Haute Cabriere is located off the R45 five minutes’ drive from Franschhoek.
So we left early on Saturday morning. We had booked to stay at our favorite pied-à-terre in Franschhoek, Gingerbed Cottage and have used and recommended this lovely getaway often. It is a neat and tidy with a comfortable bed and is hidden away under this big old tree. So perfect for a stopover.
We arrived at Haute Cabriere restaurant at 12:30pm and were warmly welcomed and shown to our corner table.
Thobeka, the friendly and charming manager, came over to introduce herself and she introduced us to our waitress for the day, the very well informed Monise. Both Thobeka and Monise were very friendly and really knowledgeable about all things Haute Cabriere. Monise later informed us that Haute Cabriere has an extensive training policy to acquaint staff with all the working parts of the cellar, the kitchen and the wine estate. This obviously pays off, not only giving the staff confidence in their product but also enhancing the experience of visitors.
Thobeka offered us some Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose MCC (Mèthode Cap Classique) a favourite of Tony’s. Paul, not a fan of ‘bubbles’, opted for the elegant wooded Pinot Noir 2013 Reserve.
Monise presented us with a basket of freshly baked ciabatta and white raisin bread accompanied by butter with parsley and crème fraiche with dried fennel. Both superb. Paul particularly enjoyed the white raisin bread paired with the crème fraiche with dried fennel. Very reminiscent of mosbolletjies which were initially introduced to South Africa by the French Huguenots.
We were introduced to the senior chef on duty, Claire Blinkhorn-Street. A very talented chef who found her way from Ballito, North of Durban to Cape Town. Definitely their loss and our gain.
Paul ordered as a starter the Truffled Cauliflower Soup with mushroom confit and thyme oil. Tony opted for the Grilled Dalewood Camembert bathed in a Chardonnay/Pinot Noir with garlic and thyme and served with ciabatta batons. The soup was beautiful. It was smooth, light and creamy without being too rich. Tony couldn’t have been happier with his Camembert and loved the way the warm cheese ‘popped’ when he pierced it with his knife allowing it to ooze ‘sensually’ into the hot wine, garlic and herb mix crying out for the crispy ciabatta batons to be dunked.
The second course was the Chef’s Salad; roast seasonal vegetable (locally grown in Paarl) topped with a teaspoon of humus and dressed with a basil vinaigrette. We both remarked on the quality of vegetables and loved the delicious flavor. Claire later told us that they make their own seasoning of Rosemary, Sage and Garlic with Oxy Salt. Definitely something we will try at home.
For our third course we indulged in the delicious Exotic Mushroom Risotto with crème fraiche. We both love risotto. Tony regularly cooks delicious risotto at home and we like to try out the risottos in restaurants to determine whether they are as good as his. In this instance, the answer was yes. The risotto was cooked to perfection. The texture was perfect and the dish tasted amazing. It was topped with a spoon of truffled crème fraiche and greens. No parmesan cheese was needed.
Next on offer was rich and delicious Vegetable Bourguignon, pearled barley and tapenade. Tony ordered ostrich steak with his, having long been an ‘ostrich man’ since he first tasted it while resident in the south of Spain. For Tony, the taste, texture and very delicate seasoning of herbs, salt and pepper combined with a ratafia reduction, made this the finest ostrich steak he has ever tasted. High praise indeed.
We rather cheekily suggested to Claire that she prepare us a small ‘taster’ plate of the desserts from the menu. They were superb, intriguing and tasty. Imagine on one plate, if you will, vanilla pannacotta, blue cheese and fig ice cream with mini pecan tart and berry sorbet.
The superb New Winter Menu caters for everyone’s palate with delicious dishes. We gladly give it a big thumbs up and five stars.
There are three menus to choose from:
- The A La Carte Menu
Cost of starters ranges from R70 for the Soup du Jour to R95 for the Squid Salad
Cost of main courses ranges from R115 for the Exotic mushroom risotto to R220 for Duo of Lamb.
Half portions are available on all main courses.
The A La Carte Menu also includes a children’s menu at very reasonable prices.
- The Marriage of Food and Wine and
- Vegan Marriage of Food and Wine
These two menus are priced the same and offer a 3 course option for R395 and includes a glass of recommended wine with each course or a 6 course option for R515 also with a glass of recommended wine with each course.
Book your table today: (021) 876 8500
Visit http://www.cabriere.co.za/ to learn more about the estate.
By Tony and Paul – food lovers not food critics