Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Birthday lunch at Overture

A restaurant for a great celebration or just for fun
To celebrate John's recent birthday we were taken to Overture by our friend Angela, who was visiting from London. We wrote a week or so ago that both John’s SD card on his camera was corrupted and the photos on Lynne's phone also disappeared, so we had no photographs - technology! Angela has now sent us her pictures, we so wanted to tell you about our excellent lunch
Overture is on Hidden Valley wine estate, high up in the Helderberg mountains in Stellenbosch. You turn up the Annandale Road and follow the signs after Peter Falke Wines. The views of the Cape are sensational. The restaurant has a large terrace with see-through screens if the wind is blowing or the weather is inclement. In the winter you can eat inside. It is run by renowned award winning top 10 chef Bertus Basson, who is very talented.
We were given a lovely table on the terrace with superb views. Their three course menu costs R550 at present, although there are many, many extras included. The price of the Six course degustation menu is R760. We discovered that water is complimentary, still or sparkling; they obviously have their own bottling facilities
This is one of the many amuse bouches they served us; there were five in total. It was watermelon, fresh and pickled, with a tomato foam, and crisp slices of deep fried garlic. Sounds strange, it was delightfully refreshing.
The other three: In the front, a plate of crisp baby vegetables. Spread on the side of the plate was a smooth fish paté coated in herbs. Behind that the damper bread made in the open fire, a board of olives with good olive tapenade and a lard candle on top of biltong shavings, which you could dip into with the bread as it burned down. There was also a small paper packet of tiny, crisp fish croquettes and kale leaves which had been dipped into chickpea flour and deep fried and some deep fried chickpeas, served with a garlic aioli to dip into, all hinting at Cape Malay influence - sorry no picture, we demolished them on sight, very flavourful and delish
The first course - there was a choice of three, one being a vegan option. We chose the tender slices of roast pork loin, topped with spinach leaves, crisp fried potato shares, sliced white strawberry, and crisp pork crackling on a good asparagus puree. John ordered a bottle of the Hidden Valley Sauvignon Blanc and we drank this with most of the meal.
One of the main courses, ordered by both Angela and John, was the beautifully cooked sliced sirloin with seared onions and a good jus on a parsnip/celeriac? purée. John had a glass of the Hidden Gems Bordeaux blend with his main. The ladies stayed on the white wine. Lynne ordered the fish option; such fresh hake, pearly flakes of fish, perfectly cooked, painted brown by a sticky miso glaze - quite superb and one to copy at home. This was served with sweet baby turnips, on mushrooms and kale, with a sea flavoured dashi broth. We also opted for a side order of crushed potatoes roasted in duck fat.  After the main we were served palate cleanser lollypops of frozen fresh crushed strawberry
Angela ordered the Soufflé at the beginning of the meal, knowing she would not regret it. It has to be pre-ordered; there is a 30 minute advance notice, if memory is correct. We rather regretted not ordering it. It is a Boeretroos soufflé made with Ideal Milk, with a thick, unctuous caramel sauce
This is poured on at the table. It came with ice-cream and crisp crumbs. John went for the cheese platter which included Camembert, Brie and shaved Huguenot, served with an apple onion jam, apple purée and some good bread. Lynne went for the Spiced Apple Purée sorbet served with a set vanilla panna cotta and cooked pear squares, with a very good, tart apricot puree, and a good crumble. They did rather ruin it by including some frogspawn. Oh, sorry, sago. If you went to boarding school, you too might not like it
We all had black coffees to end; the espresso is very, very good. This tiny amuse was served with it, a good Swiss meringue on top of a lemon curd on a crisp buttery biscuit, and it was no larger than a 50c piece. The presentations are amazing, the service is good - there are many Michelin service touches, like small tables for ladies’ handbags but getting ice on a very warm day was a bit of an issue, we had to ask more than once.
A really great meal which began at 12.30 and finished about 5, so a very relaxed celebration. We will definitely be back but perhaps wait after the season is over. Booking is essential. https://www.hiddenvalleywines.co.za/pages/overture-restaurant-at-hidden-valley
Oh, and if you don't want a full meal, Bertus has recently opened The Deck alongside the dam, where they have a small and simple menu of great burgers and fish and chips. No reservations as they are weather dependent; call Overture first to see if they are open. Tel: 021 880 2721
All these photographs are by courtesy of and © Angela Redman
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