We experienced the autumn tasting menu, which was a small, but all-encompassing showcase of well thought out, superbly executed and beautifully plated gastronomy. With an emphasis on flavourful broths, buttery sauces and sumptuous reductions, the food is most certainly rich, but still manages to remain refined and elegant.
Choose from a selection of five starters, six mains (with optional sides) and five desserts. Starters might include a celeriac tortolloni with truffle and parmesan; pho of beef and noodles in an aromatic broth; and barramundi with squash, basil and an aubergine caviar. Each starter was intricately presented. The pho, proved to be a surprisingly subtle fusion of wafer thin strips of beef in a mouth-watering broth, while the tortolloni, a magical combination of perfectly al dente, handmade pasta parcels covered in a rich parmesan foam and finished with generous slivers of black truffle – both absolute musts.
For mains, think quail with walnut stuffing, cauliflower and sherry caramel; or sole with pommes mousseline, burnt butter sabayon and vegetable nage and the duck breast with lavender, beetroot and cassis. The duck was the only dish that fell a little short here; it was a little overdone and whilst the beetroot, rhubarb and radishes gave the dish a wonderfully earthy sweetness, the addition of fresh raspberries seemed unnecessary. The quail was deconstructed and served three ways atop a bed of cauliflower florets and purées, crumbled stuffing and an exquisite sherry-caramel sauce: autumn on a plate. The sole, delicately crumbed and fried, was paired with butter-and-cream-laden mashed potato, fresh peas, pea shoots and the most delectable sabayon. My only other qualm was the sides which I found to be redundant; the dressed roast potatoes were over-sauced, and the seasonal salad – a tasty, citrusy slaw – failed to complement the mains.
Desserts are always a triumph and include Chef de Bruijn’s inventive takes on ‘affogato’ with a synergy of coffee, cream, hazelnut and chocolate, and ‘chocolate’ an exploration of malt, mousse and cocoa nibs.
The wine list is a carefully thought out and comprehensive exhibition of exceptional South African wines. It’s a far-reaching selection with superb options at every price bracket, though the list would benefit from a few more exciting reds by the glass. For serious oenophiles there’s a selection of specially selected CWG auction wines.
The service here is exceptional. Waiters are well-trained, engaged and at your beck and call. Glasses are continually topped up, water refilled, and someone is always in clear sight should you need absolutely anything.
Despite being situated along a main road, the setting is completely serene. Visiting for lunch? Enjoy a first glass of wine in their beautifully manicured gardens. The best way to experience the intimacy of the dining room though is at dinner, when the lighting, mirrors and décor really come to life.
They offer jazz Sundays on the first Sunday of every month.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.