Situated on the R45 just outside the main village of Franschhoek is the Haute Cabrière wine estate and restaurant. Dane called to confirm our booking asking us to please be there by 12pm and we got there slightly early. This gave us the opportunity to do a wine tasting, and make a purchase before heading to the restaurant for lunch.
Wine and Alcohol
The menu states that their aim is the pursue the “true marriage of food and wine” and so we chose to explore this concept by ordering the recommended wine with each of our courses. Wine from the estate is sold at cellar door prices which are extremely well priced. The wine list includes Magnums and a selection of wines from the owner’s private vinoteque. For the undecided you can taste a variety of wines before making up your mind.
The first thing I noted was that the main courses are available in half portions and for lunch time this is great. It also meant I could have a starter as well. I noted that quite a few diners seated near us chose this option. The menu also indicates which meals contain nuts and which ones are suitable for vegetarians. There are 4 starters on the menu, 8 main courses and 4 desserts and everything I saw coming out of the kitchen looked fantastic. We were offered ciabatta and rye bread, both of which are made on site and both breads were very good.
I had the tuna tartare (R80) served with quail egg, avocado parfait, smoked mulberry purée, semi dried tomato, sesame tuille and a broad bean vinaigrette. The recommended wine for this meal was the Pierre Jourdan Brut Savage (R45/glass / R130/bottle). The MCC was very fruity with apricot on the palate and jasmine on the nose. There were unbelievable individual flavours on the plate but the tuna was slightly overwhelmed by the other ingredients. All together, the dish worked well and was well paired with the MCC. Most amazingly was that the tartare had the traditional flavours one would expect from a meat dish. As the onion was not overpowering I would say it was the tuna was cut and assembled to order.
For my main course I chose the duo of Springbok (R90 for the half portion) which was served with pickled mushrooms, mushroom tartare, mushroom cannoli, blueberry ragout and a coffee jus. The recommended wine for this dish was the Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir 2009 (R55/glass / R170/bottle). The wine was cranberry on the palate with a red berry on the nose and had a soft mouthfeel. The plates came to us hot which impresses Dave and I immensely. The ragout was soft and succulent and Dane explained to us that the chef, Ryan, highlights one vegetable per dish. The cannoli was sublime and smooth and the springbok was tender and tasty. It was a perfect dish with the tartare having an intense mushroom flavour.
It is not often that I make a restaurant booking via email but as Dave and I decided on the Sunday morning of the Champagne and MCC Festival that we wanted to eat lunch beforehand, I made an online booking with Haute Cabrière. This meant that when I arrived they knew I was a food blogger and even though we got extra special dedication from Dane, the manager, we did not get extra special service from our waitress, Chantelle, or extra special attention paid to our food. The service was excellent and I paid attention to the service received by the tables around us, and was pleased to note that the waitress was fully bilingual and spoke to the table next to us in Afrikaans.
The view is absolutely stunning and I would recommend sitting outside, even though you can hear the traffic noises. The gardens have an abundance of jasmine which has the most amazing scent.
Book a wine cellar tour on a Saturday morning before lunch – the cellar is fantastic and has a story behind the naming of the MCC.
Telephone Number: +27 21 876 3688
Open: Lunch Tuesday to Sunday, Dinner Tuesday to Saturday
Average main course: R159
Corkage: not listed
Food type: Fine Dining
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