Monday, May 09, 2011

Warwick Winery steps up to the (tapas) plate.

I have, on many occasions, sampled Warwick‘s beautiful Bordeaux Trilogy Blend or divulged in their succulent Cabernet Sauvignon, but never once have I expected this oasis in Klapmuts to send out a warning to all great chefs in the cape. Well it’s happening, and with gusto.

Mark Springhorn, head chef at the Warwick deli, and on his 7th month in the kitchen, has produced something beyond the extraordinary. The tapas menu has been in place for one week, yes, thats 7 days, 168 hours, 10 080 minutes and is already turning heads. This baby is learning to walk before it can crawl. Hell, this baby is running.

I sampled a fairly large selection of the items on the menu – and by that I mean all except one (The Chef’s soup of the day).

Find my top 3 below (in order), and a link to the full menu at the bottom of this article:

  1. Twice baked mini herbed goats cheese soufflé, wild garlic cream and a sweet red pepper preserve. (R25)
  2. Norwegian Salmon smoked with rooibos and oak chips on sweet cucumber with buttermilk-dill dressing. (R35)
  3. Lamb racks stewed in a sweet and sour tamarind sauce served with poppadums. (R45)

The above three were absolute killer dishes. The soufflé made me weak at the knees – the contrasting flavours of the subtly sour cheese and the tongue twisting sweetness of the red pepper preserve sent my guests and I into a whirlwind of “oohs” and “aahs”. Enjoyed with delicate slices of freshly baked, warm ciabatta – this took the cake, ate it and still wanted more afterwards (what a naughty and greedy little soufflé!).

The Norwegian Salmon was a fresh, summery and crisp little niblet. The fish preparation was executed with utter brilliance, smoked with rooibos and oak chips, and still as luscious as can be hoped. Set onto a little bed of pickled onion and sweet cucumber. The flavours were a mélange of beauty.

The bronze medal went to the lamb, cooked to medium, erring on medium-well, and served with a sour tamarind sauce. I absolutely loved the combination of the almost citrus influenced tamarind sauce with the malty poppadums.

On the other hand, I felt that the cos salad with artichokes lacked that vital X-factor and fell slightly short in comparison to the revelations that were my top 3; however, I did feel that the artichokes were beautifully prepared and perfectly tender. Similarly with the sole paupiettes, the sauce was somewhat basic in flavour and failed to impress. Yet once again, the fish was succulent and excellently done.

The desserts left me speechless, and fit into a top 3 category of their own.

  1. Persian love cake, with almonds, honey and yoghurt. (R25)
  2. Chocolate brownies, white chocolate grenache, cranberries and pistachios. (R25)
  3. Spiced dark chocolate mousse with chilli. (R25)

I have quite literally never tasted anything as good as the Persian love cake. I can see why it so aptly named – I wanted to do more than just love it. As Josh Groban profoundly stated, It raised me up, so I could stand on mountains. Yes, that good. The chocolate brownies, thick slabs of melted, high cocoa content, mouth watering morsels of deliciousness. Decadence to the max. The chocolate mousse was delightful with its chilli hit and fluffy presence.

The setting is cosy and inviting, with a warm fire that crackles in the corner. Windows surround the indoor seating area and take your eyes out across the lake and onto the vineyards or across the quad to groups of happy picnic-ers.

Watch out Cape Town, Watch out Head chefs across the city, this guy is going places. Fast.

Here’s to eating. Deliciously.


Warwick Winery Deli

Rated: 4 “R’s”

(You’ll notice I’ve adjusted my grading system. Restaurants are now awarded “R’s” in stead of stars and, once again, this is more a category system than a comparison system.)

Tapas menu available for lunch, Monday – Sunday.

price range: R25 – R45 per dish

021 884 4410

Tapas Menu

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