When it comes to alfresco dining, it’s hard to beat Haute Cabrière’s spectacular outdoor setting and its breath-taking views of the Franschhoek valley. But even when it’s cold outside, the cavernous restaurant (carved into a mountain range) is an ideal place to cosy up with some good food.
Chef Ryan Shell’s season menu changes throughout the year (and according to what’s available from the veggie garden). For example, our lunch offered a light roasted pepper and tomato soup with origanum crème fraiche for starters; a juicy herb crusted lamb neck, melanzane fondant potato, crispy pea salad for mains; and a rich frozen rose and raspberry meringue, strawberry sorbet, berry coulis and lemon chocolate chiffon cake for dessert.
You can have each dish as a starter or main, which gives you a chance to pair them with whatever wines you like. But as hard as it was for our group to decide if the elegant Pierre Jourdan Tranquille paired better than the popular Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir, everyone loved that the low alcohol content (and price point) made the range accessible.
“There is no right or wrong way to enjoy wine,” said cellar master Takuan von Arnim, pointing out that the sweet, fortified Pierre Jourdan Ratafia can work with scallops, escargot, fondant, and cheese. “Having lots of different cultures and South African dishes means there are lots of opportunities to play. But if you can’t drink a bucket of your own wine, don’t bother bottling it.”