A name befitting an indescribable setting. Beyond, as a preposition, an adverb or a noun, all work in the favour of Peter Tempelhoff, Ashley Moss and Jennifer Hugé’s new restaurant in the Constantia winelands. The reference to the unknown, especially in ‘life after death’ is particularly meaningful if you consider the year that was 2020. This is how you push boundaries and defy the odds stacked up against you.
“I must be crazy, right?” asks Tempelhoff. To which I answer, not if you are Peter Tempelhoff. Only he could pull this madness off and make it all look so seamless, with a mask on.
And it does, look seamless and effortless as the staff under Hugé’s watchful eye serve carefully spaced diners.
Set in the lush sprawling grounds of the Buitenverwachting Wine Farm, Beyond Restaurant overlooks the vineyards through floor-to-ceiling windows. Bright light pours in to the dining area. The tables tops, floors and accent walls have light wood finishes which brightens up the overall space even more.
An exquisitely-carved 12 seater wooden table top was a gift from Tempelhoff’s brother and has been waiting in the wings for years to fill that one special area, it has finally found it’s home near the bar.
“The hanging plants you see in the dining room are also from the area. We thought they would make a great inclusion,” said Tempelhoff, and they certainly do. The rustic feel is reminiscent of autumn, but one need only look outside you know it’s summer in the Cape.
Beyond, according to Tempelhoff, is a place to enchant diners once again. “It’s been a hard year, Capetonians love great food and new spaces, and this is just that. It’s somewhere to excite people at the prospect of something new, I think we all need that right now.”
Most surprising of all are the prices. The one thing fine-dining is not, is cheap. Yet, they have managed to keep prices very relatable and in line with costs of a usual ala carte menu.
The concept is to build your fine dining experience for how much you want, and can afford, which is brilliant in the current economic climate. The menu consists of dishes before your meal, then starters, a bread course, main course, side dishes and the pièce de résistance – dessert.
“The menu has been created in homage to seasonal, sustainable ingredients, allowing you to experience natural flavours at their very best – simple, delicious and unpretentious,” reads the menu, which is also triggered by a QR code on the table.
A pre-starter of four cold current oysters (R130) – two of Cape Malay flavouring and two with a Vietnam flavour – are a must. I am fascinated by the amount of thought that goes into subtly injecting known flavours into an ingredient that needs absolutely no additions, and getting it right too.
Starters range from R95 to R142, the menu is not extensive because less is always more and in the current climate that makes perfect sense. If you are going to order a starter, make sure it is the Durban prawn, tandoori cauliflower steak with sultanas, almonds and a coconut bisque (R130). You know a dish is exceptional when you don’t know where your prawn ends and the cauliflower begins. Not an ideal combination? According to who? It is a marriage made in Durban with the three day pre-wedding affair and an extravagant showdown at Kendra Hall. In other words, it is absolutely meant to be.
Your main course can be anything from sustainable fish, succulent Karoo lamb chops, oak barrelled smoked pastured chicken (intriguing right) or a perfectly-prepped beef from the coals. Note, the side dishes are charged separately but they are not ordinary accompaniments so the price is understandable. The 40-day Angus Rump (R240) with a side of poutine chips (cheese curd and beef gravy like a good old London meal) was exactly as good as it sounds. The knife slipped through the steak like it was cutting warm butter – and that right there is all the explanation a great piece of Angus beef needs. The gravy chips were lip-smacking and also paired naturally with the steak.
There are three desserts to choose from, all probably belong in this setting. Each is beautifully presented and devoured in minutes. The dark berries and consommé, surround a spiced cherry sorbet, on a plate of roast white chocolate namelaka. It is comparable to a really well composed panna cotta in taste, flavour and density.
The wine list is the most extensive. This is the winelands after all, and they are going to put their best wine forward. Choose wisely, or by the glass, it is great to be able to put together your own fine dining experience, bit by bit, then sit back and marvel and how good you are at curating the perfect lunch experience. All the while, it’s really Tempelhoff and Moss who have spent countless hours planning and preparing dishes that mix and match seamlessly, and interchangeably, to make you seem like the genius behind the choices.
It is a different way of enjoying a multi-course meal – but with this view – and that amount of thought and effort – how can it be anything but enchanting. It is Beyond enchanting!
Contact: +27 21 794 0306
Address: Buitenverwachting Wine Farm and Restaurant, 37 Klein Constantia Road, Constantia, Cape Town
Website: Beyond Restaurant