Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Stellenbosch Hills shows latest releases at La Mouette, Sea Point's top 20 restaurant

Stellenbosch Hills invited us to a wine-paired lunch at La Mouette in Sea Point. After we had all gathered and tasted their new Polkadraai Pinot Noir Rosé semi-sweet Sparkling 2014, aimed at the younger market, and eaten some rather good canapés, we were treated to a 7 course pairing menu, which was served with other Stellenbosch Hills wines. It is a co-operative winery, which was known for most of its existence as Vlottenberg and is now 69 years old. The grapes come from 16 different producers in five Stellenbosch wards: Polkadraai, Lynedoch, Vlaeberg, Vlottenberg and Stellenbosch Kloof

La Mouette is in an old Sea Point house, which we remember as the home of the Mauerberger family, who built it in the 19th century. For many years it was the home of the Europa Restaurant, which was a Sea Point landmark. Henry and Mari Vigar and Gerrit Bruwer bought it and opened La Mouette in May 2010. La Mouette has just earned a place in South Africa's Top 20 Restaurants
Stellenbosch Hills General Manager and Cellarmaster PG Slabbert welcoming his guests at the La Mouette gate
Oh those cheese truffle croquettes. And another very good canapé was the moist chicken sate
Tasting the Polkadraai Rosé bubbles on the stoep with members of the Fourth Estate
A selection of bread
The menu for the lunch is also their new Spring Menu and is very good value. There are two choices on courses 3 and 4. We had one each and swopped plates so we could taste them all. Portions are small, so you can manage what looks like a large quantity of food

A lovely dish if you are Banting or keen on cauliflower. The soup was very, very creamy. Lynne wondered if the scone was made with almond flour?
Alan Mullins, Anel Grobler and Guy MacDonald and one of the very pleasant waiting staff

This course was a bit controversial. Lynne was not fond of the very concentrated flavours of celery in the panna cotta, which she found rather bitter, others absolutely loved it. The hazelnuts were superb as was the asparagus and celeriac remoulade

A play on words: Lovely crisp cubes of tender pork tenderloin (lomo), glazed pork belly on a great egg yolk emulsion and sweet fresh peas

Oh, so crisp calamari on a sweet corn purée with crisp pickles

PJ Slabbert tells us about the wines we were drinking. We loved the Stellenbosch Hills Chenin and the juicy Merlot, and the Reserve White went so well with the food
PRO Nicolette Waterford dressed for the occasion

Trout, seared and tartare, with cauliflower cous cous. However, the crisp dry quinoa was difficult to eat

The deconstructed Springbok “pie” was slices of beautifully tender seared springbok and a bitterballen croquette of shredded springbok on a rich smoked mash with bits of crisp pastry

Before opening La Mouette, Chef Henry Vigar worked in France, Australia and numerous Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK over a period of 10 years. These include Auberge du Lac, The Greenhouse, The Square, Kensington Place and La Noisette (part of the Gordon Ramsay Group)

The cheese course was enlivened by the date purée

The deconstructed dessert was a very good mix of flavours and textures. Strawberries in season make glorious sorbet 

And finally, after lots of chat and a good lunch, the flavours of the seaside. The ice cream melted very fast in the sunshine! Reminds us of a strawberry mivvy lolly!
Nicolette Waterford with Guy MacDonald of Radio Good Hope’s Breakfast show
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

La Mouette is at 78 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town

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