Thursday 3 June 2010

Eating humble pie and getting my just deserts

(Cheese Blintz with berry compote, sour cream, cinnamon, maple syrup)
(Sticky toffee pudding with dulce de leche ice cream and butterscotch sauce)
(Vanilla rice pudding with pear jam roasted pears and maple)

Not too long ago, I was engaged in conversation with a couple of people, not all of whom were friends, or who would forgive my , at times, rather strident opinions. We were talking about chef Micheal Broughton and the great food being served at Terroir on the Kleine Zalze estate in Stellenbosch. ' Wonderful food, pity about the dire decor', I added, and then proceeded to repeat the phrase 'dire decor' as it seemed to have left my companions speechless, and I thought I was making a point. Which I was. To the Sales and Marketing Manager of Kleine Zalze Wines, Ross Sleet, who had the grace to laugh at my subsequent discomfort. And it's not as if it the decor really is 'dire'; dire would ( for me, anyway) be cottagey and cramped. Which it isn't, it's just simple, some would argue elegantly so. Me? Well, I'm not really into sleek minimalism, I'm more a maximalism type of girl.... Anyway, the decor ( or lack thereof) has never put me off eating there, or having a great time doing so. But, having only been back in Cape Town for a couple of months, this declaration was clearly not the way to win friends and influence people... And I hoped that Ross would forget both me and my comment. Which, of course, he didn't.
So there I was making my way to Kleine Zalze having been invited to a press lunch at Terroir. Slowly, slowly getting back into the world of journalism that I left four years ago to go swanning around the world on luxury cruise ships. It was a gloriously hot unexpected winter's day, and we were eating al fresco. Not to appease my aesthetic sensibilities, of course, but simply because gorgeous days and gorgeous views aren't to be trifled with.
The lunch was one of those unexpectedly lovely small media affairs, which always leaves me intensely grateful for having been lucky enough to find my way in the world of journalism. Great food, wine, conversation, laughs - sometimes you forget this is a job.
And the reason for the lunch? To introduce the Terroir Green Season Menu. I love Cape Town winters. Not only is the weather not nearly as wet and miserable as those in Gauteng would insist on telling us, but it offers remarkably good value for money. Restaurants, recovering from the hectic summer rush, are still keen to keep their kitchens busy, and so offer the 2 and 3 course winter specials. Terroir offers 2 courses for R165 per person and a 3 course menu for R195 per person (lunch and dinner). The menu will change to alleviate any boredom should you decide to become a regular during the winter months, but hope and pray that the Pork trotter, deboned and served in a crispy rice wrapper with truffle, bacon lardons and mushrooms with a wholegrain sauce and the tiniest fried quail's egg on top is on offer. It is absolutely wonderful. (As an aside Bizerca Bistro was the first place to convert me into a trotter eating glutton with their's being served with seared scallop, I don't think they are offering any winter specials, but this bistro is well worth a visit. And if it is one of those warm winter's days, order their raw Norwegian salmon salad, served with goat's cheese and soy ginger dressing. Heavenly!) But as for Terrior, best of all the special is on until the 30 September 2010 which is practically summer anyway. It is a great restaurant as its many accolades and awards testify, and the food is truly delicious. I cheekily suggested to Micheal Broughton that he should introduce a Tasting Menu with wine paring to the public as well as the winter special. Hope he does. That way everyone can enjoy the rhythm of flavours as we did - 9 beautifully plated courses, including three of the most incredible deserts; deserts guaranteed to give you a sugar rush that will have you buzzing all the way back to Cape Town. Terroir has always has been a special occasion restaurant, but at these prices hungry recessionistas get to go as well.
You can make a reservation on 021 880 8167 or mail them on
And as for me? Why I'll be choosing my words carefully. No use biting the hands that I hope will feed me.
And yes, I will be learning to cook eventually. But tonight it's Woolies soup only.


  1. Ai nou maak jy my weer honger!

  2. Sam! I'm so excited about your blog. Love the profile pic and your writing which always make me giggle on the inside. XXX

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