Thursday, February 22, 2018

This Week's MENU. A Clifton Picnic, Black Sheep supper, Franschhoek & lunch at Mont Rochelle, Lime sorbet, Glen Carlou Curator’s Chenin

Sunset picnic on the rocks, Clifton
We say it often and we sometimes have to pinch ourselves to make sure that it’s real, even though we have both lived here on and off since the late 1940s and consistently for about the last 30 years. This is one of the world’s most beautiful and interesting places. We are entertaining friends from the Netherlands, who visit every year at about this time. One comment from them is that people at their home ask why they come back each year; don’t they get bored with seeing the same thing over and over again. Their reply is that they are never bored. There is so much to see that they seldom re-visit any of the places they have seen.
We are avid listeners to Cape Talk Radio; it accompanies most of our working days at home. We have our Dutch friends here for a couple of months and Yvonne grew up in Clifton so when we heard about Moonstruck, a free concert organised by Cape Talk on Fourth Beach last Saturday night, we made plans to go. But, as both men hate sand between their toes, we decided to have it on the rocks overlooking the beach. The weather could not have been more perfect. Shaded by our hats, we could enjoy the late afternoon together
To say we have been trying to get to this restaurant for a long time would not be an exaggeration. We know the Chef Owner Jonathan Japha from his days at Fork Tapas restaurant in Long Street. It says on their website that he has love for UK gastropubs "that inspire his love for honest, uncomplicated good food made with the best local ingredients". But time and tide washed us to other shores. So when friends phoned to say they had a reservation but family had postponed and were we free, we jumped at the opportunity. It is their favourite restaurant in Cape Town, probably because there is a good selection of vegetarian options on this large menu, which changes regularly
It was all about the views. Oh and some restaurants. And of course wine. We took our Dutch friends to Franschhoek this week, at their request and showed them some beautiful wine farms, good restaurants and amazing views on the trip. And we tasted a few wines and had lunch. They are looking for a special restaurant to celebrate a birthday next month.
The newly released 2017 Curators Collection Chenin Blanc which blew our minds. Wow. This complex wine plays a tune on your palate - we foresee lots of awards for this vintage. It is an absolutely delicious rendition of what we would like Chenin to be. Wood shows on the end but Pianissimo. It has flavours of lemon, lime, golden peaches, loquats and litchi.
The heat is getting to us so we can only think of cool things. Which made us think about a sorbet. They are not difficult to make if you have a freezer or an ice cream machine, but they must be made with strong flavours as the ice can make them bland. This is John's daughter Clare's favourite sorbet. Limes are coming into season, so you should be able to find them. Great if you are dairy challenged. Limes are sometimes difficult to juice, make sure you buy enough and that they are not stone hard

1 cup of water - 1 cup of sugar - 1 cup of lime juice - 1 teaspoon of finely grated zest of lime
Heat the sugar in the water till the sugar melts, then add the lime juice. Simmer gently for three minutes. Cool completely and then add the zest. Put into your ice cream machine and churn till set. Freeze, covered, till ready to use.
If you don't have a machine, pour the mixture into a shallow metal baking tin and cover. Put in your freezer until completely frozen, about 2 hours. Then break the frozen mixture into pieces and place in a blender; blend until smooth. Place in a container and store, covered, in the freezer until ready to serve

22nd February 2018

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
PS If a word or name is in bold type and underlined, click on it for more information
Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005
Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in these newsletters and our blogs are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise. This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please click here to send us a message and if you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please click here to send us a me

What is on the MENU this week. Lime Sorbet

Image © Sam Tan's Kitchen

The heat is getting to us so we can only think of cool things. Which made us think about a sorbet. They are not difficult to make if you have a freezer or an ice cream machine, but they must be made with strong flavours as the ice can make them bland. This is John's daughter Clare's favourite sorbet. Limes are coming into season, so you should be able to find them. Great if you are dairy challenged. Limes are sometimes difficult to juice, make sure you buy enough and that they are not stone hard
1 cup of water - 1 cup of sugar - 1 cup of lime juice - 1 teaspoon of finely grated zest of lime
Heat the sugar in the water till the sugar melts, then add the lime juice. Simmer gently for three minutes. Cool completely and then add the zest. Put into your ice cream machine and churn till set. Freeze, covered, till ready to use

If you don't have a machine, pour the mixture into a shallow metal baking tin and cover. Put in your freezer until completely frozen, about 2 hours. Then break the frozen mixture into pieces and place in a blender; blend until smooth. Place in a container and store, covered, in the freezer until ready to serve

