On our recent visit to the Cape a few weeks ago, hubby and I were joined by my brother, Ian and niece, Daniella for the most memorable evening of food and wine pairing at the Rust en Vrede Restaurant in Stellenbosch. We’ve done wine tastings there before but this was special !! It should be on everyone’s bucket list !!!
Rust en Vrede Estate dates back to 1694. The restaurant, which is in the original cellar, is in the Top 10 in South Africa and has been voted 61st at the Annual San Pellegrino Restaurant Awards.
Eat Out Magazine, for 2011, has voted it the Best Restaurant …. Best Chef (David Higgs) … and Best Service! And .. in our opinion … it was!! The service was amazing!! The Somelier was brilliant!! He described each wine, what flavours we should be tasting and why they were chosen for each dish. Our waitress, brilliant too, described each dish down to the tiniest morsel – each with it’s own flavours, but, combined with each wine, it was magical !!! Mmmm mmm mmm !
Daniella, who is one of the managers for a restaurant ‘down the road’ was eager to tell us about the crockery, chairs and wine glasses!! Chairs were specially made for comfort whilst enjoying the experience – and they were!! Crockery is handmade by David Walters in Franschhoek, Laguiole knives .. cute little butter knife!! … and handcrafted Riedel stemware. This is the unique side plate with not the cute-little-butter-knife!
We had the 6 course menu with wine pairing! I cannot describe how amazing the whole experience was!! We sat for four and half hours sipping our wines and savouring every flavour from the different courses.
Let me describe the experience …. but unfortunately my photos don’t do justice to the beautifully prepared and presented food. Dim light and simple camera does not make nice photo!!
We were warmly greeted at the door and offered French Champagne either on the terrace or at our table. Too chilly outside, so, at our table it was. Settling into our comfy chairs and sipping our French Champagne …. …. ready to begin …
A small appetizer to begin with … “just to get the taste buds salivating” …
A scallop topped with apple and served with rubharb covered with an oxtail ‘jou’ (I think it was oxtail and I can’t spell ‘jou’ !!! 🙂 ) Odd combination but oh my .. it certainly did get our taste buds ready for more .. and more !!!
First Course – Sliced Crayfish, Granadilla, Pancetta Wafers, Coriander and Crayfish Oil ~~~~ served with a super French white wine (as in photo below!!!) (I never thought I would like that frothy stuff, but it was delicious!! )
Second Course – Poached Kingklip and Grapefruit Sala, “Crisp” Yolk and Kipper with Asparagus and Horseradish ~~~~ served with Mullineux White Blend 2010
This was incredible! Out of all the dishes this was our favourite!! How the yolk stayed soft inside the crumbed ball is astounding!!
Third Course – “Duck and Orange” with Carrot Madeleine and a Foie Gras and Chestnut Mousse ~~~~~ served with Newton Johnson Pinot Noir 2009
I must add here … the serviettes come with a button hole! Clever !!! No slipping and sliding onto the floor !!
Fourth Course – Pan Fried Loin of Springbok, Braised Oxtail, Jerusalem Artichoke, Walnut Cream, Roasted Pear and a Cocoa Nib and Coffee Crust ~~~~~ served with Rust en Vrede Shiraz 2008. The flavours here were incredible – Springbok cooked to perfection … moist and delicious and all the other goodies with it were amazing !!
Both Daniella and I forgot to take a photo of this course but there it is … on her plate, while she sips the Shiraz out of that huge glass!!! Every dish came with a different shaped glass to compliment each wine! This one is like a vase!!
Fifth Course – The Tulbagh Witzenberger, “Spare Ribs” and Apple Sauce Salad ~~~~ served with Bartinney Chardonnay 2009 The Somelier explained that because the Witzenberger is an extremely strong cheese, it needed the Chardonnay to compliment it – and so it did !! Mmm mmm mmm !! “Spare ribs” – no bone just little bit of the meat
Another little “I must add here” … there was a couple sitting at the table next to ours that spent the entire evening holding hands – in between eating of course! – but they didn’t seem all that happy .. not a smile on her face .. I couldn’t see his … and then she paid the bill!!
Then we had a ‘taste bud cleanser’ which wasn’t on the menu … a Raspberry Mousse topped with Panna cotta, a dollop of Mascarpone spinkled with ‘whatever’ (can’t remember what the waitress said (!), and the red ‘splash’ was, what I thought she said, safron, but looking at the photo I could be wrong 🙂 My excuse .. it was getting late by this time !!!! 🙂 But I do remember the soft flavoursome textures!
Sixth Course – Caramelia Chocolate Marquise with Peanut Butter, Banana and Lime, Beer and Cumin Froth ~~~~ served with De Wetshof Estate Edeloos 2005. I don’t usually like dessert wines, but this one went so very well with this dish .. which I must say it was to die for!! Froth and all !!!
A magical, memorable, wonderful evening came to an end!! An experience well worth every cent !
So sad that my sister in law wasn’t well enough to join us 😦 Next time .. when you are 100% again, Kathy, we must do it again 🙂 !!! We need to try the Four Course Menu 🙂