Durbanville Hills Restaurant on the well-known wine estate boasts great rolling hills and sweeping views down to Blouberg, says Greg Landman.
This is typical winelands bistro fare with some imaginative twists. Oysters done two ways are a good way to start, either as they come from the ocean, with a drop of Tabasco and squeeze of fresh lemon, or wrapped in Parma ham and deep fried. The braised pork belly is delicious, without being cooked to a frazzle, but the fact that it is cool in the centre betrays that it was made some time before (the waiter warns not to touch the plate as it is hot). The portion is also very small, even taking into account it’s a starter. The smoked duck breast doesn’t have this problem as it is served cold with homemade chutney and a baby-leaf salad. Twice-baked butternut and cumin soufflé should do nicely for a vegetarian, as would the main course of creamy parmesan polenta with a slow-cooked tomato and wild mushroom sauce.
The chicken phyllo pie would have been better done in normal pastry as the phyllo is soggy on the bottom, a problem with this kind of pastry, especially when re-heated. The accompanying garden salad with crunchy red onions, baby tomatoes and interesting greens is a fresh as can be, anointed with a delicious dressing, if somewhat more lavishly than necessary. To finish the meal, chocolate lava pudding with white chocolate and pistachio fudge is intensely rich and should satisfy a sweet tooth very nicely.
Only the famous Durbanville Hills wines are available, at reasonable prices, by the glass or bottle. No BYO.
In terms of position, this place is right up there with the best, with sweeping views down to the distant Atlantic at Blouberg and Table Mountain on the left. In summer, great rolling hills – a sea of vines – add to the appeal. The huge double-volume ceilings and the size of the restaurant do not encourage quiet tête-à-têtes. Day-time dining is better and, when the wind is not pumping, the outside deck is quite spectacular.
Service is very smooth and attentive without hovering.
Do a wine tasting before your meal and go along with the very good wine pairings suggested with each dish.
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