There’s a reason Overture has made the Eat Out Top 10 so often – coming in at number nine in 2017. The food is inspired, each course better than the last.
Choose between the three-course menu or the six-course tasting menu. When choosing the three-course menu, don’t be fooled: a number of treats will arrive between your chosen courses, and your meal will end up in a decadent feast that lasts for hours.
‘Chip and dip before a braai’ kicks the meal off on a simple, yet exceptionally high note. It’s an assortment of crispy, salty chips made from sweet potato, fried sago and crispy kale. They’re served with a buttery avocado mousse of a perfect consistency.
‘A walk in the forest’ follows: cauli-rice with dried porcini, miso cream and mushroom tea infused with ginger. As expected, this is a power bowl of umami with a fresh, earthy crunch. Next comes a creamy pecan-nut butter with a peppery olive oil mousse, smoky onion ash and salty dried olives, all providing an abundance of flavours. Corned beef also makes an appearance, with sour pickled onion and spicy mustard seeds. And that’s all before the starters.
For starters, the chicken ballotine and red-wine braised snails is a hit. The snails are smooth with a hint of sweetness, complemented by carrots. A porcini crumb adds earthy, gritty flavours and texture. The smoked hake is served with perfect pommes anna – grown-up fritters, if you will – and salty, cream-based fish stock with a soft egg.
For mains, the hearty braised lamb shoulder is a must-try. As expected, it’s fall-apart tender. The flavours are perfectly balanced: sweet from the gem-squash purée; salty from a creamy dijonnaise; and spicy hints of cumin and coriander seeds. Celeriac adds just the right amount of crunch to a fantastic main course.
The dry-aged sirloin is cooked to medium-rare perfection. Onion adds a hint of sweetness, while pickled Jerusalem artichoke and nasturtium leaf add an interesting sour element. The beef is properly aged, with a slight tang that pulls together the flavours. The mains are served with a side of pommes dauphine: pillowy clouds of potato perfection. They’re so creamy and are undoubtedly what roast potatoes should always taste like.
Dessert certainly doesn’t disappoint. The chocolate dish comprises chocolate purée, chocolate soil and a range of extremely crispy chocolate discs flavoured with nori, honey, kakoia and orange. They’re rich, creamy, decadent and a playground of textures. The vanilla soufflé is soft and light, paired with a creamy, roasted sesame-seed ice cream.
And, just when you thought you were done, expect a final treat of home-made marshmallows, brownies and soentjies before your bill arrives.
A fantastic but concise wine list comprises Hidden Valley wines, as well as a good selection of interesting Swartland, Montagu, Elgin and Hemel-en-Aarde wines. Only Hidden Valley wines are available by the glass (R65 to R110).
In a word: superb. Overture’s staff has found the perfect balance of being attentive and knowledgeable, but easy-going and casual. Conversation with staff is natural and comfortable.
This is as good as it gets. Enjoy sweeping views across the Stellenbosch winelands while sitting comfortably on the elegant terrace. A mixture of facebrick, steel and glass makes for a modern, minimalist space. Catch a glimpse into the inner workings of Hidden Valley wines.
When you’re done with your meal, take advantage of the short nature trails that skirt around the dam alongside the restaurant. It’s a picturesque ending to a fantastic feast.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay their own way. Read our full editorial policy here.
Bertus Basson is back in the Top 10, thanks to his laid-back and seemingly effortless excellence. The chef continues to be a force to be reckoned with on the Cape culinary scene, with his fine food served in a deceptively laid-back manner. The wheels turn effortlessly: rustic plates are imaginatively presented, with knockout flavours and memorable moments – just ask the fans who flock here. The three-course menu commences with irresistible bread and four mini starters, which could play on olive butter, intense dried black olives, hot-smoked cabbage with celeriac and miso. The farmyard terrine, deliciously set in jelly, served with vegetables and home-cured mustard, is a meal on its own. Follow with Chalmar sirloin with short rib, roast cauliflower and gremolata, which is deliciously comforting in its simplicity, or the lamb rib with kidney, celeriac and crispy onion. The pre-dessert amuse bouche of velvety chocolate mousse makes a great foil for guava, custard, passionfruit, tapioca and coconut sorbet – a fabulous melange of flavours and textures, redolent with memories of childhood.
A very good list of some of the best in the Cape, including their own Hidden Valley label.
Knowledgeable and friendly.
It’s a fabulous setting way up Hidden Valley, with a view down to the plains and the distant mountains. Delightful terraces are surrounded by verdant foliage; it’s almost like dining in a forest, which is a real pleasure for city dwellers who want to escape back to nature in style, with great food.
Booking well in advance is is absolutely essential.
Eat Out critics arrive unannounced and pay their way in full. Read our editorial policy here.