There is nothing cheap about a winelands lunch or dinner. It’s understandable why. World-class cuisine in a picture-perfect setting is bound to set you back a bit. Which is one of the many reasons why I love dining at Terra Del Capo. That, and the irresistible truffle polenta chips, which I can’t seem to ever get enough of.
Anthonij Rupert Wine Farm is a breath of fresh Franschhoek air. The lush green gardens with oversized trees curve around the wine-tasting building which houses Terra Del Capo. Two cheetahs guard the entrance, art forms a big part of the aesthetic here. The restaurant is small, so book ahead to avoid disappointment.
If like me, you have dined here before, you know to expect. The food is going to be faultless, the service impeccable and the wine glorious. The Anthonij Rupert Syrah is one of the best wines I have had the pleasure of devouring in the Cape, that is a big statement but you have to savour it to understand. It is bold, seamlessly smooth and has a velvety finish. It is the kind of wine you should be careful of because before you know it, you are on bottle number three and you can’t seem to get enough.
I am very biased with their Syrah, I unashamedly believe it pairs beautifully with everything. The price point of the tapas dishes here always surprises me. I expect them to change when I visit next, and when they don’t I am thrilled, but also confused. After spending thousands at some eateries close-by, with a lesser quality end product, I am always bowled over by their prices. Mostly grateful that they understand that great food doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and could be affordable with the same elevated experience.
The tapas dishes range from R55 – R180. You can share a bottle of wine, with four tapas dishes and pay less than R500. That is sheer value for money in Franschhoek.
Dishes you must order include the rave-worthy truffle polenta chips (because this is the only way you should ever eat polenta). The Italian mini burrata with rocket, heirloom tomatoes and a sweet, pungent, balsamic vinaigrette, is also the one to try. The burrata is creamy, the tomatoes add a burst of sweet acidic flavour and the dish all around is refreshing.
From the seafood options, please try the salt and pepper squid with a simple, yet delectable, roasted chilli dressing. If you want something lighter, then the smoked trout salad dressed with fennel, apple, golden beetroot and a tart honey apple cider vinaigrette. It is a luxury on a hot summer’s day like this day. The flavours come together meticulously – sweet, salty, crunchy and soft.
A newbie on the menu is the zataar spiced pulled lamb piadina, pickled red onion, with a smooth labneh dip with pomegranate. It is a fragrant Morrocan inspired dish that is flavourful and very filling.
While our dishes arrive at the table, in the order you prefer, you can watch the wine-bottling line shift into gear. If you love people-watching, this is another level of fun. The packers are thorough as they go about their job, their experienced hands faultlessly moving as if they have a life of their own.
It is a fascinating and very unique way to spend lunch.
When the meals have been shared with great company, talking over world events and taking time to appreciate the art form of wine-packing in front of us, it is time to order dessert.
You are at the mercy of the kitchen every day. The carrot cake or tiramisu are the options on offer. Our choice was perfect, the carrot cake was soft, luxurious and crumbled onto my fork with a scoop of cream cheese icing.
It also pairs well with the Syrah, surprise surprise!
After many hours of lazily sipping on wine, taste-testing tapas, and overflowing conversation, I figured out why this spot always holds a special place in my heart. It is food, served with heart, from the heart, for people who heart good food and great wine, at prices that can be loved too.
You can also host private events, enjoy a wine-tasting afternoon or book a dinner party at Terra Del Capo. The space is cleverly designed to accommodate many requests in small numbers. Great food, great prices and gracious wine, what else could you ask for on a trip to the winelands? The answer is in the taste, trust me!
Pictures: Nidha Narrandes