When your day starts off with little yellow duckies, you know it’s going to be a good one! Mr John and I went to Groot Constantia last weekend for the new Taste at Simon’s market. I was interested in visiting because I had recently enjoyed a really love day on the farm, but wasn’t overly excited about the market because I find markets don’t really work (for me). Reason being is, often plates are R80 – R120 and I wondered what the point of having a market is if you can only buy one meal! Isn’t the point of a market to explore and try a number of things under the same roof? This is why I had reservations. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful day and we were happy to drive to the wine route area.
Images by myself and Team Team Photography
We found parking easily and walked through the beautiful tree-lined pathway towards the Constantia house. It really is wonderful to feel the cool shade of the oak trees surround us and overlook the beautiful views across the vineyard to False Bay.
TASTE AT SIMON’S
The Simon’s Restaurant is now home to the Sunday, weekly market. Pet owners are welcome to bring their dogs, as long as they remain on a leash. Soft music plays in the background, which was fantastic. I often find music too loud in the restaurant setting. Nothing annoys me more than having to yell over the top of music when I’m trying to have dinner with my friends. This wasn’t the case at Simon’s. The background music was relaxing and added a welcoming tone to the outside area.
Once inside the Taste at Simon’s shed, we found our PR contact and started to explore the food. I was immediately really excited simply by the pricing. One of my biggest gripes with markets is that everything is overpriced. This means you attend a market, one one plate of food and go home. What was the point of having a market?! Surely the purpose is a market is so that visitors can explore a number of items, at the same time, in the same location, in order to make multiple purchases and discover their favourites? This is exactly what the Taste at Simon’s has done.
WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
The Taste at Simon’s has a number of food stalls with all sorts of different types of food at reasonable prices. This meant I could buy five or six things, give them all a go, pick my favourites and come back another time to do the same again!
The six items I chose were the: arancini balls, which I love and was keen to have them fresh. Ramen because I’ve not had it before. Philipino empanadas because it just seemed like the right thing to do when there’s a dude from the islands in front of you. Bone marrow gnocchi and a Thai green curry with a glass noodle salad. I don’t even like curry, but it looked so good that I just ordered it. Mr John had biltong and cookies and cream ice cream sandwich.
Heaven I tell you, heaven! The arancini balls were DIVINE! They were lamb and cheese, SO warm, SO googey, SO flavourful; sensational! Don’t leave them to sit though, have them warm – they are amazing! From the first bite I was in food heaven. These cost R45.
Next I tried the Ramen bar because I’m been so keen to try it for ages. The lady behind the counter was really lovely and allowed me to try to stock, which was delicious. It’s on the salty side so that it, essentially, seasons the fresh ingredients added to the bowl. The problem was, I asked her not to put in the crab, but left in the seaweed! I don’t eat seafood 🙁 So I had this exquisite bowl of fresh ingredients in a hot broth and after a few bites I was like, “What’s up with this fishy food?!” And I realised it was seaweed 🙁 TOTALLY my fault and such a waste because the textures of the veg were so wonderful. Next time I go back I’m having it again without the seaweed! This was R50.
THAI GREEN CURRY
Not a curry fan, but I was really in the mood for the glass noodle salad so I ordered the plate from Blue Ginger. It was ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! I LOVED it! I loved, loved, love the fresh salad but also the curry was truly delicious. Reason being – it didn’t taste like curry! (Haha) But seriously, the coconut milk was so sweet, so savory with beautiful crunchy vegetables. This dish really took me by surprised. I’d 100% have it again. I think this was R60.
As I said, there was a man from the islands with an island style shirt on. I was there to explore and that’s what I did. The empanadas are very dry! So make sure you take sauce. I had sweet chili and peanut butter sauce. It was the best peanut butter sauce ever! SO GOOD! Dip the empanadas in there and you’re good to go! Super tasty! These were R40.
Other options on the day that also looked good included baby bunny chows, Cape Malay salads and curry, oysters and champagne as well as fresh breads and charcuterie items.
There is a well-appointed bar as well as a number of liquor stalls, which allows you to find your drink of choice. I picked a bottle of sparkling water and a glass of bubbly to accompany my food. I wanted something that would clear my palate as I tried the different cuisines and bubbles seemed perfect for that.
Speaking of liquor, I met a lovely man named Dario, who took me on a liquor-route of all his wonderful brands. His bottle of brandy with gold leaves in it caught our attention as we walked past. Before we knew it, I was sampling a dozen liquors. It was a wonderful learning occasion and a tone of fun. Not to mention an awesome time tasting such a variety of special liquors, I really enjoyed myself!
After lunch Mr John and I grabbed a seat outside. We just had a few toots and listened to the music. Looked at the dogs and the people. It was really relaxing and perfect for a Sunday afternoon. Before leaving, we went for a walk in near the vineyards. They do request that visitors don’t tresspass in certain areas, so we stuck to the paths.
I loved my time at Groot Constantia and the Taste at Simon’s. I’ll happily visit again and dig into all the tasty goodness that’s available. While the market was initially cashless, I understand that cash can now be used at the stalls. Snapscan is really the easiest, because card transactions can be slow.
I was not paid for this review, however, we were welcomed as guests of Simon’s. Vouchers were supplied, however, all opinions are my own and have not been docked by the client in anyway.