Thursday, July 24, 2014

Lunch with Steenberg's new vintage at Bistro 1682

Another one of those terrible days.  With a storm sweeping in from the North West, we headed off to Steenberg to meet Marketing manager Caroline van Schalkwyk in the tasting lounge, where she welcomed us warmly with a glass of their new Sauvignon Blanc bubbly. Not an MCC, not enough time on the lees, more of a Prosecco, fresh and crisp with sparkly style. Then we sat down and tasted through some of their other wines before going through to the restaurant for what turned out to be a very long lunch indeed. Were we having a good time? Yes, you bet or we might have left at a decent hour. And we were captivated by Chef Brad Ball’s food from his new Bistro style menu. 
Our welcoming drink
Caroline tells us about it in front of a very necessary fire
This is the new Sauvignon Sparkling wine. We really like the new modern stand-out label with traditional touches
We then went on to taste four Steenberg wines
The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc is a classic green pepper Constantia Sauvignon, very much to our taste, with lots of asparagus and lime. Very quaffable, with elegance too
Then the Black Swan 2012 Sauvignon Blanc which was launched in May this year.  It's a blend of two vineyard blocks and is fermented in barrel and then transferred to stainless steel tanks, which makes it a Blanc fumé. Leesy rather than woody, it is also full of green peppers, with a nice touch of smoke on the end. Refreshing and complete.
Our tasting sheet
The weather was becoming murkier outside, but the view of the Constantiaberg is still magnificent
Then came the Steenberg Shiraz 2012. Spicy with black pepper, turmeric liquorice, cassia and red berries on the nose, this is a very pretty, feminine wine. It has a lovely mouthful of red and black cherries, vanilla with perfume on the palate and some salt on the end. And then Steenberg’s famous Nebbiolo , still one of only three made in South Africa, and always one of our favourites. It has a wild nose, full of childhood sweeties, raspberry jelly and a whiff of smoke.  On the palate, it is full of salty goji berries, raspberries and cranberries. So complex and appealing, it is a great food wine. It spends 15 months in oak.
Sparkling glasses and a fruity mobile in the tasting room where we met sommelier Kayla Mayman, who will serve you the Steenberg wines you want to taste
And then it was time for lunch in a corner of Bistro 1682
Chef Brad Ball, busy at the pass in the kitchen
We examine and discuss the new menu
And drink some more delicious Steenberg wine, These are the 2014 Sauvignon blanc and the 2012 Black Swan
A rare photo of the photographer. John having a good lunch
Caroline Poulter van Schalkwyk
The Menu
Many of us ordered the Chicken Liver Parfait with truffled granola and a cranberry compôte. Perfect with the Steenberg Merlot
But we looked enviously at the baked camembert, which was crusted with nuts and surrounded by fig syrup and parsley oil. A very pretty dish. Caroline saw the envy and ordered another one for the table to share
She had the Smoked trout with a poached egg, asparagus and salad leaves, served with a grainy mustard dressing
We were in the restaurant from about 1.30 till 5 and it never seems to empty. People came for lunch, stayed for tea and others then arrived for tapas and, as we were leaving, the evening dinner crowd started to come in. The kitchen closes at 8.30, so do get there early. You can stay later, but without food service.
The deconstructed Banting Beef Bourgignon:

On the plate: Cauliflower purée, lardons, mushrooms and fondant onions
In a separate bowl, the short rib of beef in a rich red wine sauce
The free range roast chicken with a crispy egg, celeriac purée, confi'ed garlic and a thyme cream. And, of course, some broccoli. Another Banting dish!
In deep discussion about the food and wine
Ah, the cheese course comes with a Banting nut and seed cracker!
The rose red panna cotta was perfect, just set, so nice and wobbly, lots of rose flavour and a lovely pistachio sponge, an unusual (in a good way) green fig ice cream set on a burnt marshmallow.
Guess who had the Chocolate Nemesis? With honey ice cream, an orange anglaise custard and a chocolate almond crumble. Yum
Chef Brad Ball came and joined us at the table and we had lots to talk about while we tasted more wine with the excellent food
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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