EVERY time I drive through the gates into Buitenverwachting, I have to stop and take a photograph of the first view of the vineyards and the Constantiaberg mountains, with its famous Elephant’s Eye cave (see above). Not being of hiking inclination, this is as close as I’ll get to it, and I’ve made peace with that. Anyway, it would cut into my eating and drinking time.
Also every time I visit Buitenverwachting, I know I’m in for a lovely afternoon/day of fine company, excellent food and sublime wines. This particular Friday was no exception, when I lunch with Sandy my mom and Sandy Bailey who handles the PR for the farm. A tale of two Sandys if you will.
Austrian-born chef Edgar Osojnik came to South Africa in 1995, where he lost his heart to Cape Town and to a Boland meisie, Yolanda. For the past two decades Osojnik has been dazzling guests at Buitenverwachting Restaurant. From his first year there he was not only winning awards but also influencing the palate of every person who has had the pleasure of enjoying the redefining culinary experience of his cuisine.
Osojnik is particularly proud of sharing his knowledge and has trained some of SA’s top chefs, many of whom he has influenced over the past 24 years. He still continues to share his passion for teaching culinary art and developing talent, including uplifting local and underprivileged communities through his internal chef’s training programme.
Osojnik believes his menu is first and foremost about skill and maintaining balance: “It has to work, or it’s not going on the menu,” he says. Drawing his inspiration from Mother Nature’s basic ingredients, which lead him to new and innovative ideas, he creates a unique, contemporary fusion style of cuisine, bridging the gap between fine dining and bistro. As such, you have these two options available to you at lunch time – Rustic and Indulge – and we were invited to mix and match from both of them.
Sandy One (has to be Mom of course) began with the quail in multiple guises – torched galantine, pan-fried saltimbocca with egg, parfait orange gel, panko deep-fried confit leg – with sweetcorn mousse, popcorn jus and brioche. The sheer number of techniques on that one plate boggles the mind.
Sandy Two is vegetarian so she had the Vegetable Garden, a gloriously colourful medley including horseradish mousseline, a kale cloud, an olive oil poached egg yolk, and of course, vegetables. I began with the seared marinated tuna with avocado, baby gem lettuce, cucumber, seaweed, ginger, tomato, soya, sesame, black garlic and citrus dressing; a superb summer dish.
For main courses, in the same order, we had roasted pork belly with crackling, potato-butternut puff pastry, tarragon vinegar glazed vegetables, and caramelised apple and horseradish purée; sunshiny yellow risotto with king oyster mushrooms, sweetcorn, and parsley (non-vegetarians get chorizo in this dish); and pan-fried beef fillet with Cafe de Paris butter, red wine sauce, bone marrow crust, potato log, parsley purée, bacon carrot, and tenderstem broccoli.
For dessert both Sandys had the yuzu mousse with mango, pineapple and coconut accents, with lemongrass parfait and a banana doughnut. It was light and refreshing and not overly sweet, being the almost-finishing touch to the meal; friandises were served at the very end. An amuse-bouche had begun the experience and a sorbet was presented between starters and main courses. Throughout, we were advised with suitable wine pairings for each of our courses, by the knowledgeable, well-trained staff.
For more information about Buitenverwachting, its restaurant and those wonderful wines, click here.
PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN ©