Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek

Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
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Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek
Feasting at Reuben's Restaurant and Bar in Franschhoek

I recently visited one of Franschhoek’s newly launched gems that boasts clean lines, chic interior, and food that offers a familiar yet elevated flavour journey that only Reuben Riffel can take you on – meet Reuben’s restaurant and bar, Franschhoek. 

Situated in the heart of the town, this gorgeous space is roughly 40 minutes drive from Cape Town CBD and well worth the trip. Passing gorgeous wine estates and cherry blossoms (at least this time of year) along the way, an added bonus.

The space is ethereal with bright natural light filling the restaurant from the simple bold black center barred windows. The entrance is grand yet understated with a gorgeous marble floor that bounces the light and creates a feeling of space and simplicity. Perfectly chosen artwork gives the space a finishing touch. 
I fell in love with the interiors instantly. 
The restaurant accommodates for long summer lunches outside on the patio or you can make your way inside on a colder day.  There are impeccable design choices at every turn and I must say, even the restrooms impressed me with their unique black basin and gorgeous floral wallpaper. 

The food was described by Reuben as simply “Food I like to eat” with fresh local produce taking front row and center. Each course was a taste explosion and every mouthful was perfect. I couldn’t help but fall in love with every plate, not only for the food but also for the artistry that encompassed every presentation. Simplicity is key and Reuben has taken classical flavours and reimagined them. I enjoyed a glass of crisp Chenin and ended the afternoon off with decadent chocolate fondant and the perfect coffee. 

If you are undecided about the local wines on offer, try the tea and brandy cocktail to start. It will put you in the perfect frame of mind when it comes time to order your pairing partner in crime.

Reuben’s latest offering in Franschhoek, I believe, is not only a result of the natural evolution of his footprint in the valley but an inspired, considered rebirth. 

-Melissa

Beetroot tart tatin

Beetroot tart tatin
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Beetroot tart tatin
Beetroot tart tatin
Beetroot tart tatin

I first stumbled upon beetroot tart Tatin at the amazing The Table restaurant. This fantastic spot, found on De Meye wine farm is one of my favourite places to eat in Cape Town. The entire concept is organic farm to table and although you’ve heard it all before, this time it truly is... The beautiful garden is just two years old and filled with amazing vegetables, fruits and berries. They use as much fresh produce from the garden as possible. 
The restaurant quips that the garden is out of their control and they wouldn't have it any other way. 

Sometimes things grow successfully and sometimes...well... not so much. 
I know this to be true because I have undertaken a small garden on my balcony here at home and I must commend them for their successes because they don't always happen. 
In fact; I find it more of a miracle when magic does eventually happen on my small balcony.
Having the sweet satisfaction of eating something home grown is simply the best! 
It’s organic, healthy and a true labour of love. Now, who wouldn't want to put that energy into your body? 

Each week they select their vegetables from the garden and source the rest from local farmers and then formulate the menu for the weekend. 
The food is mouth watering and I have never tasted a beetroot tart Tatin like I did that day. 
All the dishes have an element of farm comfort to them and are served on unique antique style platters. 

You can sit under the trees and feast family style, which might I add is my favourite. 
More is more and of course, De Meye wine is the perfect complement to the feast at hand! 

Bookings are essential! Click here to book. 


Ingredients: 

8 medium sized beetroots, (I mixed it up and got candied beets.) Cooked and peeled. 
1 large red onion
4 sprigs of lemon thyme (you can use normal thyme)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
sour cream to serve
salt and pepper

For the shortcrust pastry:

200g plain flour
125g chilled butter sliced into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 tablespoons cold water 

OR you can use Puff Pastry store bought, same as The Table (Which I must confess is perfection.) Don't forget you will need an egg to egg wash the pastry! 


Instructions:

In a large bowl mix the flour, salt, butter. Using your hands rub the flour and butter between your fingers until the dough is crumbly. Make a well in the center and add the egg and water. Mix well until the dough forms a soft ball. If the dough is too sticky then you can add flour if needed. Wrap the ball in cling wrap and put it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Remove the skin from the beetroots and slice them into 1cm thick discs. 
In a large frying pan over a medium to high heat add the beets, red onion, butter, and sugar. Fry for 12 minutes until it starts to caramelize. Add the balsamic and thyme and fry for a further 2 minutes until the sauce becomes glossy and beautiful! Don't forget to season the beets! 