MENU's Wine of the Week. Glen Carlou Creator's Collection Chenin blanc 2017

The newly released 2017 Curators Collection Chenin Blanc which blew our minds. Wow. This complex wine plays a tune on your palate - we foresee lots of awards for this vintage


It is an absolutely delicious rendition of what we would like Chenin to be. Wood shows on the end but Pianissimo. It has flavours of lemon, lime, golden peaches, loquats and litchi

A visit to Franschhoek with lunch at Mont Rochelle

It was all about the views. Oh and some restaurants. And of course wine. We took our Dutch friends to Franschhoek this week, at their request and showed them some beautiful wine farms, good restaurants and amazing views on the trip. And we tasted a few wines and had lunch. They are looking for a special restaurant to celebrate a birthday next month.
We began at Glenelly as our friends had seen our post about it last week and were keen to see this beautiful farm in Ida's Valley. It lies at the bottom of the Helshoogte Pass in front of the Simonsberg. They were very impressed
Then it was up to the top of the pass to Delaire Graff, where they admired a different view of the same mountain and the vineyards in front. We bumped into the winemaker Morné Vrey who is in the middle of his harvest, saw the amazing jewels, the art and sculptures and looked at their menu
Franschhoek was shimmering in the heat and we made our way to Mont Rochelle which also has lovely views across that valley
We headed for the Country Kitchen in the old house next to the winery, as it was time for lunch. They do have a fine dining restaurant Miko, at the hotel
You can have picnics in the vines there (they must be booked beforehand) and we did see some folk heading that way with the large picnic basket. Others were braving the heat and eating on the terrace
We headed inside for the coolth of the old building, and the good blasts of air from the roof fans
This is the tasting room area
Bread and butter was brought to the table
The menu has something for everyone, but is not very exciting. We were a little surprised at the prices, as it was much more reasonable the last time we visited, but it seems they have upped their game. Good to see them supporting SASSI - using only sustainable fish
Three of us decided to go for the Beef hamburger (it can come with a chicken breast instead) and it was a very, very good choice; it is a hamburger like no other, royalty in the genre. Not something Lynne has often but this was probably the best burger she has had for years. They cost R170
The Angus beef is roughly minced, has great flavour and is not filled out with anything. We all asked for them to be cooked medium and they were rather rarer than that in the middle but it was fine, the beef was so good, it was like eating a good beef tartare. You can of course ask for well done. The sesame bun comes drenched in creamy mayonnaise, cheese, a large slice of tomato, slices of pickled cucumber, rocket and marvellous crisp and crunchy fried onions. And as an extra a small pot of sliced mushrooms cooked in a creamy sauce that tasted as if it had brandy in it. The icing on a great cake, if you love mushrooms. Lynne got John's! Most of the buns were set aside as we tackled this moist flame grilled burger with gusto. However the chips were very disappointing as they came 'slap' not crisp, something many South Africans enjoy, but we detest half cooked limp oily chips. We had asked for crisp chips and when we mentioned this to the manageress she quickly brought us a large bowl of good crisp chips to share. Thank you!
Yvonne ordered the fish cakes which she said are full of fish, not padded out with potato. They were served on a radish and celery salsa, wild rocket, a tartare sauce, caper berries and pickled cucumber. R165. A substantial dish for a small eater, she took a doggie bag of two home with her
We didn't order a bottle of wine, instead we did the wine tasting. with lunch. The very well trained sommelier Natania served us and gave us all the information we needed about the wines. Her knowledge impressed us and she told us that she has passed WSET 2 and the Cape Wine Academy exams. We opted for two of the 5 wine flights at R75 per flight and we shared. 5 Wine Flight – R75 per person
Mont Rochelle Little Rock Blanc 2015. A wine we all liked while it was chilled. A blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Viognier. They all show up individually and then get together. So the nose is most dusty full Semillon, Guavas from hot country Sauvignon Blanc, then the Chardonnay arrives crisp and clean with limes, and the Viognier brings the peach and melon. A slight bitterness on the end from perhaps one component that has a lot of wood
Mont Rochelle Sauvignon Blanc 2017. This lovely Sauvignon needs less chill for the characteristic green leaves, peppers and figs to reveal themselves. As it opens up on the palate, apples and English gooseberries show well. A food wine
Mont Rochelle Chardonnay 2016 has toasted brioche on the nose, and lot of wood on the palate. Limes, lemons and apricots from 4% viognier which is added.
Mont Rochelle Little Rock Rouge 2014 a Bordeaux blend, is almandine garnet purple, has a lovely nose, red berries and unexpected complexity. Juicy with warm alcohol, with sweet cherries and berries
Mont Rochelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Classic cassis driven Cabernet on the nose. Some wood hints on both nose and palate. Some green tannins and cassis leaves
Mont Rochelle Syrah 2014 Pepper and spice on the nose full of red and black fruit, warm alcohol and dark coffee chocolate wood

