In preparation for our Stellenbosch trip a couple of weekends ago, I did a little bit of research of where to go.
My first point of call? Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Why? Well, I want to see what real people say about something that they have experienced. Out of the rather large amount of people that got back to me, almost everyone mentioned that we visit Tokara.
So when I saw that they were the farm right next to the farm that we were staying at, I knew we were destined to visit them.
We reserved our seats for a spot just as the restaurant opened (6.30) to try and see the sun setting over the valley. As it turns out, that it really was the longest night of the year and so all we saw was this:
No problem though. The view was just going to be an added benefit to the food we were about to experience.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect in terms of the menu and at first when I looked at it I was slightly terrified. You see, I’m not exactly what one would call and adventurous eater. Actually the opposite of that would be the best way to describe me. Trying new things scares me.
But it’s not every day that you find yourself sitting in a fancy restaurant overlooking the gorgeous wine valley (that you wish you could call home), in the company of your handsome husband – with no kids in sight. How does that saying go? “No time like the present” or “Now or never” or even “Oh heck, just try it you pansy“. (That last one might have been me)
What I liked about the menu was that there were some rather daring options to choose from (that perfectly catered to Seth and his tastes), but there was also a safe but delicious option for me to indulge in. I have always wanted to eat at a restaurant where every single item of food on the plate was there for a reason. Each little bit of crunch or zing and more adds to how you enjoy the meal as a whole.
Still celebrating our mention in Living and Loving and wanting to treat ourselves, we decided to go for the whole experience.
After ordering a bottle of the Tokara Shiraz 2011, we placed our starter and mains orders and while we were waiting, we were plated with a single spoon serving of smoked trout and tomato with fennel and pink caviar. That’s not the full description, I kind of lost my train of thought as he mentioned more and more things that I would definitely classify as “adventurous food”. Out of the whole description of what that single spoon contained, I think I had only ever eaten tomato.
But like, YOLO and all that. So in it went. As it turns out, it was amazing! Like really, seriously good. I really need to get on to being more adventurous, my taste buds love it.
For starters I had the “Harissa chicken with yoghurt, almonds, rainbow carrots, orange & ginger sauce” and Seth had “Roasted cob with crisp calamari, mussels, squid ink brioche, garlic & lemon cream”. You guys, my photos in the dimly lit restaurant just don’t do these meals justice – they just don’t. It was a taste explosion in my mouth and it was delicious.
While waiting for our mains we were plated with another single spoon serving of apple sorbet and yoghurt. It cleared the palate very nicely for what we were about to tuck into. For mains I had Beef fillet with pommes purée, glazed mushrooms, parmesan & mushroom jus and Seth had Pan-fried springbok with cauliflower purée, brandy prunes & sauce miroir). My fillet melted in my mouth, just the way it should. It’s making my tummy rumble just thinking about it.
Can I also say that at this point I was starting to get full. Don’t be fooled by the pretty presentation, it was not one of those rip off things where you are given an amazing looking plate of food that wouldn’t even fill a child.
Despite how full I was and how many tasting journeys I had been on, I saw chocolate on the dessert menu and knew I had to succumb. I was NOT sorry. The Chocolate mousse with coffee ice cream, mascarpone & almond dacquoise was absolutely delicious. Perfect combination of flavours – perfect way to end the night. Seth was slightly more adventurous with his dessert and tried out the Gorgonzola ice cream with red wine beets, walnut, mint & honeycomb. Yes, that’s cheese ice cream with red wine beetroot. It was probably because of how much we had already indulged that day, but this was the only thing that we didn’t thoroughly enjoy. Each item on it’s own was amazing, but combined with everything, it was just a bit too extreme.
Obviously we finished it up with coffee and little balls of chocolate goodness.
Overall I must say that we had a fabulous evening. My taste buds went on a journey that they never, ever would have done under normal circumstances and we really enjoyed our time there.
Price wise this is not an every day kind of place, which makes it absolutely perfect for any special occasion, even if that occasion is just being away from your kids for a couple of nights 😉