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Image 1: About 20min away from Cape Town city centre is Constantia Valley, one of South Africa's leading wine regions.
Image 2: We came a LONG way for this meal! We were so excited that we finally arrived at the wine estate Constantia Uitsig where the restaurant is located.
Image 3: Even though we really wanted to eat straight away, we were way too early. So we first checked in our room and waited.
Image 4: Very spacious living room.
Image 5: We watched the clock to tick and once it hit 19:30, we locked the door and ran to the restaurant!
Image 7: Passed a lounge area.
Image 8: www.constantia-uitsig.com/la-colombe Chef: Luke Dale-Roberts
Gourmand Menu (7-course): ZAR 600 (about USD$85)
Luke has left the kitchen in 2010.
Image 9: Obviously we were the first to show up.
Image 10: They welcomed the three of us with sparkling wine from their own vineyard.
Image 11: Into another dining area where we got a good view of their kitchen performance throughout the meal.
Image 12: Knowing that we came a long way, they knew we would go for their Gourmand Menu. They also paired each course with a regional wine which included a few from their own vineyard.
Image 13: Luke came out with an array of amuse bouche. A chilled sweet parmesan Crema Catalana dusted with apple granite. What a warm welcome!
Image 14: Then a creamy foie gras cube coated with crispy grated parmesan.
Image 15: And probably one of the best items of the night - Springbok tartar and fried pork skin with honey dip! The diced tender meat had a perfect balance of sweet-saltiness along with a nice kick of acidity from the vinaigrette marinate. What a great canapé!
Image 16: A set of seasoning, butter, olive oil and balsamic vinegar for our bread.
Image 17: One final surprise before the first course. A cute looking tree!
Across the middle was a thin strip of foie gras terrine with a layer of artichoke sandwiched in between, covered with crushed nuts.
Image 18: Branching off was chicken breast! Foie gras and meat are not a usual combo for a starter. These two pieces of corn-feed chicken breast were surprisingly good! I never had chicken with such a remarkable smooth texture!
Image 19: Finally, our first course -- fricassee of veal sweetbread and langoustine with glazed aubergine and chick pea salad dressed in a miso and shitake teriyaki sauce. A dish of strong Japanese influence!
Image 20: Another choice for the first course - sautéed quail and tiger prawn in miso butter with sweetcorn and salad. The food here definitely reflects Luke's experience in Singapore, Korea, and Japan.
Image 21: I am not a fan of lamb tongue but this smoked version together with mussel, apple purée and grated lime was excellent indeed!
Image 22: The other choice of the second course was seared foie gras resting on a slice of poached quince and a unique rooibos vanilla custard! Rooibos is a South African plant used to make redbush tea.
Image 23: That was not all. Underneath was rhubarb purée and wild cape cherry jus. A bit too much distraction to the delicate silky foie gras though!
Image 24: It seemed we ate a lot already, but this was only the third course - a soup course. On this plate: truffle-infused quail egg, quail leg confit, and pieces of seared quail breast dusted with cepe powder.
Image 25: Poured in an intense quail and lentil velouté.
Image 26: It was a very strong soup and the confit quail leg was a bit too salty. Difficult to notice the truffle aroma from the quail egg...
Image 27: The fourth course - a mini fish bowl glass containing risotto and bone marrow.
Image 28: Our server then filled it with finely chopped parsley, charred fillet, and diced carrot and mushroom. It was paired with a glass of Pinotage, South African's signature grape variety.
Image 29: A very powerful risotto in an intense beef and red wine jus. It was a shame that the crunchy texture of the carrot, rather than the texture of the rice, dominated the dish!
Image 30: Another course with strong Eastern influence - grilled halibut in a superb sweet miso paste with cubes of crunchy slow-cooked carrot, salted fig "XO" dressing, pea & coriander purée, fresh cream and lime mousse, garnished with wild sorrel. Brilliant course, but a bit too much going on for one dish!
Image 31: All three choices for the main course were excellent - pan fried springbok with creamed celeriac and garlic confit drizzled with fig and thyme jus.
Image 32: Or, a medium-rare "sous vide" veal fillet resting on sugar snap in morel jus with a pancetta crisp accompanied with a polenta and morel cannelloni.
Image 33: Or, an assortment of suckling pig in ferna branca jus with a cube of beetroot, smoked chick pea, celeriac purée, creamed leeks and a pork crackling garnish. Each dish had enough components to keep us entertained.
Image 34: Moving on to dessert. Apple napoleon on beetroot puree with apple sorbet and a chocolate tube...
Image 35: stuffed with frozen beetroot parfait.
Image 36: A final, and a creative, course, a "Three Tea and Chocolate Tasting". Starting with an "Earl Grey Kit Kat" on the top left...
Image 37: ... a quenelle of Chai (spice milk tea) ice cream and dome of dark chocolate fondant...
Image 38: ... with a Jasmine tea white chocolate sauce. This course was interestingly paired with a sweet Cabernet Sauvignon Signull Hill Empereur Rouge 2005 - Like ruby port (but unfortified) with strong red fruit!
Image 39: It was a big meal but we were still able to finish the petits-fours: madeleine, truffle, and pistachio on white chocolate.
Image 40: A high quality meal at a beautiful location! No wonder it is one of the best restaurants in the country!