It was Friday and Deon’s birthday, 9 September 2016. Both reasons to find a new restaurant for lunch. Since moving to Cape Town at the end of 2010, we visited quite a number of restaurants. Many of these restaurants were great, others not so great, but after today, we have two that are competing for the first position on our own Best Western Cape Restaurant list.
We love a variety of cuisines: Greek, Italian, Spanish, French, South African and many more, but we love deconstructed food which keeps us guessing. We all know what to expect when ordering lasagne, moussaka or a steak. But when the menu reads: Braised Williston Lamb Shoulder, Roasted Kidney, Broad Beans, Fried Potato and Tomato Fondant, please do not expect a plate with a portion of braised lamb, beans and potatoes which looks like lamb, beans and potatoes. At Restaurant Jardine Deon was presented with an artwork of what looked like a bed of soft potatoes underneath a little mound of pulled meat, surrounded by broad beans, dollops of tomato fondant and a jus. On top of the mound was a roasted kidney. The guessing started when Deon tasted the kidney – it had no kidney taste as we know it, but an unknown, pleasant, savoury taste. Every bit of the dish kept him guessing.
My adventure started when the friendly waitron served my Pan Roasted Angel Fish with Porcini Veloute; Mushroom Duxelles and Glazed Bone Marrow. Did the sauce and little dollops which accompanied the fish taste like the centre of the earth or could it be kelp? Could it be the fifth taste, umami? Scientists recently took a closer look at the human tongue and discovered a fifth taste which they named umami. Umami is a delicious non-sweet, sour, bitter, salty taste, almost like Marmite or Parmesan Cheese.
And yes, dessert. Deon had a beautiful Selection of South African Cheese with condiments such as Marmelade and prune jelly. I just had to order the Valrhona Chocolate Torte, Hazelnut ice Cream and Cocoa Tuille. It was a masterpiece.
Chef George Jardine is the man behind Restaurant Jardine in Andringa Street, Stellenbosch. Born in Edinburgh, now living in Cape Town and also the celebrated chef of Jordan Restaurant, he is truly a gift to Cape Town.
The other contender for first place on our list? Of course, Chef’s Warehouse in Breë Street, Cape Town, with chef Liam Tomlin. How fortunate are we not to live in Cape Town with restaurants like these and world class chefs!