South Africa, Stellenbosch; TERROIR continues to shine on Kleine Zalze, a family owned wine farm in Stellenbosch. Since opening in 2004, this low-key winelands restaurant – considered modest, in comparison to many of its more glamorous peers – has been honoured nine times with a Top 10 award in the annual Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. This is a significant achievement, considering Cape Town’s global reputation for high-quality, cutting edge food, and attests to chef Michael Broughton and his team’s consistency and attention to detail.

Every season, when it’s time to reinvent the menu,’ explains Broughton, ‘I always wonder what we can do better – what can be improved upon. Some of our dishes have developed into menu classics over the years, but each year I like to rework them to complement the rest of the menu.  When I’m in the process of creating new dishes with my team – a process which may take several hours or entire days of tweaking, pairing, tasting, plating and consulting – I often wonder how we can improve on what we’ve done before. Then, when each dish starts coming together – flavours, textures and colours, all in balance – there’s that wonderful realisation that everything can be improved upon or taken to the next level. Being stretched and challenged by the creative process is what excites me the most about being in the kitchen every day. Even our prawn risotto with sauce Americaine, which is a long-standing favourite on the menu, constantly need to evolve without losing its essential character.’

Broughton has been at Terroir’s helm from the very beginning. In 2014, to mark the restaurant’s tenth year, he wrote Terroir – the Cookbook, in which he painstakingly documented every element that makes up each highly disciplined recipe. Over the years, these recipes have developed into a trademark style underpinned by excellent sauces.

I’m proud that everything that comes out of our kitchen is made right here. We bake two types of bread daily, using our sourdough starter called Sandy, the olives are marinated and smoked here, and we make everything from filled pastas to the most irresistible, sweet-salty bacon by hand,’ says Broughton, who is quick to praise his highly committed, disciplined and talented kitchen brigade.

Terroir’s seasonally influenced blackboard menu is characterized by dishes that often sound deceptively simple, like seared tuna Nicoise or roast beef fillet with smoked potato, peas and truffle jus, but from the very first mouthful you get layers of intense, yet balanced flavours. Some of the other new winter starters include asmoked tomato tart with goat’s cheese, peas and tomato jam, and braised lamb tortellini with carrots, dates and almonds. New main courses include fresh line fish with baby vegetables, potato gnocchi and Ciboulette sauce, confit pork belly with butternut, mushroom and barley, hand-rolled linguine with porcini, shimeji, asparagus and parsley, and venison with braised cabbage, ginger, bacon, Poivrade sauce and spätzle. On the dessert board, apple mille feuille with miso caramel andelderflower is both delicate and punchy.

Between now and 30 September 2016, Terroir is also offering its popular Winter Plates special for a very reasonable R195 a person. The price includes a generous main course, or ‘winter plate’, as well as the daily amuse bouche, Terroir’s trademark artisanal bread board, and a glass of Vineyard Selection Kleine Zalze wine of your choice.

Terroir is open Mondays to Saturdays for lunch and dinner, and on Sundays for lunch only. Reservations are highly recommended. To book, please call 021 880-8167 or email restaurant@kleinezalze.co.za Please note that Terroir will be closed for their annual winter break from 27 June and re-opening on 21 July

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