they were sitting proudly on top of. Loved the slightly non-traditional presentation. The croquettas were delightfully crunchy on the outside, soft and creamy inside and the mustard aioli was a wonderful addition.

La Parada: croquettas

Beautifully soft croquettas with crunch

Served with star anise caramel and toasted sesame, the pork belly was sweet and sticky with crispy crackling and a lovely coleslaw-style salad . The sesame flavours came through wonderfully and I do love a bit of star anise.

La Parada: pork belly

Sweet and sticky pork belly

Possibly our favourite dish we’ve ever devoured at La Parada is the Champinones al Ajillo. A soft-poached egg is served on toast and a bed of mushrooms and truffle oil and topped with grated pecorino. So satisfyingly rich and earthy, I would order this every time I visited – come to think of it, I believe I have.

La Parada: mushrooms

The ultimately indulgent mushroom dish

La Parada: mushrooms

Topped with a perfectly poached egg

And then there’s the Patatas Bravas. Possibly the best-cooked potatoes in the world, this simple dish has been spiced up. After frying the morsels perfectly – crunchy on the outside and wonderfully soft inside – the chef dusts the potatoes with paprika, giving them some heat. They are served with two sauces – aioli and rich tomato chutney. If all potatoes tasted like these I think I’d live off potatoes alone. Who knew such simple food could bring such joy?

La Parada: patatas bravas

Crisp, spicy potatoes with delicious dips

Lunch at La Parada is inevitably accompanied by a bottle of chilled Rose. I love their wine coolers – a sturdy plastic bag of sorts crammed with ice and water. Well, I do love everything about La Parada and I’m sure we’ll be back soon for some more delightful Spanish treats on my favourite street.

La Parada: Rose

A chilled and tasty glass of pinkness

Today’s price point

Finally, here’s what we paid. Our five tapas dishes cost R375 (around £23 at today’s exchange rate). Plenty for a substantial meal for two.

Wine starts from R135 (£8.20) a bottle for rose, R110 (£6.70) for white and R150 (£9.20) for red.

There are three branches of La Parada in Cape Town – Camps Bay, Constantia Nek and our favourite, Bree Street.