Thursday, February 25, 2016

Westin Full Moon dinner with Avondale wines and star charts

Full Moon dinner in the On 19 restaurant at the Westin Grand
Photo courtesy Westin website

From sunset to the fabulous full moon this week. The Westin Hotel has a restaurant on the 19th floor called On19 with spectacular views over the Waterfront and looking at the mountain. They invited members of the media to join them and celebrate the full moon, have our astral charts plotted by Astrologer Dianne Garven and enjoy a really impressive dinner. All this was accompanied by wines from Avondale, which owner Johnathan Grieve presented
It is right at the top of the Westin which is part of the Cape Town International Conference Centre complex

Getting to know each other with non alcoholic cocktails
A special bottling of Avondale Samsara Syrah called the View 2016, given to us when we left. The bottle is beautifully acid etched
Views of the business centre of town looking up Bree Street toward the mountain and Lion's Head
and toward the V&A Waterfront
Michael Liffman GM of the Westin hotel gave the opening speech and welcomed us. You too can experience a full Moon dinner as they are scheduled to happen on the date of each full moon this year.   You must book: for details. Phone: +27 21 412 9999
The dates are 23rd March; 22nd April; 21st May; 20th June; 20th July; 18th August; 16th September; 16th October; 14th November; and 14th December.  Every month each patron will receive a personalised birth chart with their details, which Diane will be able to elaborate on with an individual reading (optional extra)
Executive Chef Grant Cullingworth explained the menu.  The starters would be sharing platters. The food we were served is all local, and they have a farm to table policy.  Some of it comes from their rooftop garden on the 20th floor which produces herbs vegetables and edible flowers. They offer healthy options
Johnathan Grieve of Avondale told us about their select range of organic and biodynamic wines which are terroir driven
We were all dying to see our Astral charts.  They map the sky on the day we were born from the location we were born in.  Dianne Garvin did not give individual readings, but she did explain some of the things on the chart
Waiting for the first course to arrive at the long table
An evening view looking towards the V&A Waterfront
The menu

The platter of 'Natural pickings" to share.  Good crisp bread rolls, smooth and rich duck liver paté , small slices of hay smoked beef on onion marmalade, organic baby vegetables with a small smear of Bagna Cauda, bocconcini and warm lamb fritters. More of the bagna cauda perhaps in a small bowl for dipping would be lovely. A generous and well thought out sharing platter for 2.
She who cooked the dinner. Talented Chef de Cuisine Anerith Tamsyn Smythe
To accompany the meal Avondale's  2013 Cyclus, the Power of the Vortex. a white blend of  24% Viognier, 24% Roussanne, 24% Chenin Blanc, 14% Chardonnay and 14% Semillon grapes. to quote We could also have Avondale's 2014 Chenin Blanc called Anima, it was intense barrel fermented wine with great minerality and depth of flavour, full of yellow fruits.  Also  on offer was the red blend La Luna, a Bordeaux blend made from 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec & 6% Petit Verdot organically-grown grapes. This was a fruit day, so the wines were showing beautifully with the food
The next course had three choices.  Lynne chose the perfectly cooked sous vide Satsuma and Soy glazed Salmon Trout, soft, pink and falling into moist flakes and full of flavour. The bulgar wheat salad beneath had great flavour and was topped with a rather oniony fennel and fresh coriander grenolata. It was on a vanilla parsnip puree and a honey and miso jus. Lynne does not like vanilla in savoury food, but acknowledges that it is very popular
This is the vegetarian option which one of our table neighbours had. Spinach, Feta and butternut Tortellini, with roasted pumpkin seeds, tomato concasse, truffle buerre noisette a cashew nut crumble and butternut gremolata. She enjoyed it very much
John chose the charred beef fillet.  This was outstanding, Lynne tasted it and declared it one of the best pieces of steak she has ever had.  It was as tender as butter - we surmise also cooked sous vide, then seared for exactly the correct amount of time on a wood fired grill to give it a smokey taste, but not overpowering or burnt, superbly seasoned and came with smoked aubergine puree, bone marrow fritters, pickled baby beetroot, fondant potatoes and a black cherry jus. A tour de force of delights. One to return for
Astrologer Dianne Garvin explaining the star charts
Dessert was called the Milky Way and represented the planets.  Tiny biscuit stars, white chocolate and caramel milk chocolate truffles, date chocolate pudding and stracciatella ice cream with a Saturn ring of chocolate. This was served with the Avondale Armilla Blanc de Blanc 2009 MCC, satisfying crisp and dry to contrast with the sweet dessert
And finally, a good double espresso with two 'nougats' one made with blue cheese honey and nuts, the other a traditional nougat packed full of apricot and pistachio nuts. A great dinner with good wines. Thank you Westin and Avondale

The huge February Harvest full moon with its smiling face
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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