There’s something magnetic about the atmosphere at Bistro 1682 at Steenberg Wine Farm in Tokai, it could very well be the lush green gardens or the views of the mountains surrounding the estate – but it is most likely the kind-hearted chef behind the exquisite meals. Executive Chef Kerry Kilpin has an electric energy that is warm, innovative and endearing – all at the same time – and her personality plays out on every plate she masterfully creates in the kitchen.
Great food never goes out of fashion.
Steenberg wines are in a class of their own – whether it’s a red or a white you choose, you will be equally fascinated by the uniqueness of each sip. There is no word to describe their Syrah 2015, other than exceptional.
The restaurant is an intimate setting, and caters for the warm summer days with tables set outside, where squirrels and rabbits run and hop around carefree. In the winter the inside is transformed into a cosy setting with fires keeping the cold at bay. It is rainy day bliss for Capetonians looking for respite from the cold.
The winter lunch menu special is a good enough reason to try four courses of goodness at only R265 per person.
Course 1: Jerusalem Artichoke and Apple Soup
Because all winter menus should start with a warm dose of liquid goodness. It is a plateful of delicate, delicious and decadent flavours blitzed into a smooth soup. A tang from the apple, meshed with the warm flavours from the artichokes is enough to leave you begging for seconds, but pace yourself, more is coming.
Course 2: Bistrol 1682 Pickled Fish Taco
This is a dish geniusly prepared for all seasons in mind. A taco shell, filled with pickled fish, from a recipe handed down through generations, sits on a bed of smooth avocado. A rich aioli with a red onion and tomato salsa are drizzled around the food, adding another level of excellence. The crunch of the taco and the sweet yet tangy pickled fish are an incredible combination. The dish as a whole has no faults. Even the portion size is more than plenty.
Course 3: Sustainable fish with Quinoa and Asian Salsa
When we arrived for lunch it was raining, and I truly believe the sun came out as soon as this plate was served. This dish of yellow tail fish, with an asian salad, quinoa and chili vinaigrette is literally sunshine on a plate. The fish was delicately flavoured and cooked to an inch of perfection. The asian dressing and flavours brought an incredible burst of the east to your palate, without the burn. If there is a way to pair quinoa without it tasting like a bad extra in a great movie, this would be it.
It is Chef Kilpin’s use of simple and sustainable ingredients with unusual sauces and infused flavours, that make her dishes extraordinary.
Course 4: Granny Jill’s Queens Pudding
Dessert was the only meal I wasn’t quite convinced with. The Tonka bean ice-cream was faultless, and the peach curd was a sharp yet sweet contrast to the ice-cream. The pudding itself was a too dense and didn’t quite punctuate an otherwise brilliantly prepared four course meal. If it were substituted with a more spongy pudding, it would have made a world of a difference to the dish on a whole.
With that being said, food is subjective and someone else might quite enjoy the consistency. The winter menu is a great way of entertaining guests and friends, it showcases real Cape flavours and our diverse local ingredients. The special menu is available until the end of August, so you have enough time to book a table and indulge in one of the best winter offerings the city has to offer.
Pictures: Nidha Narrandes