Monday, April 24, 2017

Restaurant Week lunch at Faber, Avondale, Paarl

Sometimes you just have the most perfect day and last Saturday was it. We had booked for lunch for four of us during Restaurant Week at Faber. We had eaten and really enjoyed chef Eric Bulpitt's food when he was at Newton Johnson and this is his new restaurant. So, when Lynne spotted Faber on the Restaurant Week list, she booked. We haven't been back to Avondale for several years - we try to get around as much as possible, but there is a long list of places we want to visit. And of course we do get invited to many. The name is Eric's inspiration: FABER m (genitive fabrī); second declension. craftsman, creator, artisan, architect, maker, artificer, smith

Faber is open for lunch Wednesday – Sunday: 12h00 – 15h00 and for Dinner Wednesday – Saturday: 18h30 – 21h00. These times will change as we enter the Winter season, so check with the restaurant
The wine tasting area and restaurant share this building. The garden outside is absolutely magnificent. Avondale is a Biodynamic farm and they have 7 dams. They are outside Paarl, just off the N1 on the way to the Huguenot tunnel. They recycle almost everything and the water used is put through their water reclamation system, so the gardens receive the benefit. There are old fashioned roses with beautiful perfume, lots of indigenous plants, and those purple salvias attract lots of sunbirds, so you can sit on the terrace tasting wine watching them ...
...and the beautiful Drakenstein mountain and Paarl Rock with the autumnal trees and vines
We spent some time admiring the garden; we arrived a little early for lunch
Makes you wish you had this amount of space for a huge border garden like this. And the possibility of watering it
One of our friends had just celebrated a birthday, so we enjoyed a bottle of the Avondale MCC, Armilla Blanc de Blanc 2009. It has a lovely brioche nose with some lily of the valley, clean lemon and lime flavours of medium length and a nice mousse
This was the special Restaurant Week menu. Restaurant week is held twice a year; the next one will be in the Spring. It happens in our larger cities and in the Winelands. You can register on line and book for lunches and dinners. It began last Thursday, 20th April, and will finish next Sunday, 30th April. We believe there are still some places with availability
This is the normal menu, so even if you don't get there during Restaurant week, and we think you should visit, you can have the dishes we had, if not at the special price
The wine list carries the Avondale wines
Ah, the bread offering. Now some of you might recognise the reference. Yes, Chef Eric Bulpitt did work with Chef George Jardine and yes, his bread is as good as George’s. Those were warm Indian bhaji, good sourdough slices and really lovely seed loaf. Served with rendered lard and, for our veggie friends, good butter
The Pass and the Kitchen with chef Eric Bulpitt, his wife Celeste and waiter Prince Kohi. It is an open kitchen
We drank a bottle of Anima Chenin blanc, rich, and full of layers of fruit. So good with all the food we had
Lunch on the terrace
We loved our starter of small deep fried duck kromeski, crisp with lovely salty confit duck inside, with a pouring of a lovely chestnut velouté. Avondale has a large flock of ducks that keep the vineyards free of pests like snails. And yes, they do eat them. Ducks are rather fecund
The very pretty vegetarian starter of Korean style barbecued celeriac, with 'ferments' and pickles. Our friends said it was superb, very Korean, especially the pickles
We don't order chicken very much when eating out; it is often dry or barely cooked. However, if it was all like this, we would - often. The chicken was so moist and tender that we concluded it had to be cooked sous vide. The skin was flavourful and crisp. On the right, a well made of polenta and sweet corn contained a rich meat jus. This dish was also accompanied by a poured sweet corn velouté. We used our bread to 'George Jardine' our plates - sending them back to the kitchen shining clean, without a whisper of sauce left on them, as we do at George's
Whole roasted cauliflower, with fermented core and leaf ribs and a cauliflower purée. Cauliflower is not a favourite with everyone (like coriander and mushrooms) but it was said to be very good by She who loves it. Nice to see seeds used as texture. Lynne often uses slivered toasted almonds
There was a large tour group from Australia in the main restaurant, being hosted by owner Johnathan Grieve. The divine smells of the East Coast hake they were served wafted our way, redolent of shellfish. Definitely one to return to try while it is on the menu
The bill. We had the restaurant special of R200 pp for 2 courses and added two portions of chunky chips with their skins on. We passed on the dessert but enjoyed four excellent espressos. So it came to R700 per couple; we always split the bill. A special mention to our waiter Prince Kohi, pleasant, informed, friendly and efficient. Thank you

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