Monday, June 06, 2016

The Winter Tasting Menu at Myoga at the Vineyard Hotel and Spa, Newlands


The quality of some of these images does not do justice to the food. The lighting level at Myoga is low and automatically dims as the evening progresses. We do not use flash in restaurants so that we do not disturb the ambience, so we had to work with the ambient light. Our Nikons work better than most other cameras in low light conditions, but there are limits, even at 12800 ISO



Just before we left for Hong Kong we were invited by chef Mike Basset to come and sample his new winter menu at Myoga at the Vineyard Hotel. They are doing a 7 course menu for R365 which, as it includes two extra courses and bread, offers tremendous value. Just go very hungry. We opted to do the menu with the wine pairing, which costs R650 per person. It includes some of the top South African wines so, if you like wine, this is for you. We didn't always agree with all the pairings, but taste is subjective. The menu is a showcase of multiple textures, flavours, colours and surprises. It's a tour de force of modern gourmet food. Perhaps one or two of the courses had too many ingredients on the plate, but we really enjoyed the experience
The restaurant has soft elegant French style furnishings
You enter at the side of the bar
Soft lighting and a view of the open kitchen
We began with a glass of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rosé
The Menu

The bread platter included truffle butter, an aioli, organic flake salt and whole wheat rolls, potato bread, rye bread and a butternut and pumpkin seed crisp.
Then the Surprise: A black pepper and parmesan crisp with a celeriac and garlic espuma, truffle purée poured from a tiny jug and pickled dried apricot. It was very rich and creamy and coated the mouth in fat and cream so it didn't go well with the delicate Kaapse Vonkel brut. It ended on a strong note of black pepper. This was followed by The Tickler, pictured here, it's an barley oat porridge with herbs, mushrooms, onion ..
...and a soya miso cream added later. Just for Lynne
Lynne's choice for the first official course was Shiazuke Salmon (a bit like gravadlax )with pickled daikon radish topped with a Thai snowball of rice wine vinegar and coconut milk. Beneath was an edamame bean gel and caramel toffee dust was sprinkled over. On the edge was some very spicy and vinegary curried apple achar or Cape Malay chutney. A little overwhelming for the delicate salmon. This was served with the Fable Mountain vineyards Jackal Bird 2013 a blend of 41% Chenin Blanc, 18% Grenache Blanc, 17% Chardonnay 14% Viognier, 10% Roussanne
John's first course was venison loin with creamed cauliflower 'couscous' topped with pickled watermelon and crispy onion rings. There seemed to be fig flavours as well
His wine pairing was the Terra del Capo Sangiovese, a very good wine and a very good match
Next course for Lynne was the Korean Pork belly, topped with a great piece of crackling. It came with crisp mange tout, and was in a rich ginger apple sauce, almost barbeque. The pork was so well cooked that the bones had turned to jelly
This came with Eikendal Pinotage 2014 and sadly the ginger enhanced the metallic notes Lynne picks up on many Pinotages. The wine has a kick of acidity then calms down to a softer fruity wine
John chose the Jamaican Jerk Poussin, which was a sous vide ballotine served with white peach cubes, baby bok choi and a fried quail egg
This was served with Neethlingshof Six Flowers a white blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Weisser Riesling. Shy on the nose with lots of new smoky oak, the Chardonnay predominates
Time for the Surf and Turf courses. Lynne chose the smoked butter langoustine, which comes with a added cost of R65, but was very disappointed at the tiny single mouthful serving of smoked langoustine. It came with some deep fried salmon in a very crisp pork fat coating come too brittle to bite, caramel tamarind sauce, caramel brittle and a few broccoli heads
It was paired with Delheim's delicious semi sweet 2014 Gewürztraminer, always a favourite, full of rose petals, litchis and Turkish delight which sadly rather overwhelmed the delicate fish
The previously tasted Fable Mountain white blend was a much better match, Lynne still had some
Johns choice was the Black salted squid paired with Lomond's Pincushion 2014 Sauvignon Blanc from Cape Agulhas. Very spicy squid on a black ink aioli swipe served with litchi, a sprinkling of Iberico ham, a white almond sphere, anchovy lime condensed milk, and a pool of red chilli sauce with sweet potato slices. And ash. The excellent wine calmed the palate down. But so many different elements on the plate can confuse
Then the lime lemongrass sorbet with balsamic pears to cleanse our palates
Time for The (main) Event. We both chose the Confit Duck Tacos. Nice and pink slices of seared duck breast resting upon mission figs and onions, a pomegranate chipotle syrup, a tiny rather doughy taco filled with shredded confit duck topped with a salty Fontina cheese foam and alongside some avocado and tomatillo salsa. Quite delicious, one to return for but no to the raw onion
We were delighted to find it paired with Waterford's Kevin Arnold sexy, soft and spicy Shiraz, full of liquorice and dark red berries, and a long, long afterglow - the best wine of the evening. We also had the Domaine des Dieux Josephine 2012 Pinot Noir which is still a little young
A strange machine on the kitchen counter; it turned out to be part of the sous vide process
Time for desserts. When we were here in the summer for lunch, everyone except Lynne had the 'Death of Strawberry shortcake' so it was time to try this performance dessert. The strawberry bombe, coulis, pastille and gel, sharp strawberry sorbet, light white chocolate sponge, coconut milk ice cream, and summer berries come covered with a cloud of pink candy floss
The waiter than begins to pour over the warm strawberry sauce
and the candy floss melts ...
... and disappears. Leaving a complete strawberry experience. Very sweet, very rich and lovely if you have a sweet tooth
John chose the Black Forest memories, a deconstructed black forest cake with a cherry cheesecake sphere, a chocolate log, chocolate mousse, hot dark mousse, dark sponge cake, morello cherry ice cream, chocolate streusel and a chocolate blini. Complex and loaded
We were offered two dessert wines: Tierhoek's excellent, elegant straw wine from Chenin Blanc - perfect with the Strawberry dessert and the Waverley Hills Red Jerepigo 2013, better with the Black Forest
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016
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