Last Thursday was our staff function and, because we have the best company in the world, we tend to get spoilt rotten. On this occasion we were taken to the beautiful Catharina’s Restaurant in Steenberg. The Tokai wine estate was recently under urgent threat from the Cape Town fires that swept across the Southern peninsula, destroying kilometers of vegetation and homes. Luckily, while a few Steenberg vineyards may be singed, the property stands strong and remains one of the Cape most’s pristine venues.
We work around the corner which made getting to the venue easy. Upon arrival we were welcomed by the site of a lovely Scottish couple tying the knot. We looked on at the festivities from the veranda where we sat sipping wine and enjoying the autumn evening. The first bottle of wine that was ordered was the Steenberg savignon, which wasn’t to my taste (I used to love sauvignon blanc but have moved onto chardonnay). I ordered the Steenberg chardonnay, which everyone loved so much that it became our staple for the evening. Smooth with a light woody, buttery taste, an excellent wine which we ordered throughout the night.
As the sun set we moved inside and were seated before the restaurant filled. I actually really dislike sharing restaurants with big groups of people due to the noise that tends to ensue so I asked the waitress to tap me on the shoulder if we became too rowdy. Luckily we kept the volume down but I must note that our waitress was also EXCELLENT! She really knew the menu and was able to recommend items to the fussy without acting offended (a lot of noses were turned up at the sweetbreads and foi gras.
Whenever I’m in a gourmet restaurant I always order something I don’t like in order to be converted. On this occasion I ordered the scallops (R115). (I don’t eat seafood). They were beautifully cooked. With a perfectly seared golden crust, juicy and tender, the accompaniments were also surprising but amazing. I’ve started getting into black olives (something else I previously haven’t like to eat) and they off set the freshness of the watercress and orange perfectly. While seafood still has a massively pungent smell to me, the taste was delicate and fresh. I highly recommend having the scallops at Catharina’s, they were unbelievable.
For mains I ordered the beef fillet (R215). Again, a beautiful meal albeit a bit safe. A part of me wishes I had ordered something more exotic, however, it was perfectly cooked. It came with a croquet that was also crumbed evenly and cooked perfectly. It was quite a big size so it was mostly mushy, which would work with the meal – a sort of crunch and mash potato combo. I also ordered the pomme frites with truffle oil. I didn’t love the truffle oil even though I adore chips. They were perfectly cooked as well (don’t ever give me “slap chips” with my steak), golden, crunchy, tasty.
For dessert I ordered the rooibos tea ice cream and white chocolate mousse (R65). The mousse didn’t taste that great, but the rooibos tea ice cream was a delight. I must note that if something’s meant to be chocolatey, then I expect to have my tastebuds explode, this wasn’t the case with the mousse. My friend ordered the chocolate ganache which was DIVINE! I should have ordered that! The chocolate did not mess around on this dish and that’s what I’m always looking for – MORE chocolate goodness.
Catharina’s is priced on the high-end of restaurants in Cape Town so if you’re looking for casual eating, this isn’t the place. However, if you’re looking for a special occasion then look no further. The service, ambience and quality of food is worth every cent. Find Catharina’s on the Steenberg Wine Estate in Tokai.