Inspired by fresh, Asian herbs, micro-greens and vegetables grown in the estate’s own greenhouse, chef Virgil Kahn creates fine pan-Asian-inspired tapas bursting with subtle flavour combinations. Best mix ‘n match, sharing his interpretations of Asian classics from Thailand and Vietnam to Korea and Malaysia with a South African twist. A holistic approach to fragrant aromas, delicate flavours and natural textures in the kitchen carry through from the wellness philosophy of the spa. Start with the signature tuna tataki flavoured with fermented garlic and a divine curried beef laksa with langoustine dumplings. The starters and sides are so good it’s tempting to simply share a few and eschew mains: crunchy mussel omelette, edamame and shiitake pot stickers, springrolls and Thai beef salad. The flavours are authentically Asian and piquant, layered with aromatic basil, cardamom, coriander, galangal, lemongrass, lime and mint – and that elusive savoury umami quality. For mains, the signature vindaloo of local seafood is exquisite, combining gently steamed shellfish and linefish enhanced by apple and celery dressing. Vegetarians will enjoy the roasted, smoky textures of cauliflower, an exotic salad of green mango and Thai green curry with tamarind ginger chutney. Carnivores will enjoy the spicy spin on sticky beef short ribs or Korean BBQ chicken with kimchi. Leave space for desserts – a signature Willy Wonka green tea and chocolate composition which dances on your palate with jasmine meringue and yuzu sorbet. Finish with one of the exotic cleansing tea infusions which take you to the Far East.
Top-notch wine list of Delaire and other leading Stellenbosch cellars.
First-class with meticulous attention to detail from start to finish.
Chic and intimate fine dining in an arty interior plush blue and copper tones to a deck with spectacular vineyard and mountain views.
A romantic dinner on a pampered getaway in the winelands.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
In 2017 chef Virgil Kahn led Indochine to yet another nomination for the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.
We start with the tikka lamb Scotch egg and the tom yum goong. I loved the contrast of a Scotch egg, a dish so seemingly British in origin, with Asian flavours. Indochine’s version is both delicate and fresh, with fermented chilli dressing, dehydrated yoghurt shards and onion raita. Then it is on to the tom yum goong soup. There is something hugely satisfying about the depth of flavour of fish sauce, lime and lemongrass in Thai soups. Chef Virgil nails the balance of heat and umami, richness and freshness. It’s one of those dishes you think of for days after.
For mains we have the grilled line fish and the vindaloo of local seafood. The line fish with ginger salad is fresh and well-spiced, though the salad overpowers the fish a little. The vindaloo is tasty but very mild (though this may be my fault for requesting it not be too spicy). I will be back to try the vindaloo and the other curries, except without making any special requests.
Pairing wine with spicy food is seldom easy, but the sommelier at Indochine must be commended for his enthusiasm, attention to detail and attentiveness in this regard. From the rieslings and bukettraubes to chenins and chardonnays that could stand up to these dishes, are walked through wines for each and every dish we might choose.
In the restaurant the service is great. Everyone is friendly, professional and informed.
Driving up to Indochine is a little like entering a portal to the lost world. Delaire Graff’s massive old trees, giant cycads and impressive statues all add to the sense of a journey into another realm. It’s even better if you go for lunch, as the views across the mountains and vineyards are incredible. You’ll notice interesting art across the estate, from the sculptures on the drive in to the Swallows in Flight installation in the Indochine dining room. In winter, pick a table by the fire. You’ll also enjoy magnificent views of the mountains.
Seeing as the spa is right there, why not book yourself in for a morning spa session before lunch?
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.