Now to assemble your tart! 

Grease a round cake tin. A 20cm size will do. 
Layer the beetroots in the cake tin so the surface of the tin is entirely covered. You can layer them like fish scales. Make sure you do this nicely as it will be the top of your tart when inverted. Add the red onions and sauce. 

Using a rolling pin roll out your dough until you have a disk big enough to cover the beets and tuck it in on the side, then prick it with a fork.
If you are using puff pastry, do the same and brush the pastry with a whisked egg. The tart will be inverted so make sure you tuck it in nicely! 

Bake for 30 minutes in a preheated oven or until golden brown. Leave to cool for ten minutes before turning it out gently. Serve on a beautiful dish with a healthy dollop of sour cream! 

-Melissa
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terra Madre Elgin

Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin
Terra Madre Elgin

Tucked away in Elgin, just after Peregrine off the N2 is a little known spot called Terra Madre. 
Run by the tenacious Nicole Precoudis and her parents Chris & Koula, this slice of heaven really is all about the farm to table experience and the quality of produce speaks for itself.  

I first heard about Terra Madre through a friend. She guessed that it would be right up my alley, and she was right. 
As you arrive, you are overwhelmed with the tremendous spectacle a beautifully run farm can be.
Greeted by rows of olive trees, apple orchards and veggie gardens; I was excited to find out more about this 18,5 hectare property.

The concept of the eatery is good honest food, grown organically and prepared with oodles of love. 
Nicole shared her journey with me; from the fast-paced lifestyle of owning and running 2 restaurants in Johannesburg to the epiphany that saw her acknowledge that she needed (and wanted) to slow down and make changes in her life. 
Nicole made the move to (a then) very rural Elgin over 10 years ago, purchased the farm and has been developing it ever since.
Opening Terra Madre was a natural, organic manifestation of her innate creativity which is more than apparent in the food that she serves.
The space is open and bright with limited seating so booking is essential and highly recommended. 

Nicole set out to create a space that is warm and welcoming.
Her Greek heritage certainly shines through in the sublime simplicity of the venue and the inclusive attitude of our hosts, who were insistent that we make ourselves at home. 
My entire family ended up coming along on this excursion and I’m happy that they did! 
In a superb display of unplanned storyline congruency, we filled the venue with our own inadvertent spirit of “familia” in true Mediterranean style. 
Now what can I say about the food?...  The platters just kept coming! Perfectly tender roasted fennel bulbs, earthy beetroot salads and tender sweet roasted butternut topped with walnuts and cranberries almost caused a riot with the vegetarians in my “hunting” party.
Of course, it goes without saying that the meat dishes were cooked to perfection and were hastily devoured by the more devout members of the carnivorous variety.
I quickly realized that although it was simple food prepared perfectly, paying homage to the ingredients, it was nothing short of a ‘feast fit for a king’.

The food was simply spectacular and the passion that drives Terra Madre behind the scenes; from the pasture to the plate translates into something explosive on the palate.  

Sitting and feasting with family is one of life’s simple pleasures. To be able to share an amazing place like Terra Madre with them was truly wonderful and I can honestly say that it was the perfect location for a family get together. 
We ended our day with a stroll on the property and sipped on ciders at the farm’s quarry at sunset.
The stillness of Elgin is infectious.
Who knows, maybe one day I will become a country bumpkin and move away from the city only to serve mouth watering food that guests will travel far and wide to appreciate. 

Until then, one thing is certain… I know where to make my escape when the mind calls for slow living.

A huge thank you to my brother Hendré for this beautiful video that did justice to this wonderful location! Hit play to see more! 

-Melissa

*This blog post was sponsored by Terra Madre, all opinions are my own. 

The Shortmarket Club - Appetizer

short market club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club
shortmarket club

There is a new kid on the block and it’s called The Shortmarket Club but trust me, there is nothing rookie about this spot

Owned by Chef Wesley Randles, his mentor and legendary Chef Luke Dale Roberts (Test Kitchen and Pot Luck Club,) Simon Widdison (and a few others) The Short Market Club is the hottest new spot in Cape Town and it is not even open yet! 

