For some RANDOM reason, I remember reading or seeing Colin Moss talk about Haute Cabriere restaurant being one of his favourites. I’ve never had a crush on Colin Moss so I have no idea why my brain retained this random piece of information! However, it made an impression on me and I’ve been keen to visit ever since. Ironically, I have visited on many an occasion for their cellar tours, but have only managed to visit the restaurant, for the very first time, this Autumn.
Mr John and I were heading to Franschhoek to be spoilt, followed by a night at the Wild Mushroom in Stellenbosch. Here’s what went down:
Images by Team Team Photography, please do not use without permission.
Morning Cellar Tour
Before lunch, we were taken on a quick cellar tour. This was fantastic as there were no other guests! Now I know I sound like a hater, but when we want to take photographs or video, then it’s much easier with ‘noise’. We took a quick tour of their cool, quiet cellar before emerging for a wine tasting of 6 of their wines.
Haute Cabriere Wine Tasting
Tranquille is one of Pierre Jourdan’s most loved blends. I used it for my Cape Town wedding and often pack a bottle in my bag if I’m heading out of town. It’s just a trusted brand at a super affordable price (around R60 per bottle).
I’d like to comment more on the wines but the truth is that they are all really delicious so you really can’t go wrong. As mentioned, the Tranquille is my favourite, but I also love the Chardonnay Pinot Noir (I’m a white wine drinker). The Brut is my preferred bubbly.
Lunch at Haute Cabriere
Praise be! Lunch at the fabulous Haute Cabriere. After a bread selection including ‘Vetkoek’, tomato jam and salted butter, which were soft, flavourful and delicious.
I had the tomato salad (as I don’t eat seafood). Tomato salads are so weird because they’re so simple, yet really delicious. This was loosely piled onto of ‘Vetkoek’, tomato jam
For mains, I had the venison loin with port and truffle sauce, red onion and blue cheese tart, tenderstem broccoli and crispy kale, accompanied by the Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir Reserve. The loin was cooked to perfection with the truffle delicately included, showing some reserve in not overwhelming the dish (something that often happens). The tenderstem broccoli was al dente, vibrant and delicious adding a touch of something fresh to cut through the rich sauce. The parsley was also slightly crunchy in my experience, which I really liked as it added an extra texture. I’m not a big blue cheese fan so I left most of the tart simply as it’s not my preferred taste.
I actually ordered the pork belly, but was convinced otherwise by the waitress. I didn’t mind this as I prefer staff to make recommendations to best showcase the restaurant, however, it meant I had a pastry element for a starter and for a main, which I’d prefer not to have had.
Mr John had the Chalmar beef sirloin, mushroom ragout, spinach puree, pommes anna, black pepper and brandy sauce. He’s very fussy so he was able to just pick off the parts he liked – steak and potatoes! It was cooked to medium perfection and was simple yet delicious.
Haute Cabriere Dessert
For dessert, I had the chocolate mousse cake. It was a lot firmer than I thought it would be but the glittery gleam on the outer coating was supreme. I should have taken a selfie in that sheen! The ice cream was smooth and delicious. I was very full so I left the chocolate mousse, which was more of a ganache as it was not light. The crunchy, caramels balls surrounding it reminded me of a little bracelet and was a nice touch. Although I think they must have been low on stock as the circle did not close around the pud, LOL!
We had exceptional service from both the host and waitress at Haute Cabriere. It was cosy dining in the low, stone, vaulted ceilinged restaurant, tucked in the hillside. I’d highly recommend visiting for lunch as I think the restaurant is most beautiful when you can see across the green and blue valley below.
THANK YOU to Haute Cabriere for having us!