ONE of the best things about Cape Town winters is the abundance of restaurant specials. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of these and enjoy exceptional value for money.
Today we had lunch at the multi award-winning Terroir in Stellenbosch. It’s always a treat but the four-course tasting menu (with or without wine pairing) provides all the excellence for which the restaurant is renowned, at a fraction of the price. “This year, for the first time, we are branching out to offer a multi-course tasting menu,” explains chef Michael Broughton.
You get to choose two starters, a main course, and a dessert from the chalkboard menu; these are allegedly smaller than the full à la carte portions but you’ll find it hard to tell. By the end of the meal, we were sliding down in our chairs, rubbing our full bellies, and sighing with satisfaction.
Since there are four starters on offer, you can try them all. Unless you’re a fan of Broughton’s legendary prawn risotto with Americaine sauce, in which case you might order multiple portions of this, and no one will judge you. “We just have to keep that risotto on the menu. If we take it off everyone complains!” laughs Broughton. It’s no joke, though.
Between the two of us, we had the risotto (of course); house smoked Norwegian salmon with Nicola potatoes and green gazpacho; Stilton soufflé with pear, celery and lacquered pecan nuts; and pastilla of braised lamb with yoghurt, Medjool dates and ginger. The wine pairings included Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc, Vineyard selection Chenin Blanc (yes, white with the lamb pastilla), and Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc.
For my main course I chose the dry aged Angus sirloin which is sous-vided for eight minutes then finished on the grill. It’s served with brisket croustillant, a crumbed ball of smoked bone marrow, and mushroom sauce. My friend chose the smoked duck breast with orange, sesame pak choi and chestnut. These were paired with the Vineyard Selection Cab Sav and Shiraz, Mourvèdre, Viognier blend respectively.
If any of these descriptions are unfamiliar, the well-trained staff are able to explain them.
One of the desserts was a no-brainer – chocolate, coffee, caramel and whisky ice cream all on one plate? Bring it on. For me, Broughton sent out the new apple dessert which will be on the menu from tonight: baked apple on puff pastry served with teeny tiny cinnamon doughnuts, vanilla and buttermilk “dollops”, miso and apple dollops, cinnamon ice cream on a bed of toasted oats, with a jug of caramel sauce.
All this perfect winter fare was enjoyed in front of a log fire, complemented by attentive service that was never intrusive. Little wonder Terroir has been featured in the Eat Out top 10 restaurants in the country nine times. These and the many other accolades awarded are tastefully and discreetly displayed on a high shelf.
The four-course menu is R395 a person. With a generous 100ml of Kleine Zalze wine with each course, it costs R495 a person. An alternative winter special is any two standard-size courses from the chalkboard (starter/main or main/dessert) with a glass of Vineyard Selection wine for R295 a person. All are available for lunch and dinner, until September 30. Do note, however, Terroir will be closed for its annual break from July 3, re-opening on July 25.
Open for lunch Tuesdays to Sundays 12pm-2.30pm, and dinner Tuesdays to Saturdays 6.30pm-9pm, reservations at Terroir are highly recommended. To book call 021 880 8167 or email [email protected]
PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN