A For­aged Meal

SLOW Magazine - - Contents - Text: Paula Whit­taker Im­age © Bruce Boyd Pho­tog­ra­phy

Near the sea­side vil­lage of Her­manus in the Western Cape lies Wildekrans Bou­tique Wine Es­tate. This in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed, award-win­ning vine­yard over­look­ing Walker Bay in the Bot River Val­ley has far more to of­fer vis­i­tors than just wine – a meal at For­age Restau­rant is cer­tain to be a mem­o­rable oc­ca­sion.

The restau­rant’s name refers to what the kitchen team does on a daily ba­sis to pre­pare meals for pa­trons – they for­age. Walk­ing through the es­tate each morn­ing, they search for the in­gre­di­ents that will be found on the menu. The menu evolves nat­u­rally, with the sea­sons and weather dic­tat­ing what will be served. The restau­rant refers to this as “in­dige­nous din­ing”.

What can­not be for­aged on the Wildekrans Es­tate is sourced from other farms and lo­cal ar­ti­sans within a 100 km ra­dius of the restau­rant, en­sur­ing that ev­ery­thing used in the kitchen is grown and reared lo­cally.

The chefs at For­age use old-world culi­nary tech­niques to pre­pare the food – but you will no­tice that mod­ern in­spi­ra­tion plays a huge role, es­pe­cially in pre­sen­ta­tion.

The day that I dined at For­age was a unique ex­pe­ri­ence to say the least. It be­gan with fresh ash bread with a cream cheese cen­tre served with a range of herb-in­fused but­ters. The amuse-bouche then came in a closed glass bowl filled with smoke. Upon re­mov­ing the lid and let­ting the smoke bil­low out, yel­low­tail ravi­oli with duck egg mayo and black gar­lic purée was re­vealed.

The menu is di­verse, cater­ing to most tastes. I found it hard to set­tle on a starter with choices such as the African Tor­toise, which is spring­bok tartare with a quail egg yolk, and wa­terblom­metjie pickle; Shore Line, a seafood dish made us­ing Whale Coast rock and sand mus­sels with cham­pagne jelly; bobotie, ac­com­pa­nied by lamb dumplings and cur­ried peach foam; and Un­der the Leaves, fea­tur­ing for­est mush­room bubbles with ed­i­ble soil and truf­fle moss.

I opted for the Shore Line, and was not dis­ap­pointed when a dish which looked as though it had been plucked from a mer­maid’s din­ing ta­ble was set be­fore me. Served in an abalone shell, the sub­tle flavours of the cham­pagne jelly per­fectly com­ple­mented the wild blue sage, along with the gen­er­ous por­tion of mus­sels and clams. One of my lunch com­pan­ions chose the African Tor­toise, which cer­tainly lived up to its name as the dish is sculpted to re­sem­ble a tor­toise.

Op­tions for mains in­clude Koel­brook Pig, hon­eyed pork served with a sweet potato milk­tart and ap­ples; the Afrikaner, 100-day aged Afrikaner beef sir­loin with smoked onion and potato fon­dant; and the Stan­ford Quail and Hay, served with hay­baked quail breast with con­fit legs.

My main course, the quail dish, came with a lit­tle side plate with a glass cloche over it. In­side was a nest of thinly sliced, crisp potato cradling three crumbed quails’ eggs. I moved this nest over to my main plate to en­joy it along with the per­fectly pink quail (pre­pared in two ways), root veg­gies, bar­ley, and duck egg mayo.

For dessert, we could choose be­tween The Ap­ple Or­chard, con­sist­ing of an ap­ple­and-cin­na­mon par­fait with hon­ey­comb and salted caramel pop­corn; Jelly and Cus­tard, a gourmet ver­sion of an old­school sta­ple with cran­berry and kapok­bos, ap­ple and liquorice buchu, and hon­ey­suckle crème anglaise; and the Choco­late, con­sist­ing of a Klip­pies and pe­can choco­late bar, choco­late mousse, choco­late dust, and chicory root ice-cream.

My choice, The Ap­ple Or­chard, was the per­fect blend of sub­tle cream flavours and sweet­ness. The dessert was pre­sented as a white orb, which, when cracked open, re­vealed ap­ple sor­bet at the core. Sur­round­ing the par­fait, dots of tof­fee and salted caramel pop­corn brought sweet­ness and crunch to this de­lec­ta­ble or­chard.

The fresh­est in­gre­di­ents found on Wildekrans Es­tate have trans­lated into a sea­sonal feast at For­age Restau­rant.

For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www.end­lessvine­yards.co.za.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.