Meat-Free Monday’s have become some what of a regular occurrence in our home. Not just on the first day of the week, but throughout. Red meat has definitely taken a back seat this year on our culinary adventures however fish and seafood seem to be replacing what once was juicy large steaks on our plates. Innovation for a meat-free vegetarian dish is something to be commended and Executive Chef Archie Maclean has thoughtfully mastered an uncomplicated menu that leaves even the biggest carnivore wanting more.
Catharina’s Restaurant is situated on the breathtakingly beautiful Steenberg wine estate nestled in the Tokay valley along the Constantia wine route. Its breathtaking views are the perfect setting for a day well spent out in wine country sipping on some of South Africa’s best and well loved wines.
The iconic old world Constantia architecture sets the tone for an afternoon reviling in the regal delights of what’s on offer at the estate. Catharina’s Restaurant pays adulation to the woman who began it all in the 17th Century, Catharina Ras. Her vision of pure, uncomplicated fresh food has been carried out all these years and includes highlighting ingredients on the plate picked and sourced from the estates gardens.
The interior is surprisingly modern and trendy. Keeping with the old world exterior, the wooden tables and simplistic terrace is a complete 180 degree turn from walking through the front doors into the restaurant. As if you entered the closet to Narnia; a colourful plush ample seating area allows you to relax while sipping on the estates finest before being seated in one of their many seating areas of the restaurant.
The fresh crisp linens, touches of blue threading through the restaurant and fresh flowers creates the perfect amalgamation between the beauty of the grounds and the inspired world traveller decor.
Max is quite literally the proudest peacock, and he stood tall with his feathers spread out for most of our lunch. He has obviously cottoned onto the fact that he has become quite the attraction and I’m sure has appeared in many Instagram posts to date.
The ambience was set, sipping on the Silverthorn – The Green Man MCC and it’s deliciously uncomplicated flavour notes and fine bubble, while watching Max strut his stuff outside the large glass doors where we were seated, set the tone for an incredible feast to follow.
The menu is filled with easily adapted well loved dishes that Chef Archie has formulated to leave the vegetarian diner feeling part of a dining experience instead of the usual stuffed pepper forgotten about diner who doesn’t eat meat.
The Summer menu is a five course extravaganza of flavours familiar to the vegetarian palate but perfected in a new and innovative way. Besides the tasting menu, there were a number of vegetarian dishes available from the al la carte menu.
A great meal begins with the breaking of bread and here our bread already came piping hot and sliced. Our incredible waiter Eddie looked after our every need and there was an incredible banter between all the staff that made us feel part of the furniture of the restaurant.
A vegetarian diner sceptical would have been amazed that the dishes on the menu showed though thought and evolution and presented classic dishes extremely well.
The 5 Course Vegetarian Summer Tasting Menu
Risotto; Truffle pea, mushroom and parmesan risotto with fresh pea shoots and a pumpkin seed salad paired with the Silverthorn The Green Man 2014 MCC
Cashew and Chilli crusted Tofu with pickled shamiji mushrooms, cos lettuce and a suit salad jelly paired with the Steenberg Chardonnay 2017
Tortellini; Tomato and Feta tortellini with dehydrated mushrooms, sweet potato and rooibos puree, pickled baby beetroot, broccolini and mushroom sauce paired with the Steenberg Catharina’s 2015
Cheese course; Langbaken Karoo Sunset, roasted pear puree, walnut and fig salami, candied celery and mustard crackers paired with the Allesveloren Port 2011
Coffee; Coffee mousse, peanut butter ice cream, dehydrated milk froth and caramel popcorn paired with the Blaauklippen Noble Late Harvest 2012
Each course was perfectly paired with a selection of the estates well loved labels as well as the Wine Owners well loved wines from various other estates. The (excuse the pun) bubbly sommelier John has us in stitches with his cross talk and wordplay and added to the delights of the afternoon.
Seated by the large glass doors, watching Max parade at the window made for a truly a spectacular afternoon of culinary delight. Fresh flavours that left me wanting to experiment more of this type of cooking, enjoying the fresher foods and disputing the age old idea of vegetarian food = carbs on carbs and leaves you bloated.
I have left Catharina’s feeling inspired and more mindful about Vegetarian cuisine and I look forward to visiting again soon to taste more of the culinary delights that Chef Archie and his team philosophically thread together.
|DAYS:||7 DAYS A WEEK|
|BREAKFAST:||07H00 – 10H00|
|LUNCH:||12h00 – 15h00|
|DINNER:||18h30 – 21h30|
|TEL:||+27 21 713 7178|
WE ARE WHEELCHAIR FRIENDLY
Although I was invited to review the Restaurant, all of the photographs and opinions are my own and I would not endorse a product or establishment that I truly didn’t enjoy an authentic culinary experience at.