Chefs Nic van Wyk and Westley Muller bring decades of shared experience to the Haute kitchen, where they recently launched a menu of modern, classically inspired dishes that neatly walks the line between inspired continental cuisine and informal fine dining. ‘What counts is working layers of flavour into each and every dish,’ says Muller.
Lamb Loin is served with an intense tomato basil jus, black rice and Provençal vegetables; Smoked Ham Hock is served with pork belly and Brussel sprouts; while a fragrant Cape Bouillabaisse makes the most of abundant local seafood; Smoked Franschhoek Trout is served with farm asparagus and herb butter gratin; love of continental cuisine is evident in the Veal Sweetbreads and Tongue with a veal jus and sauce soubise. Memorable saucing is a touchstone of the menu. ‘Sauces are what really form the foundation of a great dish,’ says Muller, who will, with van Wyk, happily spend two days reducing and refining a single sauce.
The new menu mirrors Haute Cabrière’s founding philosophy of Sun-Soil-Vine-Man. The estate’s sizeable vegetable gardens have been a boon for the chefs, with a steady supply of fresh asparagus, tomatoes, leeks, artichokes and herbs making their way from the farm to the prep stations each morning. Soon the kitchen will also offer a dedicated Garden Menu: a daily table d’hôte menu built around whatever is fresh from the fields that same morning.
In the six-course tasting menu dubbed The Marriage of Food and Wine, each dish is paired with a wine from the estate. The bright acidity of the Haute Cabrière Unwooded Pinot Noir is a perfect foil for the Asian Venison Tartare, while Braised Chargrilled Octopus in a salsa verde is an unforgettable match for the much-loved Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir. Paired with the Pierre Jourdan Blanc de Blancs, Muller’s superb Orange Soufflé is a memorable sweet ending to the tasting experience.
The tasting menu features wine pairings recommended by the cellarmaster. The à la carte menu offers diners more flexibility, with trained waiters on hand to walk diners through the expanded wine list that includes the full Haute Cabrière and Pierre Jourdan range alongside a focused selection of local estates.
‘If I had the choice I’d pair bubbly with everything,’ says van Wyk, ‘it’s the most versatile thing you can drink with food. Take anything on the menu and one of the Pierre Jourdan bubblies will pair beautifully with it.’
address: Franschhoek Pass (Lambrechts Road), Franschhoek | email: [email protected] | tel: 021 876 3688 | open: Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00 -15:00 and Tuesday to Saturday from 18:30 – 21:30