The President Hotel is a bit of an institution in Cape Town. It occupies a prime spot in the relatively wind-free area of Bantry Bay, near Sea Point, and its 349 rooms and apartments have catered for guests from all over the world. It also has arguably one of the most picturesque pool areas of any hotel in the country!
So, I knew all about The President Hotel when I received an invitation to their Presidential Wine Experience last week. The hotel hosted winemakers from across the country to showcase some of their finest offerings alongside delectable samples of the hotel’s new winter menu. Chef Craig Paterson certainly pulled out all the stops, and with entertainment supplied by The Blackbyrds, I knew this would be a night of sensory delights on several fronts.
My first pairing was a delightful glass of Blaauwklippen Diva Brut MCC 2014 topped with smoked salmon ‘soft serve’ and crystallised rose petal and fennel. Kleine Zalze offered a Cellar Selection Chardonnay 2015, which was served with a West Coast oyster, caviar and Bloody Mary gel that combined into what I can only describe as the equivalent of Christmas in your mouth.
The wines on offer were spectacular, Bouchard Finlayson‘s Sangiovese/Pinot Noir blend, the Hannibal 2014, being the star of the evening for me. Served with springbok lion with parsnip purée and cassis jus, the pairing cemented for me Chef Paterson’s ability to put together incredible dishes that not only taste good, but pair well with the hotel’s extensive wine list. When asked what he loves about what he does, Paterson says, ‘Food is like fashion – playing around with different colours, textures and flavours.’ And after tasting some of his creations, I couldn’t agree more.
The President Hotel is actively developing the Cape Winelands through initiatives such as this Presidential Wine Experience, and a recent partnership with Ilios Travel sees guests offered direct access to the dozens of excellent wine estates we have near Cape Town.
I can’t wait to go back (and visit the Islands Restaurant and newly renovated Botany Café), and I also welcome the effort the hotel is putting in to boosting one of our city’s biggest draw cards – wine tourism.