On the terrace
The girls needed to do some quick shopping in town so the lads dropped them and went off to Le Lude to taste some of their renowned bubbly. Very French Empire in influence, this is the tasting room
The glass floor gives one a sight of the bottles in the pupitres, slowly being riddled to get the lees to the neck of the bottles
Impressive chandeliers ...
.... and impressive Bubbly
Time being a little constrained (we'd been given half an hour) we elected the most simple tasting, the Brut NV and Brut Rosé, priced at R90. Le Lude's wines are different in that the second fermentation happens under cork, rather than the more common crown steel cap. The Brut is still a little young, but has light yeasty flavour over gentle citrus and a a refined bubble. The Rosé is more of a cocktail party wine, ripe strawberry flavour giving an impression of sweetness while it is still bone dry and a good, energetic bubble
Our final farm was on the way home. Glen Carlou also has a great view over the vineyards looking towards the Paarl mountains. We were ably served by Zayne Smith, another WSET graduate. He has attained Level 3. It is very encouraging to see how many people showing the wines on wine estates are being given this training
It was very hot in the afternoon so we sat on the shaded balcony and tasted five wines. We began with the Unwooded Chardonnay made in a ceramic egg. It has the reductive characteristic that one would expect from wine made this way
Then the newly released 2017 Curators Collection Chenin Blanc which blew our minds. Wow. This complex wine plays a tune on your palate - we foresee lots of awards for this vintage. It is an absolutely delicious rendition of what we would like Chenin to be. Wood shows on the end but Pianissimo. It has flavours of lemon, lime, golden peaches, loquats and litchi. It is our wine of the week and yes we did buy some
The Quartz Stone 2016 Chardonnay has a nose full of red apples, caramel and cloves, soft and creamy, then the fruit appears. Elegant and clean, a good food wine
The 2015 Pinot Noir with roses, violets and cherries on the nose. Soft fruit with some fresh fruit acids, lightly wooded with some chalky tannins. Needs more time, this could be a 10 year Pinot, built to last
2015 Shiraz has incense wood, cherries and spice on the nose. It delighted our Shiraz fans, Cherryade on the palate with good fruit acids, warmth and some chalky tannins, with licorice wood on the end
These friendly Barn Swallows were perched on a wire above us
We saw them in Germany last May and are amazed at such a small bird's ability to fly between continents 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A Clifton Picnic and Moonstruck

We are avid listeners to Cape Talk Radio; it accompanies most of our working days at home. We have our Dutch friends here for a couple of months and Yvonne grew up in Clifton so when we heard about Moonstruck, a free concert organised by Cape Talk on Fourth Beach last Saturday night, we made plans to go. But, as both men hate sand between their toes, we decided to have it on the rocks overlooking the beach. The weather could not have been more perfect. Shaded by our hats we could enjoy the late afternoon together
We were a little shocked at how many kids and young people climbed over the rocks and casually used the private swimming pool of this house which has no fencing
Crowds beginning to gather on the beach for the start of the concert at 6
This small wagtail and its mate seem to have made this rock their home. There is certainly a lot of crumbs dropped there from picnics
The concert was in aid of the National Sea Rescue Association (NSRI), our Lifeboat Association, a very popular charity. And they gave us a small 'drive past" at the beginning of the concert. And kept watch on the swimmers in the bay
Some very impressive boats arrived
Lion’s Head and Clifton with the small flotilla enjoying the concert
Swimming from the shore to the boats were some very good swimmers. Well they made it this time
A party going on
A golden girl on a golden sea. Quite a new sport here is Stand Up Paddle boarding aka SUP, and while the sea is calm and the wind not blowing, it is very popular
The concert stage and the crowd. No alcohol was allowed on the beach, just water and cool drinks, and we saw it being stringently policed. You could also taste food from Simply Asia
The sun beginning to set on a perfect day. And, in the sky above the Twelve Apostles, just a glimmer of a silvery shimmer of the waning crescent moon
The concert finished at 8 just as the sun set.  People continued to picnic on the rocks. We headed home then as we knew the traffic was going to be difficult

