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Number 9: Overture

Overture was named number 9 in South Africa at the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. To find out why, watch the video and read the review below.

Food

There’s a reason Overture has made the Eat Out Top 10 so often: the food is inspired, each course better than the last. Choose between the three-course menu or the six-course tasting menu. When choosing the three-course menu, don’t be fooled: a number of treats will arrive between your chosen courses, and your meal will end up in a decadent feast that lasts for hours.

‘Chip and dip before a braai’ kicks the meal off on a simple, yet exceptionally high note. It’s an assortment of crispy, salty chips made from sweet potato, fried sago and crispy kale. They’re served with a buttery avocado mousse of a perfect consistency.

A dish at Overture. Photo by Claire Gunn Photography.

‘A walk in the forest’ follows: cauli-rice with dried porcini, miso cream and mushroom tea infused with ginger. As expected, this is a power bowl of umami with a fresh, earthy crunch. Next comes a creamy pecan-nut butter with a peppery olive oil mousse, smoky onion ash and salty dried olives, all providing an abundance of flavours. Corned beef also makes an appearance, with sour pickled onion and spicy mustard seeds. And that’s all before the starters.

For starters, the chicken ballotine and red-wine braised snails is a hit. The snails are smooth with a hint of sweetness, complemented by carrots. A porcini crumb adds earthy, gritty flavours and texture. The smoked hake is served with perfect pommes anna – grown-up fritters, if you will – and salty, cream-based fish stock with a soft egg.

For mains, the hearty braised lamb shoulder is a must-try. As expected, it’s fall-apart tender. The flavours are perfectly balanced: sweet from the gem-squash purée; salty from a creamy dijonnaise; and spicy hints of cumin and coriander seeds. Celeriac adds just the right amount of crunch to a fantastic main course.

The dry-aged sirloin is cooked to medium-rare perfection. Onion adds a hint of sweetness, while pickled Jerusalem artichoke and nasturtium leaf add an interesting sour element. The beef is properly aged, with a slight tang that pulls together the flavours. The mains are served with a side of pommes dauphine: pillowy clouds of potato perfection. They’re so creamy and are undoubtedly what roast potatoes should always taste like.

Dessert certainly doesn’t disappoint. The chocolate dish comprises chocolate purée, chocolate soil and a range of extremely crispy chocolate discs flavoured with nori, honey, kakoia and orange. They’re rich, creamy, decadent and a playground of textures. The vanilla soufflé is soft and light, paired with a creamy, roasted sesame-seed ice cream.

And, just when you thought you were done, expect a final treat of home-made marshmallows, brownies and soentjies before your bill arrives.

A dish at Overture. Photo by Claire Gunn Photography.

Drinks

A fantastic but concise wine list comprises Hidden Valley wines, as well as a good selection of interesting Swartland, Montagu, Elgin and Hemel-en-Aarde wines. Only Hidden Valley wines are available by the glass (R65 to R110).

Service

In a word: superb. Overture’s staff has found the perfect balance of being attentive and knowledgeable, but easy-going and casual. Conversation with staff is natural and comfortable.

Ambience

This is as good as it gets. Enjoy sweeping views across the Stellenbosch winelands while sitting comfortably on the elegant terrace. A mixture of face brick, steel and glass makes for a modern, minimalist space. Catch a glimpse into the inner workings of Hidden Valley wines.

The view at Overture. Photo by Claire Gunn Photography.

And…

When you’re done with your meal, take advantage of the short nature trails that skirt around the dam alongside the restaurant. It’s a picturesque ending to a fantastic feast.

See all 30 of the nominees for the 2017 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards here and the Top 10 here.

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