05 November 2006

stuffing the Ring of Fat - part I: Stellenbosch/Cape Winelands

DISCLAIMER: Food porn coming up! Do not read this report if you're very hungry!

Along with good wine, one must have good food and lots of it. Our Rings of Fat (RoF) demanded it! And the Western Cape does not disappoint in that department! By Norwegian standards, food is extremely cheap. Furthermore, the portions are quite large, like US supersizing, but the quality of what you get typically get in South African restaurants is superior to what you get in the States. The meat and fish you get is out of this world. Don't come here if you're on a strict weight loss diet ;-)

Information on the wines are in the tasting notes posts, either for whites or rosés or sparking, or for reds...

I'll write a separate post on South African cuisine in general.

OK. OK, enough of this boring chit-chat. On with the goodies!

  • The café at the airport. After we got the rental car in order, we decided to get a proper breakfast (the crap we got on our flight just wasn't working for us) and some coffee at the café at the airport, before heading out to Stellenbosch. We had oatmeal with bananas, and orange juice and coffee to wash it down. Very nice. European prices though.

  • Dros Restaurant and Wine Cellar at Stellenbosch. Grilled chicken with piri-piri sauce for me, calamari steak for boyfriend of feitpingvin. The chicken was tender and juicy and the piri-piri sauce gave a nice kick. And of course I tasted the calamari steak, which was tender and tasty. Afterwards, we had a huge piece of cheesecake for dessert, along with a glass of local port and some coffee.

    We had a bottle of wine with our meal (Drostdty-Hof Chardonnay 2005)... and got a second bottle of wine for free! They had this 2-for-1 special going. The bottle that was on special was sold out, and we ordered a different bottle, not really caring that we were missing out on the deal, and ended up getting a second bottle anyway. Very nice. That would never happen in Norway, or most other places in Europe ;-) We took the second bottle back to the guest house to have there...

  • Homemade dinner at the guest house. I made tasty ostrich burgers and salad. We had originally planned on eating out part of the time and cooking with local ingredients part of the time, but we found out that eating out was so friggin' cheap (for us) that it was best to eat out the rest of the time. Let someone else do the dishes ;-)

  • Breakfast at the guest house. We had a self-catering unit, so I always made breakfast. I would do that while boyfriend of feitpingvin was showering. Breakfast ingredients were pretty cheap – I usually made omelettes with free-range eggs, bacon, organic cheese, and tomatoes. Served with bread. Or we would just have slices of bread with peanut butter and jam, or meat and cheese, or whatever else. Washed down with skim milk and coffee made from powder (eek)...

    Oh, and at least in Stellenbosch, we usually had breakfast outside, on the porch ;-)

  • The café at Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. A very simple (but good) lunch, as we snacked on protein bars during our hike. I had a chicken salad and boyfriend of feitpingvin had a sandwich with egg and bacon, I think it was. All washed down with orange juice and coffee.

  • Cape Town Fish Market at Stellenbosch: we started the evening by drinking a Castle Lager. I had been warned that Castle = pisswater. I should have listened to these warnings ;-P

    Starter – escargot with butter and parmesean. The snails were gigantic! I've had escargot lots of times, and I don't remember ever getting snails that were so big. And very tasty.

    Main course – grilled linefish and calamari platter for me. Linefish is the South African term for fish of the day – didn't write down what it actually was and don't remember now). Boyfriend of feitpingvin had the grilled calamari cajun-style. Both were lovely and the portions were huge. RoF was very stuffed and happy. We had the Delheim Pinotage Rosé 2005 to go with the meal. Kind of unusual to have a rosé with seafood, but the combination wasn't too bad...

  • Basic Bistro (Stellenbosch): Mmm...lunch. I had a gypsy ham sandwich on “health bread” with mozerella cheese and gooseberry jam. Very tasty and filling. Boyfriend of feitpingvin had a chicken pasta with Egyptian spices (dukkah?). It was also quite tasty; the spices were wonderful. We both had Windhoek Lager, from Namibia, with our meals. Windhoek Lager is brewed according to German purity laws. It's not too bad for a mass-produced product. We also had some Tafel Lager, also from Namibia.

  • Fishmonger (Stellenbosch): an upscale fish restaurant in Stellenbosch. As our aperitif, we had a Savanna Dry Cider each. It's a popular cider from Stellenbosch and I can understand why it's popular – it's refreshing and tastes great!

    Starter – I had calamari stuffed with salmon, spinach, feta cheese, and garlic. Excellent stuff. Very tender calamari. Boyfriend of feitpingvin had mussels in a very tasty white wine sauce. Mmmm...