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Supper at The Black Sheep

To say we have been trying to get to this restaurant for a long time would not be an exaggeration. We know the Chef Owner Jonathan Japha from his days at Fork Tapas restaurant in Long Street. It says on their website that he has a love for UK gastropubs "that inspire his love for honest, uncomplicated good food made with the best local ingredients". But time and tide had washed us to other shores. So when friends phoned to say they had a reservation but family had postponed and were we free, we jumped at the opportunity. It is their favourite restaurant in Cape Town, probably because there is a good selection of vegetarian options on this large menu, which changes regularly
It’s right at the top of Kloof Road, on two levels and busy, which is why you need a reservation. We saw several people try to get a table, who either had to wait or were turned away. And they do two sittings: we had been booked for 6.30 and had to be out by 8.30. Not our favourite way of dining, it is not relaxing, but seeing how popular it is, understandable. This is the bar area which does get crowded as the evening draws on
The menu is chalked up on the board, the wine and beer list comes on a clip board
If you wish to BYO, you may only take one bottle of wine with you and share with four. Corkage is R70. We think this is fairly reasonable if you have an expensive bottle of wine you need to try; there is a good choice on the extensive wine list. Anima Chenin Blanc, given to us from Avondale to sample, certainly went well with all our choices; it is a versatile wine
The Amuse Bouche we were served (they called it that) was this delicious whole meal bread served warm and made with herbs, cheese and yogurt. It disappeared in a heartbeat
The Starter menu of the day
The Main course menu. You can check it out on their website before you go, but do expect changes as popular dishes may run out
You can just see Devil’s Peak and the table cloth forming on Table Mountain through the large open  window, which was closed as the evening cooled
Lynne's starter of Jellied Pork Terrine with pickles, mustard and toast. Sadly, it was a disappointment. She adores a good terrine, especially if the meat and liver are layered with a good stock jelly. This was a brawn, aka known as head cheese. Not a favourite dish, layers of pork skin and fat and a few herbs and very little jelly. Nothing wrong with the dish if you happen to like Brawn. Sadly many of us grew up hating this dish, as it often contained whiskers and gristle. This did not; but it does not resemble the terrines she loves. No mustard was served
John chose the Roast Sardines, served with tender stem broccoli, hard boiled egg and chilli. The sardines had been filleted and came with a chilli and tomato sauce
Our friends love the desserts here so they skipped starters and went straight to the main course. This was the Lentil Coconut curry, with butternut and sweet potatoes, and wilted spinach. It was topped with grilled halloumi cheese and enjoyed. The main course dishes are large and the food is substantial
The other vegetarian main was the Roast Aubergine and basil tomato ragout stack on spinach and steamed courgettes, with goat’s cheese and balsamic caramel. It was a very popular dish that night; we saw many servings in the restaurant. A table neighbour asked what it was, ordered it and said they too loved it
Lynne chose the South Indian Yellowtail curry, which came on a bed of grilled aubergine, with a poppadum, rice and sambals. Very substantial, more a mild Cape curry in style, very filling, even with the rice donated to the other curry! The large portion of fish, served in chunks, was fresh and perfectly cooked
John chose the Roast Rabbit Loin which was wrapped in bacon - we have seen a similar dish on Masterchef lately. Lynne suggested that he have it, he likes rabbit, as you so seldom see rabbit on Cape menus. There is always a risk that this dish may be dry, but it was perfectly moist with the bacon crisp, a skilled dish indeed. It was also nice and hot in its peppercorn sauce. It came with deep fried and beautifully crisp potato rosti, peas, broccoli and fresh spinach, something you also don't see much and which we love. Not chard, real spinach. They do serve good vegetables, properly cooked
Dessert time for our friends. A chocolate Brownie topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream and smothered in a thick chocolate sauce. Ronnie had a large smile on his face after this
And for Lolly, a Pavlova of broken meringue, strawberry, rhubarb and cream, with a nicely tart rhubarb sauce. She loved it
The bill. We did ask for water and didn't ask the price. It comes in glass bottles with the restaurant’s own label at R32. It was a warm night and we were thirsty. Dinner came to approximately R300 per person for two courses, including gratuity