Let me start by saying I’m a huge fan of Steenberg 1682. I have eaten there numerous times, both in a personal, professional and blog capacity.
There’s not much I don’t like about the restaurant, from it’s modern architecture and delicious food to bad ass chef, Kerry Kiplin – the queen of sauces!
When I heard Chef Kerry would be overseeing Tryn, I was keen to visit the new space.
The truth is that I’ve been struggling to write this review because I can’t make up my mind which restaurant I prefer. The popular choice seem to say Tryn is all that, but I’ve been a 1682 loyalist for a long time so I’ve had Tryn under a microscope! Here’s what I found:
Catharina’s Becomes Tryn
After 21 years, Catharina’s closed its doors to reopen as Tryn. Closed like a worm in a cocoon as Tryn has certainly emerged as a beautiful butterfly from a space that was already so loved.
Our server politely and professionally escorted us through the new restaurant’s lay out. The previously pedestrian buffet room has elegantly been transformed into rose velvet booths with the previous “front” dining section now propped up by an large, Gatsby-esque bar.
The previously medium sized dining room now opens up to a large patio with exquisite views across the estate. Gold laden paintings line the walls that reflect the light like translucent blinds.
A huge front patio now allows guests to dine under the cool African sky while gazing over the shining vineyards. With Steenberg’s modern sculptures peeking out across the vista, birds chirping while the clouds glide over the Tokai mountainside, glass of Steenberg MCC in hand, it’s true bliss.
Welcome to Tryn
Tryn’s menu has creatively named each course the Finery, The Journey Begins, The Approach, Sojourn, Sweet Merriment and The Finale.
As if we were salivating over the views already, the meal began with an amouse bouche and a breadboard with a gluten free option!
Having recently switched wheat for rice flour, as much as possible, I loved this soft crunched seed bread which worked perfectly with the butter.
Starters at Tryn
While not a big seafood eater, I can barely resist a scallop. Usually reserved only for our canal side restaurant in Venice, I know peas and scallops are a classic combination.
Pea puree, toasted almonds, wilted lettuce, cumin fritters (which I was afraid had fish in!) and vanilla bean veloute (R185); while Chef Kerry was not actually in the kitchen on this Sunday but her classic sauces never fail to deliver a level of flavour and balance like few others in Cape Town.
My only qualm is that I seemed to only have received 3/4’s a whole scallop! Am I revealing my greed too much or is this a bit cheeky? For R185, I’d like 1 whole scollop please.
Our second starter was the Ash Crusted Chevin (goat’s milk cheese). With pear galette (had to Google that, it’s a flat cake), wilted rocket and toasted pumpkin seeds, I loved the bright lemon verbena hits in the viniagrette (R128).
Main Courses at Tryn
We skipped The Approach and went straight to mains or “Sojourn”. Mr John had the beef fillet (R285) while I had the server’s recommendation of the venison lion. The quality of the beef was excellent, but the dish was pretty straight forward.
The loin (R275) was cooked to absolute perfection – caramelized exterior with a tender interior without the metallic lick of rare meat.
Green beans, pomme puree (fancy mash), beetroot chips to add a little crunch, and beans. I’d highly recommend this dish if you’re looking to try new meat, but not stretch the limits too much.
Desserts at Tryn
Fussy. That’s what I would describe the desserts as in one word. While I appreciate that the restaurant wants to experiment and take things to the next level, I feel they should keep Coco Chanel’s advise regarding accessories in mind,
“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” ― Coco Chanel.
I ordered the carrot cake (R85), which had the most exquisite spiced pecan ice cream, however, the cake, blue berries, caramel sugar, carrot shavings, crumb, caramel sauce, cream and flowers were overkill.
The same can be said for the Dulce Semifreddo (R95), sometimes more is just more. Almond shavings, lemon, strawberries, blue berries, chocolate nips, raspberry couli, cream, drizzle, poached pear and lime – what’s the star of the show?
As a final touch we ordered the Steenberg estate embossed truffles (R25). Clear presentation with fresh, delicious raspberry filled truffles. Simple, delicious.
Having published my review, I have taken a look at some of the other posts online and I can see the restaurant has already started to refine its dishes since our visit.
I think this is needed in order to take it to the next level, which is the clear message I received upon visiting.
Unfortunately, the more ingredients used, often not the better. Refinement is what can take a dish from fussy to perfection.
I am looking forward to returning to Tryn to try the menu again in the near future (as well as give the bar a good turn) because a good time is always guaranteed at the beautiful estate.
Thank you for having us Tryn!