    We both had kingklip stuffed with with mushrooms, onion, tomato, and mozerella with paprika, beer, and garlic sauce as our main course. The fish was interesting – a very different flavor and consistency, but very pleasant, and the sauce was wonderful and rich. We had different side dishes though. I had vegetables on the side, as shown in the picture, while boyfriend of feitpingvin had potatoes.

    Our wine was the Della Cia Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (Meerlust).

    Booking is essential here! This place is very popular!

    Oh, and this is what a kingklip looks like ;-)

  • Goederust Farm Kitchen (Franschhoek): This was the lunch stop that was included in our first wine tour. We had bobotie for lunch. Bobotie is a traditional Cape Malay curry topped with custard, and is considered a regional (if not national) specialty. It was pretty good here, but I eventually made it here at home and got a much better result ;-) I'll try to post a recipe later on...

  • Jan Cats (Stellenbosch): starter – duo of crocodile and calamari with homemade tartare. Crocodile meat is light and has a nice, mild flavor. I eventually learned that crocodile meat comes from the tail of the crocodile. I'm surprised it isn't more popular...

    We had springbok with berry sauce as our main dish. The meat was lovely, a “light” (in color) red meat. It was very tender and juicy and tasty. The sauce was also quite nice.

    The wine was the Imbizo Cabernet Sauvignon - a wonderful game wine!

  • The Vineyard Kitchen at Dombeya/Haskell. I had an ostrich, strawberry, and pear salad and boyfriend of feitpingvin had ostrich fajitas. The salad was very nice and had a fantastic dressing. The fajitas weren't too bad either :-)

    We had a bottle of their shiraz with our meal, the one that wasn't a part of the wines they have visitors taste. Again, this is a shame, as the shiraz is excellent, and if people got a chance to sample it, they would be more likely to buy it...

    It was nice and peaceful here, with a nice view of the vineyards and mountains.

  • Sosati Braai Restaurant: this place is across the street from Basic Bistro.

    Starter – "Crocodile Sosati" - crocodile marinated in orange zest and chili. Mmmm...

    Main course – I had gembok (oryx) lasagne made with sweet potatoes instead of noodles. It was a very interesting version of lasagne. Gembok is very lamb-like (at least what I had) and the combination of meat in the tomato sauce, the bechamel sauce, and the sweet potatoes were surprisingly perfect. I'd like to try making something similar at home. Boyfriend of feitpingvin had grilled gnu (wildebeest). That was also delicious – the meat just melted in your mouth. Mmmm...

    Our wine of choice was the Slaley Pinotage.

    We also ordered dessert. I had milktart (melktert), a traditional Cape Malay dessert. It's kind of like a custard pie, but with more milk than eggs, and flavored with cinnamon. Boyfriend of feitpingvin had koeksisters, another traditional dessert, a sort of doughnut-like thing drenched in syrup.

  • La Petite Ferme: we had a very lovely lunch here after our trip to the language monument and the crocodile farm. They only serve lunch, from what I understand.

    Anyway, we had the Franschhoek rainbow trout served with tomato- and coriander-braised baby fennel gratinated in parmesean, diced potato with caramelized onion, rosemary, celery, white wine, and sherry. Oh my Flying Spaghetti Monster, the fish was absolutely perfectly prepared! It was amazing! And the portion again was huuuuuuuge!

    RoF also wanted dessert so it got dessert. I had the limoncello-doused polenta cake served with lemon ice cream and candied lime.

    Boyfriend of feitpingvin had the Aztec chocolate and chili pot lavished with coffee marscapone cheese and Marula nut brittle.

  • De Volkskombuis: my starter was "wild salad" – carpaccio of three different kinds of game wrapped in goat cheese, served on a bed of salad.

    Boyfriend of feitpingvin's starter was a crispy duck spring roll. We shared all of this – everything was absolutely delicious in each their own way.

    I ordered the pork loin stuffed with prunes and apricots for my main course: This was served with sweet potato mash and lots of vegetables. Tender and tasty meat. Mmm...pork...

    Boyfriend of feitpingvin had lamb curry, served in a potjie - a Little Black Bottomless Pot of RoF Doom. What's a Little Black Bottomless Pot of RoF Doom you ask? Let me tell you... you get served this cute though seemingly little black pot of food. And then you take a big serving of food, eat it up, and then get some more food out of the pot, eat it, get more food out, eat it, get more food out... it never seems to end...

  • We had the Rainbow's End Shiraz with our meal here.

The Cape Town food report will come later on, when you're done digesting this one... :-)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments. Glad you enjoyed our food. If you're back in town, try us for dinner!

Richard (owner - Basic Bistro)

feitpingvin said...

Wow, thanks for reading my travel report! We're not sure when we'll be back in Stellenbosch but when we're back, we'll be sure to stop by for dinner :-)