This exciting new restaurant will be open from the 27th of June and I was lucky enough to get a “behind the scenes” look (tasters included.)

Marked by a beautiful manhole with an owl, fox, hog and butterfly you know you have found what you are looking for when walking down Shortmarket Street.

The Décor is exquisite and the first thing that makes an impression as you walk up the stairs from a humble entrance into the Grand parlour. You get the feeling that this is going to be an exclusive club that not everyone can get an invite to. You are surrounded with woodwork panels created by artist Pete Eastman and stained glass doors that will leave you breathless. The main bar area sports black and white mosaic tiles with small tables - The perfect spot for a pre dinner drink.

As you enter the main dining area it is nothing short of glorious. With high ceilings and classy leather booths I couldn’t help but notice the attention to detail right down to the copper light fittings. I got the feeling of a grand 1920’s speakeasy and felt as if I was stuck in some by gone era during prohibition. Baz Luhrmann eat your heart out.

The main wall of the dining room is the next thing to impress you - It is a beautiful wall of what initially seems to be the main butterfly collection from the museum of natural history. However, on closer inspection you realize that it is an extensive artwork created by artist Mark Rautenbach made up of all the notes, photographs and memories of The Test Kitchen and Pot Luck club burnt into butterfly wings. Wes shared with me that Sandalene, Luke’s wife, had been creative voice behind the magnificent décor along with input from Wes and the Luke Dale Roberts team.  

The menu is going to be one that will pay homage to Wes’s path so far as a chef. A “modern interpretation of the classics” if you will. 

Having followed Luke as far back as La Colombe, Test Kitchen, Pot luck club and Naturalis - the menu is sure to blow your taste buds. With everything from Tomahawk steaks to lobster this menu is something I cannot wait to experience! 

Whether it’s a girls night out filled with cocktails and indulgent food or the setting for an industrious breakfast meeting, The Shortmarket club is ready to serve its eager customers. They will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and from what I can gather (and have tasted) it is going to be an experience to savour. 

A big thank you to Head Chef Wesley Randles for his time and for allowing me a sneak peek of what is sure to become not only one of the Mother Cities Gem’s, but undoubtedly an additional peacock feather in our proud countries culinary cap.

-Melissa

Source: www.thetrufflejournal.com/the-short-market-club

The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort

The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort
The Conservatory Cellars Hohenort

I once read a saying, “You don’t have to have a silver spoon in your mouth to enjoy good food”

The last few weeks I have made a commitment to myself. It’s a commitment to start eating at the wonderful places Cape Town has to offer. I am on a food journey and that also means I cannot become a creature of habit, which for me is very easy to do.  I like value for the money I spend, so I tend to eat at the same spots all the time. I also realise that this is a silly habit. Why? Simply because all the odd coffees and random meals quickly add up to being able to eat at some of the best places Cape Town has to offer!

So this is my new adventure, to get out there and try something new.

My first stop was The Conservatory at Cellars Hohenort.

This restaurant is really something special. As you walk into the dining room there is a tree that is over 100 years old in the center of the room in cased by glass walls. You can look in on this majestic giant and the energy it offers the room is peaceful and calming. I really enjoyed sipping on my wine while watching the squirrels dart around on the tree. It feels like Cellars Hohenort has really respected nature and in fact, embraced it. The service is sharp and the dining experience 5 class.

I often get asked about the price of the experience and I must say they are brilliant for the amazing food that gets served up by the phenomenal Peter Tempelhoff and his team! I moved my way through the whole menu and there was not a moment of disappointment! The cheese soufflé (R95) is a must along with the confit duck (R195), which was all washed down with a crisp Chenin Blanc (my favourite.) The desserts were well thought out and the flavours spot on and it all was so well translated in the presentation. I had the banoffie marquis R70 which was not only beautiful to look at but also to eat!

After lunch I took a long slow walk through the gardens. It felt like I was walking with giants and I could not help but wonder the stories they could tell. To see the gardens is a treat and a perfect way to end an experience of world class dining!

So next time you want to spend money on an average take out, think of this; maybe if you save that money just twice you could end up experiencing something not only a different, but also something great!

If you would likt to book (which I recommend) here are the details: Tel: +27 (0) 21 794 2137

-Melissa

Source: www.thetrufflejournal.com/the-conservatory-cellars-hohenort