Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sunday lunch at Bertus Basson, The Spice Route, Paarl

Who doesn't enjoy Sunday lunch if someone else is cooking for you? And it appears, from the full restaurant with lots of large parties, that Bertus Basson's generous offering of a four course lunch for R290 is attracting lots of you. We were very impressed at the variety on the menu which is served family style. And, of course, the restaurant is up on the Paarl mountain with superb views across to Franschhoek on the left, then looking right across past the Simonsberg, Stellenbosch, Klapmuts and, in the distance, Table Mountain. Lions Head rides like a shark through the Durbanville Hills and beyond is the west coast
The restaurant is right in the centre of the Spice Route complex
The pergola will be covered in vines come summer
Inside the busy restaurant
The Sunday lunch menu we sampled. It does change according to the seasons and what is available. There is also a Saturday special running on Saturday 13th August. when Albert Frost will be performing at Bertus Basson Spice Route. There will be a 2 course menu for R245, 3 courses for R295pp. Book soon
We began with a bowl of savoury butternut soup topped with tangy creamy goats cheese and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds
Olive bread, olive oil emulsion and an olive paste accompany it
The next course was missing - at our request - the pickled fish, which neither of us likes; we don't like wasting food. It was replaced by a lovely fresh selection of roasted (not pickled) baby beetroot with a coriander emulsion (we couldn't detect coriander and suspect that parsley had been substituted; it was great). On the same platter, crisp baby yellow carrots, olives and radishes. There was a cos lettuce salad with shaved fennel in the bowl alongside, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and a few shreds of wet biltong. It was very well dressed. In front was a platter of shavings of rare roast Chalmar beef with small dabs of aubergine puree. But the singularly best thing on the plate was tiny slivers of dried tomatoes preserved in oil, topped with roasted garlic. They gave everything the most wonderful flavour. We didn't detect any sesame dressing
This bowl was what one of us selected
Then the main course: there are two. Top left is the crisp skinned confit duck legs on a rich spiced sauce with (Puy?) lentils, a butternut puree, moist dried figs, some lovely confit garlic, forgotten carrots ( left in the bottom of your fridge they become soft and concentrated in flavour) and rocket. Next to it is the Sticky, oh so tender braised short rib of beef with really good roast parsnips, parsnip puree and shaved beetroot crisps. Large roast potatoes, which Bertus likes to serve with a very light hollandaise sauce, a new experience for us and a good one. This course nearly defeated us and we confess to taking a doggy bag with the short ribs home. It was too good to leave, but we had little room and new dessert was to follow
Constantia Uitsig had sent us a bottle of their new 2013 Red Horizon dry red blend to try and this seemed like the perfect occasion to try it with food. It has lots of smoky bacon on the nose from the first fill 60% new oak, and a mouthful of cassis, rhubarb and red cherries. It goes very well with this sort of food which is full of many contrasting flavours and textures
Dessert was a hefty portion of Malva pudding with a very vanilla ice cream, with a jug of fresh cream on the side. This was followed by two excellent double espressos
Manager Louise Starey, who was at the Bakery at Jordan and is now managing this restaurant, had invited us to come and write about the food. Who can possibly turn down a chance to taste Bertus Basson's interesting and innovative fresh food. We loved her staff, very quiet but very attentive and polite. Our waiter’s name is Everton and yes, it is his father’s favourite soccer team
They also have some products on sale in the restaurant
WHAT a view! This is the Simonsberg, under whose shelter we spent the night on Friday
A long view to Table Mountain and that shark!
People enjoying the sun and the afternoon
Our table had a view into Red Hot Glass, the glass blowing factory and shop
Resting vines and time to head home. Thank you Bertus and Louise, a lovely experience. We will be back, probably in the summer when our visitors start to arrive
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2016

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