The celebrated chef of Jordan Restaurant, George Jardine, has opened his dream fine-dining restaurant in Stellenbosch. After six years of waiting, one of his favourite spots on Andringa Street in Stellies became available for rent a couple of weeks ago, and he snapped it up for his new small fine-dining eatery, Restaurant Jardine.
We booked to celebrate a special occasion for a Saturday night in December. The restaurant has been on my to do list for many years, following their continued success on the Eat Out Top 20.
I was surprised that the restaurant was not fully booked on a Saturday night, in season. But nonetheless I was happy to be there. The service from all the front of house staff was exceptional throughout and in perfect timing to a relaxing evening.
The room was cosy but had no air flow. It was a cool evening, which made it bearable.
Their wine list was quite small, with rather unfamiliar wines on the list. We opted for a middle-of-the-road shiraz, based on the wine list's indication that it was a 2015 vintage (a great year for SA wines). When the bottle arrived, the vintage was 2016 - and upon enquiry found out that the 2015 was sold out. This is always the challenge with indicating vintages of the wines you have on offer, but I would expect a restaurant of this calibre with a paper printed menu to be able to manage the vintages of the wines available better.
Moving on to the food. We opted for the 3 course menu, preceded by some oysters - the star dish of the evening. On the menu, each course had 4 options (one vegetarian) and we opted for different dishes to ensure we try as many as possible. The cucumber gazpacho was sensational, and perfectly balanced. The zucchini flowers were also very tasty, but quite a rich dish for a starter.
Unfortunately this is where the magic for us stopped.
I opted for the duck leg and cauliflower puree, which was tasty but rather underwhelming. My partner ordered the steak. Now, when a restaurant only has 4 items on offer, surely they would ensure they can nail every one of those dishes. The steak (ordered medium rare) had a few problems. Firstly, the cut was really bad, so the end of the steak was massively overdone and dry. My partner sent this back to the kitchen, followed by massive apologies from all but the chef. The new steak arrived much better, but slightly under cooked. He ate it anyway, as under cooked is always better than over cooked (and also, I had long finished my meal). There was definitely no confidence in the kitchen when preparing that steak. And the age old saying is also true, you cannot cook a bad steak well. The quality and cut of the meat was equally as problematic as the confidence the chef cooked it with.
By this point I had eaten enough, so my meal was changed to a two course - a nice touch as this wasn't presented to us as an option and I would've happily paid for the dessert I didn't eat, just to avoid the waste. My partner had the chocolate whisky dome, which he declared sensational.
Overall our experience was good, but not exceptional and we left slightly underwhelmed. It was quite an expensive dinner, considering the flaws to the mains. Im glad I got to tick this spot off my list, but it's unlikely that I will return or even recommend. There are far better options at far better prices in Stellenbosch.
One of the best wine pairings in Stellenbosch, every dish worked and fit the theme of the venue. The mussels are to die for and the wine list outside of pairings is astonishingly good.
I was a bit disappointed with Jardine or maybe my expectations were to high as they are #9. I enjoyed Chefs Warehouse (#10) and Pot Luck Club (#20) a lot more.
The service was not great. We had to signal for our waiter a few times and waited long for the bill. She opened a second bottle of water and started pouring without us requesting it.
The look of Jardine is to minimalist. There is no vibe or theme. The bathrooms felt like a general eatery bathroom with hand towels that have bleach stains on them and the sink overtaken by Soap and lotion ( a holder against the wall would look better).
The food had elements that were amazing and elements that we could not taste. Like an orange biscuit with chocolate mouse. We could not event taste the orange a little. Or a beet risotto with pea mouse, again we could not taste the pea.
Really was looking forward to eating at #9, but was sadly disappointed.
A very special treat for a friend's birthday and, as always, we weren't disappointed. What an experience! The courses were presented as beautiful pictures painted with delicious ingredients. One didn't want to disturb the display!! And of course, the tastes were beyond believe. Thanks George! We'll definitely be back.
An all out dining experience
Definitely worth visiting
Fantastic food as chef george has been known for accompanied by excellent service
A fine restaurant indeed