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Equus Dine at Cavalli

Equus Dine at Cavalli
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Cost
R175 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance, Contemporary cool, Family friendly
Food
Bistro fare, Fine-dining food
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
500
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Critic's review

Richard Holmes

Food
Equus Dine at Cavalli is a restaurant of two faces. Weekday lunches offer a pared-down bistro-style offering, while evenings and Sunday lunch see the food lean heavily towards fine dining. Happily, executive chef Hylton Espey seems to apply his considerable talent equally, with both menus showing plenty of creativity on the plate. The fine-dining menu is certainly the star, with a strong local flavour. Expect coriander-cured venison with chakalaka, pork belly braised in local cider, or a West Coast-inspired assembly of sustainable seafood. Plating is elegant and creative, giving humble ingredients a dose of limelight. The bistro menu is no less adventurous, with many of the plates drawing inspiration and ingredients from the fine-dining menu. Prawns served with a toasted brioche soaked in shellfish butter are sublime, as is the citrus-cured salmon with a num-num gastrique. There’s a strong focus on local produce here too, whether it’s Healey’s cheddar and house-smoked pastrami, or the plate of organic vegetables, much of it from the estate’s heirloom vegetable garden, in a fynbos-honey sauce.

Drinks

A superb wine list that journeys far and wide to offer a top-notch selection of local and overseas producers. You’ll find 40 wines available by the glass, including a selection of bubblies. There’s no shortage of pricey picks, but bottle prices are fairly reasonable, particularly for estate wines. The extensive list takes in leading local boutique producers, as well as wines from most major wine-producing countries. An extensive list of whiskies and digestifs is offered too.

Service
Smartly dressed waiters are professional, personable and efficient, rarely missing a trick.

Ambience
A gorgeous modern space, as you’d expect from the winner of the 2014 Boschendal Style Award. It’s spacious and airy; expect Nordic wood tables and muted décor, offset by pops of colour courtesy of local fynbos. The gleaming copper-clad bar makes a bold statement, competing with the panoramic winelands views for your attention. Book a terrace table in the summer.

And…
Before you find your table, don’t miss out on a wander through the remarkable basement art gallery.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Richard Holmes

    Food
    Equus Dine at Cavalli is a restaurant of two faces. Weekday lunches offer a pared-down bistro-style offering, while evenings and Sunday lunch see the food lean heavily towards fine dining. Happily, executive chef Hylton Espey seems to apply his considerable talent equally, with both menus showing plenty of creativity on the plate. The fine-dining menu is certainly the star, with a strong local flavour.

    Expect coriander-cured venison with chakalaka, pork belly braised in local cider, or a West Coast-inspired assembly of sustainable seafood. Plating is elegant and creative, giving humble ingredients a dose of limelight.

    The bistro menu is no less adventurous, with many of the plates drawing inspiration and ingredients from the fine-dining menu. Prawns served with a toasted brioche soaked in shellfish butter are sublime, as is the citrus-cured salmon with a num-num gastrique. There’s a strong focus on local produce here too, whether it’s Healey’s cheddar and house-smoked pastrami, or the plate of organic vegetables, much of it from the estate’s heirloom vegetable garden, in a fynbos-honey sauce.

    Drinks
    A superb wine list journeys far and wide to offer a top-notch selection of local and overseas producers. You’ll find 40 wines available by the glass, including a selection of bubblies. There’s no shortage of pricey picks, but bottle prices are fairly reasonable, particularly for estate wines. The extensive list takes in leading local boutique producers, as well as wines from most major wine-producing countries. An extensive list of whiskies and digestifs is offered too.

    Service
    Smartly dressed waiters are professional, personable and efficient, rarely missing a trick.

    Ambience
    A gorgeous modern space, as you’d expect from the winner of the 2014 Boschendal Style Award. It’s spacious and airy; expect Nordic wood tables and muted décor, offset by pops of colour courtesy of local fynbos. The gleaming copper-clad bar makes a bold statement, competing with the panoramic winelands views for your attention. Book a terrace table in the summer.

    And…
    Before you find your table, don’t miss out on a wander through the remarkable basement art gallery.

    (August 2015)

  • Eat Out

    Food 
    Chef Henrico Grobbelaar*, assisted by a brigade of young chefs, delivers classic food with a contemporary twist. There’s a big focus on local, seasonal produce and sustainable practices here, with many of the herbs and vegetables sourced from the farm’s garden. (It’s the kind of place with an in-house horticulturist.)

    Refreshingly, there’s no tasting menu: expect a strong à la carte dinner offering which includes perfectly poached hake with a fantastic cauliflower purée, and a finely cooked fillet that is beautifully presented with bright beetroot done in different ways. The lunch menu delivers items like slow-roasted pork belly served with truffled mash, heirloom carrots, a warm barley salad and apple mousse; and, for dessert, a passion fruit tartlet with Italian meringue and a coconut sorbet. Portions are generous, and the plating is modern, fresh and stylish.

    Drinks 
    They offer an impressive wine list featuring a wide range of producers and generous by-the-glass options. Though the list does lean towards the pricey end of the spectrum, there are some solid entry-level options for the budget-aware. Also noteworthy is a great selection of cocktails and a very detailed coffee offering – choose from three different varieties – and a stellar selection of teas.

    Service 
    Staff members deliver good, charming service – though this is a grand setting, they’re not posh or stuffy in any way.

    Ambience 
    As winner of the 2014 Boschendal Style Award, Equus wows with stunning architecture and décor. The spacious restaurant, which easily seats 60 patrons and with further seating outside on the deck overlooking the dam, has a stylish industrial feel to it, thanks in part to a copper-clad bar counter and fireplace. It’s a knockout venue.

    And... 
    The restaurant’s green credentials are indeed something to sing about. They utilise solar energy, a wastewater treatment plant to recycle water, and a biodigester for kitchen scraps – it’s all there, and very admirable.

    (August 2014)

    *Henrico has since left the restaurant. Headed by new executive chef Hylton Espey, Cavalli’s approach to cuisine is described as ‘modern, nature inspired cuisine’, inspired by a focus on heritage as it draws upon the landscapes, flora and fauna of Southern and Continental Africa. The menu seeks to take diners on a gastronomic journey, touching on points of nostalgia. Hylton and his team forage daily in Cavalli’s heirloom vegetable garden, which speaks to the estate’s belief in sustainability.

User reviews

  • http://www.thefoodbuzz.co.za/2015/08/18/equus-dine-at-cavalli-estate-wine-stud-farm/
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  • Yesterday i walked out of the restaurant because i didn.t get anything within 15 minutes after beeing seated. Love the view, the art and probably also the good. But 15 minutes is far to long specially if the restaurant is not full at all.
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  • a MUST Top 10! Best place with great portions and flavour! Love the chef!
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  • This was our second experience at Cavalli and I cannot wait till we get the opportunity to eat there again. After our first meal my wife and I agreed that the eating experience was equal to Overture in their heyday, but after tonight's culinary treat, I'm afraid that that they have moved far beyond the competition. Not only are the flavors exceptional but the textures are sublime, all leading to the best eating experience I have yet had in South Africa. I wish them all the best and hope they get the accolades they deserve.
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  • EXQUISITE CUISINE

    IT IS DINING BY DESIGN

    OUT OF THE EXTRA ORDINARY
    • Ambience
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    • Food

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Vegetarian

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