Thursday, July 14, 2016

Lunch from the winter menu at Haute Cabrière, Franschhoek

Last Tuesday, we headed off to Franschhoek and it was the first of three visits we will be making in the next two weeks. We had been invited to come and sample the winter menu of the new(ish) chef Dennis Strydom, who took over at the beginning of the year. It was another glorious Cape winter day
No, it’s not a Hobbit burrow with a view! Haute Cabrière Cellar and restaurant have been cleverly built into the hill, are almost completely invisible from outside, and are kept cool by the earth. You can sit outside on the terrace if you prefer. All the Franschhoek farms and restaurants are bedecked in the Tricolour of red, white and blue to get ready for Bastille Day and this coming weekend . We will be back on Sunday to celebrate with them all
The friendly staff are also all dressed for the occasion
We started with a lovely glass of the Pierre Jordan Belle Rose Brut Rosé
Two different breads, with butter and parsley butter
The Winter Two Course Special menu for two costs R395 and consists of a Soupe du Jour (of the day) and a grilled sirloin steak with chips, vegetables and a red wine jus for each of you. Both courses come with a glass of Cabrière wine. Dessert is an extra
The soup of the day was caramelised French Onion soup (so suitable for Bastille weekend!) It was rich and very good. It is topped with a slice of toasted bread covered with feta cheese
We had this with a glass of the Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2016 which is about to be released at the end of August. It is complex with perfume, apples and melons on the nose and long, long raspberry flavours and nice lees on the end. Great with the food
We were joined by Hildegard von Arnim and had a very jolly lunch swapping stories of our travels to Vietnam with hers
and then Takuan von Arnim also joined us and brought some more wines for us to taste
How special to have a glass of the Haute Cabrière 2013 Pinot Noir with our steak. Takuan is passionate about this wine. It is full of perfume and cherries on the nose and lovely pure fruit on the palate, so satisfying and suitable for a dish like this
Time for our medium rare grilled steaks to arrive. They come with long chips, steamed vegetables and a very savoury wine sauce. We also got to try the new Pinot Noir which will be released next January , the advantage of sitting with the Von Arnims! It has warm linen and raspberries on the nose, sweet raspberries and rhubarb on the palate with long flavours, light minerality and soft wood holding it. It is shyly waiting in the bottle to announce its own arrival but when it does it will be a cracker
We were then offered desserts and we cracked. We decided to order one of each and swop plates half way through
Executive chef Dennis Strydom came over to chat and tell us about his food
Dessert arrives. This is the Pistachio brioche with vanilla ice cream and a burnt apple espuma (foam). The savoury layers of brioche are interleaved with slices of partially cooked apple. Good creamy ice cream helps to moistens the dish.
Sunrise with a pecan tart! We really enjoyed the surprising butternut sorbet, a first for us. The plum purée was the painted rays of the sun and bit hard to taste
Hildegarde had a Berry filled pancake with maple syrup, berry sorbet and a seed streusel from their very interesting Vegan menu. Check out their website if you are interested:
The restaurant was busy all through lunch, impressive for a Tuesday
In the Tasting room. Thank you von Arnim family for a lovely gemütliche lunch with you both. Good coffee too!
Yes, that is an elephant bone, one found on the route they used to take up the pass when elephant roamed the Cape, centuries ago now. Franschhoek was then known as Olifantshoek
A view from the Terrace. South Easter clouds covering the Franschhoek mountain. The weather forecast for Bastille weekend is looking mostly sunny and up to 16 degrees on Sunday. See you there? 
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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