“Spring” comes to mind again and again when I recall my dining experience at Gåte Restaurant in Stellenbosch. It could very well be the extraordinary lush landscape surrounding the eatery. It could also be the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you step into the restaurant and realise you’re truly somewhere special. Or how each course delivered to your table boasts a palette of bright colours, high drama and mind-bending flavours.
There is nothing simple about the wine or the food at Gåte at Quoin Rock. As soon as you step into the entrance, you’re greeted by a water feature unlike anything you’ve seen before. It extends from the floor to the second storey of the building and pulsates water from the bottom to the top. In hindsight, it is the perfect introduction to your lunch experience. A short walk into the restaurant and you are blinded by the beauty before you. Glass floor-to-ceiling walls invite the vineyards into the room. Take a moment to appreciate the aesthetic and architecture. This space clearly was created as an ode to Mother Nature, and the food is prepared accordingly.
The lunch menu is a favourite and there is no doubting why. The food is that much better when the sun is shining and the light radiates onto your plate. Choose a table outside if the weather plays along, you won’t be sorry that you did.
I have heard many murmurs of a cigar at Gåte that would blow my foodie mind.
The 6-course lunch menu starts with the smoking ashtray. The dish arrives at your table in a little glass dome filled with a smoked tomato espuma topped with an edible ash, seasoned with tomato powder and activated charcoal. The cigar, that resembles a real one, is actually potato bread. As you lift the dome the smoke escapes and you’re hit with a waft of rich smoke. At the same time that your tastebuds are working hard to decipher whether you’re eating ash or a meal, your brain has already recognised the deliciousness. The cigar is worthy of all the hype.
The next course brings a bit of drama to the table. The fresh West Coast oysters with kola foam, pickled and compressed green apple, caviar emulsion, bacon dash, drizzled with a light chilli oil arrive with dry ice creating a smouldering effect.
On to the third course and the dishes get more innovative. The caprese salad is presented unusually in a whey dome topped with meringue shards, baby tomatoes filled with tomato gel, balsamic and olive oil pearls and fresh buffalo mozzarella. A torch is lit to melt the dome and it melts into the perfect caprese bite.
The lamb croquette was tender and delectable. It was topped with Stanford cheese foam with a sauerkraut and cranberry gel and cheese tuille. Every bit as delicious as it sounds.
Perfectly prepared Gemsbok with smoked potato mash, broccoli, carrot puree, dukka spiced crumb, pickled shimeji mushrooms finished with a red wine jus accounted for the fifth course.
The creative dessert to top off this intensely satisfying menu is the coconut glass, Malibu sorbet, coconut panna cotta, burnt pineapple gel, mint salsa and a brick pastry tuille – also making an appearance amid smoke and mirrors.
The food can only be described as exceptional and is paired with carefully curated sensational wines from the farm itself.
Everything about the lunch experience is refreshing, from the design of the restaurant to the meals and the wines. Cape Town is never going to be short of exciting food experiences or delicious foods, but Gåte is right up there with the best of them.
You will walk away with a spring in your step and a plan to come right back as soon as you possibly can.
Contact: 021 888 4750
Address: Quoin Rock Wine Estate, 7600 Knorhoek Rd, Stellenbosch
Website: Gåte at Quoin Rock
Pictures: Nidha Narrandes