Nestled against the foot of the hidden valley hills, above the picturesque village of Franschhoek, lies Haute Cabriere, who has long charmed visitors with its perfect marriage of fine wine and gourmet cuisine. The iconic family-owned estate is constantly evolving the menu at its acclaimed Cellar Restaurant to offer a culinary experience to winelands travellers like no other.
Embracing the Haute Cabriere philosophy of Sun-Soil-Vine-Man, a key component to the menu is to let the finest local product shine through on each dish. The upscale option of the three or six course tasting menu is for diners seeking a culinary journey through the farm’s food and wine offering. This comes in a vegan option which is perfect for anyone who has any food allergies (like me). Besides the marriage of food and wine set tasting menu, the restaurant offers an array of dishes that come in starter or mains sizing in order to appeal to your preference and lends towards ordering a plethora of dishes to truly emerge yourself in this fresh cuisine.
‘The tasting menu is built around what is available in the vegetable garden on the farm, changing daily to reflect what is fresh and in season,’ explains Chef Dennis Strydom. ‘I believe a tasting menu needs to be a different experience to the a la carte, it needs to be a unique offering.’
I opted for the six course vegan tasting menu which came with a pleasurable wine pairing, perfect for a slow Sunday afternoon while basking in the winter sun. The lunch began with a truffled cauliflower soup paired with a Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir, which was just what I needed to warm up. Then I enjoyed a chef’s salad with roast vegetables, hummus and a basil vinaigrette paired with a Pierre Jourdan Tranquille. The salad was fresh, light and totally delicious.
For mains an exotic beetroot and dill risotto with walnuts and greens paired with a Unwooded Pinot Noir was served. Then onto a vegetable bourguignon with pearled barley and tapenade with a Pinot Noir reserve. Finally to end off, for dessert I enjoyed a berry filled pancake with maple syrup, butternut sorbet and seed streusel paired with a Blanc de Blanc and as if one dessert wasn’t enough I then had a cocoa sorbet with poached pears in port, pecan nuts with a port wine reduction paired with a Pierre Jourdan Ratafia.
Dessert is always my favourite part of any meal, and this dessert did not disappoint. Monise, our extremely attentive, hilarious and warm waitress even threw in a brownie for me as she knew she had to satisfy my sweet tooth for me to truly enjoy this culinary journey.
The three course menu is R395 and the six course is R515 per person, each with a recommended wine with each course. Besides Haute Cabriere having the most exquisite view of the mountain with landscape photo ops that make you feel like you have been whisked away overseas, the Cellar Restaurant’s bathroom was by far my favourite (weird? I think not!). To find the bathroom, you need to walk down a unique stone staircase and through a passage that is reminiscent of a medieval castle as it takes you underground towards the cellar. It is incredible and seems straight out of a Game of Thrones.
Be sure to take a family Sunday drive to Franschhoek and stop by Haute Cabriere to enjoy their magical wines, tantalising cuisine and most of all their picture perfect location.
Photography Romi Stoch