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PDF - Catharinas a la Carte November 2018
Chef Archie Maclean has settled in at Catharina’s, bringing his own flair for only the freshest ingredients used imaginatively. There is nothing tricky about this cuisine, no frills, no pretensions to haute anything, just great food, packed with flavour, always looking good enough to eat. The idea of a little blob of something here, a smear of something else there, and a cube of something that has to be explained to you is totally alien to him.
The lunch menu is delightfully light, with the prawn and smoked salmon ravioli with a delicious dill crème sauce and micro greens taking first prize. Then there is the lovely rich venison gratinata, with king mushrooms, artichoke hearts, capers, parmesan cheese and pickled aubergine. The pan-fried line fish is a knockout, served with smoked paprika potato purée, as is the slow-roast pork belly with broccolini and blue cheese jus.
The chocolate fondant with vanilla bavarois and white chocolate sorbet is an irresistible way to end.
Of course the famous wines of the estate are a must, sitting as one is in the middle of the vineyards from which they spring.
Smooth, knowledgeable and professional.
The Constantia Valley is the home of some of the finest restaurants in Cape Town, some terribly haute and others very user friendly. Here, large glass doors let in plenty of light. Adding to the ambience is light modern wood furniture. On the walls are whimsical cut outs and there is a large open fire place for those chilly days and nights. It is elegant, but very relaxing.
Start off with some of their superb bubbly, which is just the thing to get those tastebuds going.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
The carefully thought-through menu at Catharina’s by newly arrived chef Archie Maclean delivers top-notch cuisine using the finest ingredients and impeccable presentation. The latest food offerings in the starter line-up include a roast sweet-potato soup served with pickled shimeji mushrooms, toasted hazelnut and onion crumbs – sublime and comforting at the same time. The grilled scallops live up to their freshness, flanked by tempura green beans, kalamata olive tapenade, crisp capers, baby leaves drizzled with squid ink, salmon caviar and a lemon vinaigrette. It may sound like too much, but it’s perfectly designed to begin your gastronomic journey into the main courses.
In a rather unusual take on grills, diners can choose from zebra, warthog, ostrich, and beef hanger steak and, for the more adventurous, a pan-fried crocodile tail served with salted crocodile brandade, a creamy dip that brings out the flavours of this unusual meat. The accompaniments of roasted garlic, blackened corn salsa and crispy fried leeks made this a rewarding dish.
Enquire about the specials menu, on which you may find two- and three-course options, each paired with a complimentary glass of wine. Dessert is an absolute must to finish off a truly epicurean experience. Choose from chocolate (chocolate cremeaux, crème fraîche sorbet, vanilla squash and chocolate crumbs), panna cotta (coffee panna cotta, Amarula brûlée, cocoa-nib ice cream, shortcake and smoked hazelnuts) and a gorgeous guava gastrique with burnt meringue, guava macaroons and mint jelly. It all works! For a more leisurely dining experience, the Sunday buffet feasts under the oaks is a treat at R345 per person (R170 for children under 12).
Serving over 100 carefully selected South African wines and a small selection of niche international labels, the restaurant caters both for connoisseurs and casual wine drinkers. Sommelier John Chishimba is a star.
Excellent. Nothing is too much trouble for the excellently trained staff, who know exactly when to approach a table for service and assistance. A friendly demeanour also bodes well for locals and foreign diners.
Contemporary heritage is the look that has been sought after and beautifully executed. Catharina’s has a rich past, and the décor pays homage to this in subtle ways while embracing modern trends so that nothing looks out of place. Visuals on the walls and the origami swans diving from the ceiling are a tribute to the lady of the manor, Catharina Ras, who founded the estate in the 17th century.
Catharina’s caters for children, too, with favourites like cheeseburgers and hake and chips at very reasonable prices.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.