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Mieliepap, kaiings and morogo – The Restaurant at Grande Provence’s new chef celebrates heritage

Young and talented, chef Marvin Robyn took over as executive chef at The Restaurant at Grande Provence in late 2018 and leads the kitchen with aplomb.

His story is the stuff of SA foodie dreams: he carved his culinary teeth baking hertzoggies for his mom’s catering business in Stellenbosch before getting his big break at a local restaurant, working as a pot-washer. One day a chef fell ill, allowing him the opportunity to take over the breakfast shift. After receiving a bursary to study at the Institute of Culinary Arts (ICA), he built a stellar career, working under chef Lucas Carstens at (amongst others) Cuvée Restaurant and Makaron (now Majeka Kitchen).

At The Restaurant at Grande Provence, chef Marvin’s Heritage Tasting Menu is exclusively available for dinner patrons, but the same items can be sampled à la carte-style during lunch.

 

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Fast facts

Food type: Fine dining, heritage South African dishes
Cost: Set menus of R495 (three courses), R595 (four courses) and R695 (five courses). R780 to R980 with wine pairing. R215 average à la carte main meal
Parking: On the wine estate premises
Star ratings: Food and drinks: 5; Service: 5; Ambience: 4

Food

First to arrive is a serving of melt-in-your-mouth Middle Eastern lavash flatbread with new-bean hummus, followed by two complimentary canapés. The bobotie samoosa and cheese churros kick off the dining experience on just the right umami note.

 

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For starters you won’t go wrong with the flaky smoked snoek, prepared with oyster cream, fish kaiings and Malay onions. It’s a mild and fresh dish, setting the scene for the dining experience to follow.

You’ll be rewarded for choosing the springbok rump with mieliepap, chakalaka, buchu and honey jus for the sheer joy of the combination of flavours, but the taste sensation that is the lamb rump, morogo and rooibos jus is perfection on a plate. The expertly cooked lamb – with a thin layer of crisp and juicy fat on the one side of the medallions – may entice you to disregard all manners and lick the plate clean.

 

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For dessert, the coffee parfait with hazelnut praline, cocoa nibs and tonka-bean ice cream is a sweet sensation and must-have for coffee-lovers.

Drinks

Each dish on offer is paired well with a wine from the estate, but you could also choose a bottle from the wine list, which adds one or two wine options from France and Hungary, as well as various other drinks. The tea selection is definitely something to have a look at, featuring a green tea infused with Japanese sour cherries.

Service

In a word: excellent. The dining experience starts prior to arrival, with a courtesy confirmation call earlier in the day, and extends to a warm and welcome reception at the wine estate’s front gate.

 

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Ambience

On a cold wintery night, the intimacy of the high-backed leather chairs –
cocooning you and your dining party in privacy – along with the ambient noise of the fire licking away in the fireplace make this a cosy and plush affair. Make a quick stop in the art gallery, or admire South African sculptor Anton Smith’s work in the gardens before you leave.

Best for…

Celebrating a milestone or anniversary with your significant other.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here

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