This is going to be another good year, overflowing with opportunity – out of chaos comes opportunity, and if you focus on the doughnut, not the hole, anything is possible!
To turn up the heat and end the year on a tasty note our office crew headed off to Thali for a festive lunch. We arrived early (no bookings) armed with crackers and gifts. Tapas for two comes in waves, and the portions are abundant in flavour and in quantity. The garden setting is beautiful for lunch or dinner (love twinkly lights and lanterns), and the speed of service makes it the ideal choice for a business lunch. Choose from seating in the main area, or position yourself with a good view of chef John van Zyl and his team at work, and you will be transfixed. The epic voyage to the taste of India moves from subtle to robust, even timid palates can cope.
Just a few days later we headed into the country for more of Liam Tomlin’s magic, this time the wand had been waved, recently, in Franschhoek.
When I close my eyes I can still taste the incredible flavours created by David Schneider and his team at Chefs Warehouse at Maison. I headed there just before Christmas to review the restaurant for Food & Home Entertaining magazine. The tapas for two is great value, and if you are not driving, choose Maison wines or others to make your meal extra-special. If you have time, then start your adventure with a wine tasting. The rustic, farmhouse feel is authentic Weylandts, and their marriage with maestro Liam Tomlin has been made in heaven. An array of tasty tapas for two comes your way in three courses, priced at R700.
My stand-outs were the line fish sashimi with a lime pickle dressing, green mango and a coconut cream reduction, in the second round all dishes competed to be a favourite, but I settled on declaring the parsley and spinach risotto the winner. Delicately enhanced with a whey and smoked bone marrow, and lemon and parsley salsa, it hit a high note. In round three the slow-cooked Karoo lamb shoulder was my colleague’s choice, and I chose the grilled hake. Head to Franschhoek to see why the locals, who will no doubt support this gem all year round, are so happy and proud to have their own Chefs Warehouse.
Between Christmas and New Year we hosted an annual festive feast at Terroir. After tasting and buying wines at Ken Forrester we headed off for more of the same, to the quiet Kleine Zalze Wine Estate nearby. In dappled sunlight we relaxed into dishes that delighted from start to finish, with sterling presentation to punchy flavours and those sauces that chef Michael Broughton has become famous for. I loved the prawn risotto with sauce Américaine, a starter which I ordered as a main course, after the seared tuna with anchovy cream, fennel, pickled onion and a dashi vinaigrette. The onion tart with truffled brie, date, sesame and pumpkin seed pesto was outstanding. Loud applause was given for the roulade of quinoa and aubergine with grapes, mushrooms, parsley butter and smoked ale. Carnivores clapped for the beef fillet and the seared loin of Springbok, so all around happy faces.
Our year started well, on New Year’s day just half an hour after midnight we boarded a plane to head north for some cold, and to escape the drought in Cape Town. Three nights in Amsterdam, a few days staying in the pretty village of Wassenaar, and then three nights in Berlin-below-zero. I look forward to sharing these wonderful experiences with you, soon, and many other exciting trips during 2018.
May this year bring you everything you deserve, and may your plate and glass always be half full, not half empty.