Greenhouse (Constantia)

Friday, November 15th, 2019

Reviewed by Richard Holmes

Since taking over the kitchen in late-2018, head chef Farrel Hirsch has done an admirable job of stepping into Peter Tempelhoff’s shoes, delivering a menu brimming with provenance, sustainability and local inspiration. The platter of False Cay canapés is a fitting start to the culinary journey, with a quartet of inspired plates that showcase the creativity in the kitchen. Micro-vegetables on a tofu purée; a thoroughly modern take on a cheese-and-tomato sandwich (spoiler alert: it’s not a sandwich); and lavash topped with delicate mounds of snoek pâté, caramelised granola, goat’s cheese and fermented maple syrup. The tempura dune spinach, served with piquant pickled daikon and a delicate sake gel, is worth saving for last.

Then, depending on your choice of menu, a happy procession of plates rolls across the table. There’s a welcome abundance of seafood on offer, from the seafood potjie –
with sustainable hake and local samphire – and kingklip with a samp of red quinoa. It’s trend and tradition on one plate.

You’ll find plenty of theatricality but also beautiful simplicity in plates such as the standout sea-bass, seaweed and avocado swimming in a shallow pool of cucumber consommé. Meat-eaters aren’t ignored, though, with the ‘Tshisanyama’ delivering a perfect fillet, crispy sweetbread, a coriander-rich Asian pesto, and subtle local inspiration in the quenelle of creamy ‘pap’.

Citrus plates and petit fours bookend the playful chocolate dish dubbed simply ‘The Beet’. We’ll leave you to discover the presentation, but diners enjoy a sorbet and parfait ‘beetroot’, where chocolate and cherry jelly offer sweetness and acidity in perfect balance. It’s a delicious end to the culinary journey on offer. Individually the portions aren’t large, but overall the journey through the menu is perfectly judged, and you certainly won’t leave with any hunger pangs.

The Little Beverage Book certainly keeps pace with the menu. Your simplest choice is to opt for a wine pairing with each course, with both Boutique (innovative young producers) and Iconic (big-hitters and famous brands) pairings on offer at dinnertime. If you’d rather order your own, knowledgeable sommeliers are on hand to guide you through the impressive wine list that ranges widely from French champagnes to niche cultivars from lesser-known estates.

Perfectly on point for the elegant space and refined culinary experience. Attentive, welcoming and deeply knowledgeable about all aspects of the food and wine experience.

By day a bright and airy space with blue skies and garden views, but the sleek and muted opulence of the décor segues neatly into the more formal dinner service. Subtle soundproofing cleverly keeps noise levels in check.

Best for…
Celebratory dinners or popping the question.

(October 2019)

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here

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