Delaire Graff

Reopened in June this year, tens of millions have been spent in rebuilding the Delaire Estate, and one must add to great effect. Situated high on the Helshoogte Pass with breathtaking, panoramic views, the restaurant itself is an impressive sight. Entry is up a long, ramp (the largest peach-pip floor in the world) alongside a flowing water channel and glassed-off cellar. A giant fireplace and curvaceous couches invite patrons to the dining room, a voluminous space with the decor modern, but soft on the eye. French chanson plays softly in the background. The French sommelier tastes the wine on your behalf before pouring. Service is prompt, but at a satisfyingly leisurely pace. Chef Christiaan Campbell (of the Cellars Restaurant at The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel fame) “Sunshine Cuisine” places great emphasis on quality ingredients and turning commonplace dishes into urbane cuisine. The menu has hamburgers (R125) and fish in beer batter with chips (R125) alongside which you might find cream of artichoke soup with shitake mushrooms and quail and a crayfish lasagne. The beef is organic, flown in daily from Kwazulu Natal, where it is specially raised on free pastures; light in colour, it makes for heavenly fillet. I recommend the truffle and bone marrow sauce with the fillet. The paprika and honey glazed beef short rib (R165) is equally superlative. Portions are generous for this quality. For dessert, the pistachio nougat is unbeatable and dissolves on the tongue. This is an upmarket restaurant of international standing, and although expensive for South Africa, it is good value for the overseas market. Having only opened a few months ago, this promises to become one of South Africa’s top gourmet destinations.

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