Over the last two decades, George Jardine, frequent winner of a coveted place in the Eat Out Top Ten, has earned his spurs as one of the top chefs in the country. Commuting between his new venture in Stellenbosch and his destination restaurant at Jordan wine estate, his creative energy is boundless. A focus on seasonal flavours showcases local, organic produce on a changing menu, which tempts with sublime combinations.
The menu identifies the exact provenance of ingredients from east coast monkfish and hake to Walker Bay white mussels and Oak Valley pork. The main ingredient is enhanced with delectable sauces, reductions, garnishes and foraged sides, from samphire (sea asparagus) and dune spinach to wild mushrooms and micro-greens. Earthy, smoky tastes and textures are showcased in signature dishes like smoked, acorn-fed pork with pease pudding, prawn boudin blanc, Williston lamb kidneys and roasted root vegetables. There are gastronomic choices for vegetarians, from caramelised leek tart with truffled watercress to gorgonzola gnocchi with charred Brussels sprouts.
A fine attention to detail and a subtle balance shows on every bespoke ceramic bowl and plate. If available, signature dishes tempt, with aged pasture-reared Greenfields sirloin on a bed of creamed puy lentils and the freshest, flakiest hake poached in red wine with glazed bone marrow.
Expect bold, contemporary fare from a master with supreme respect for the meticulously sourced ingredients on his cutting board and in his kitchen.
A good selection of affordable wines by variety, glass and bottle, as well as craft spirits.
Attentive and on the ball, with warmth and charm.
Intimate and cosy in the covered courtyard and small, interior dining room with botanical vegetable illustrations.
Share a selection of South African farm cheeses if you’re too full for dessert.
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It feels a bit like you’ve hit the fine dining jackpot when you discover that the six-course tasting menu at Jardine is a mere R420 – and is so incredibly delicious. There are two- and three-course options, too. Tasting menus are wonderful for the chef to show off and delight you with their favourites on the day. Plus, it’s great to sit back and be surprised by what shows up.
The six-course menu is a well-balanced selection of the season and the region’s best ingredients. The first wooden board with a king oyster mushroom tart, buffalo mozzarella, confit garlic and watercress is, in a word, sublime. A great hit of umami to kickstart a beautiful meal. It’s followed by a delicate salt-and-sugar cured yellowtail, with truffled artichoke, parmesan, artichoke purée, dried onion and pine nut dressing. Again, delicious.
The third course is a highlight: pan-roasted veal sweetbreads with salsa verde, air-dried cauliflower and crispy sage. Peppery and gently fatty, both smooth and crunchy, it is a thing of beauty – not least because of the Pollock-esque jus decorating the plate. The rest of the menu includes a slightly underwhelming butter-roasted gurnard served with aubergine velouté, grilled baby aubergine and olive tapenade, and a roasted and braised Cradock springbok with grilled yellow plum, turnip and walnut, which is a well balanced, tasty plate of food – with the perfect piece of meat to round off the savoury part of the meal.
Chef George is known for his pretty and delicious desserts and he does not disappoint. The understated Valrhona chocolate torte with milk chocolate mousse and white chocolate ice cream is absolutely heavenly. It’s very tempting to lick the plate…
The one-page wine list is simple yet concise. It is dominated by local Stellenbosch wines and is extremely well-priced.
Top notch. Waitrons are friendly without being too familiar and George’s wife, Louise, is always on hand for extra support and smiles.
White tablecloths and beautiful crockery elevate the otherwise quite unassuming space, while lots of greenery give it a bit of warmth without making it too casual.
The lunch menu sees a handful of choices and is perfect for a quick gourmet lunch.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.