Reasons to eat at Bistrot Bizerca this Summer

Location
Moving from Jetty street last year to Bree street (or Heritage Square) was possibly the best thing that the restaurant could have done. It’s across the road from my office and a mere km or 2 down the hill from my house. Happiness!

In all seriousness though, the current location makes it a dream for any city dweller or tourist looking for a place that offers quality cuisine in a casual but modern and stylish setting.

If you’re familiar with the general parking situation in Cape Town’s CBD, you’ll know it can often be a soul-destroying nightmare. Luckily though, there is a large parking lot just across the road from Bizerca which makes choosing it as a dining spot just that much more appealing (I loathe searching for parking so this is a big plus for me!)

Can we just take a moment to look at this courtyard?! I’m not going to say anything more other than – it’s utterly charming and definitely a space in which you’re going to want to eat al fresco this season.

Bistrot Bizerca  -  Courtyard - 3

Concise menu
Laurent’s menu doesn’t resemble something from a David Foster Wallace novel. It has enough options to make you feel like you have a wide choice but few enough so as not to overwhelm you in any way. Although signatures like the Norwegian salmon salad, Chalmar beef fillet and Granny Smith apple sorbet with Calvados, will stay put, the new summer menu brings with it a refreshing and “lighter” element. My favourite dish being the duo of gazpacho with broad bean pesto bruschetta. I’m generally quite averse to gazpacho due to the texture but Bizerca’s version is as smooth as silk and served perfectly chilled.

Pork belly fan? You will love the pork belly salad. It comes with beetroot, apple, labneh and a Cabernet Sauvignon vinaigrette. If you’re sensitive to sugar like myself, you may find this dish weighing heavily on the sweeter side of things.

Meat eaters will go mad for the duo of lamb with aubergine fritters and a sweet potato and papaya salsa. An interesting combination but one that’s incredibly tasty – with the fritter batter being delicately crispy and crunchy on the outside – giving way to a rich and creamy aubergine centre. Next time I go, I may even have to order a side dish of these because they are just so moreish!

I haven’t had the pleasure (yet!) of experiencing the apple sorbet with Calvados, but it’s definitely on my bucket list for next time!

Bistrot Bizerca summer menu

Gazpacho, pork belly salad, lamb and apple sorbet.

Wine
Bistrot Bizerca has a carefully selected wine list made up of a few international wines as well as those hailing from our own back yard. I believe that a restaurant in Cape Town with a poor wine list is inexcusable. We live in the Cape for crying out loud! Did I mention that wine is also offered by the carafe? I LOVE having my wine presented in a carafe. It just feels so… French!

Any occasion will do
Whether it’s a Birthday celebration, a family reunion, a romantic date night with your special someone or a formal (and informal!) business lunch, Bistrot Bizerca has that certain vibe and energy that seamlessly “fits” the situation that you’re in.

 It’s season, so don’t leave it too late to make a reservation!

Contact Bistrot Bizerca

Heritage Square, 98 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.

Tel:  +27 (21) 423 8888.

Email: bizerca@mweb.co.za

Twitter: @BIZERCAbistro


Celebrations at EatOut Awards 2013

 

It’s Monday and I’m exhausted. This weekend was really one for the books!

My beautiful BFF tied the knot on Saturday in the beautiful town of Tulbagh and then preceded to walk away with her first EatOut Award last night.

I am beyond proud of you, Van! Not only do you and Ilze run an amazing restaurant… you kick ass while doing it!

Ness

 

“no one has ever achieved anything from the smallest to the greatest unless the dream was dreamed first.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Van_DearMe

 


The Dry Land Collection

The Dryland Collection

The Dryland Collection

Last week Tuesday saw the launch of Perderberg Winery’s new premium label, The Dry Land Collection.  This new range of wines – created by the winemaking trio of Riaan Moller, Carla Herbst and Albertus Louw, includes:

Unwooded Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Unwooded Chenin Blanc 2013

Barrel fermented Chenin Blanc 2011

Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2013

Pinotage 2011

Shiraz 2011

Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Joseph’s Legacy red blend 2010

The first thing I noticed about these wines was the label – It’s very striking and modern with no zebra in sight. (You’ll often hear people referring to Perderberg Winery as, “the one with the horse”). Serious wine-drinking folk regard it as a quality Chenin Blanc producer and after tasting The Dry Land Collection’s two Chenin Blancs at the media lunch at Dear Me, I can see why. Riaan says that the winery’s aim is to “show the different expressions of Chenin” and so far I believe he and his team are doing a great job.

Perderberg has been around for over 70 years making wine as a co-operative. And according to CEO, Gerhard van der Watt, releasing The Dry Land Collection endeavors to erase the idea that the wines of Perdeberg are second-string quality to those with a more “boutique” reputation.

Price-wise, at the cellar you can expect to pay between R62 and R80 per bottle. Taste them and you’ll realise what a steal that is!

At the launch, each wine from the collection was paired with a dish made by Dear Me’s head chef, Vanessa Marx who is one of the few chefs I know that has a real knack for food and wine pairing.  Some of the wines were paired with two different dishes on one plate, which was a fun way of doing things.

This is what we were treated to:

1. Chevré & passion fruit salad, almond flakes – The Dry Land Collection Unwooded Chenin Blanc 2013
Chevré tartlet, curried caramelised onion & raisin chutney, roasted almond – The Dry Land Collection Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2011

2. Poached smoked trout, beetroot, crème fraîche, orange vinaigrette & dill – The Dry Land Collection Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2013
Vanilla marinated quail, pecan streusel, fennel bulb & pear – The Dry Land Collection Pinotage 2011

3. Pigeon breast, black cherry jus, lentils & walnuts – The Dry Land Collection Shiraz 2011

4. Free-range beef oxtail ‘skilpadjie’, bourguignon sauce, bone marrow & baby carrots – The Dry Land Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

5. Seared kudu loin, spice crust, celeriac & cauliflower purée – The Dry Land Collection Joseph’s Legacy 2010

6. Green Goose organic Ficksberger cheese, toasted cinnamon bread, membrillo- Perdeberg Natural Sweet Weisser Riesling

And a  few little Valrhona truffles to end off. So naughty… but so nice ;)

PS – have you come across any wine labels that feature the winery’s social media activity? I haven’t up until now which was quite refreshing and novel to see.

social media savvy

social media savvy

As Christine Rudman put it when speaking to the Perderberg team, “You’re in the right place, at the right time”.

The Dry Land Collection will be available in retail at the end of August.

Tick-tock…tick-tock!


Cocktails at Cape Town One&Only’s Vista Bar

I don’t know about you but I have been loving the drinks section on Food24 lately – especially The Mixology Report series written by the restaurant editor, Cath Shone who (poor thing) had to spend 5 days aboard a luxury cruise ship on the French Riviera following SA’s best bartender, Nick Koumbarakis  who competed in the Diageo Reserve WorldClass Bartender of the Year Awards.

Read all about it here.

Unfortunately Nick didn’t win but he was a fine representative for SA and truly impressed the judges. It’s so nice to see our bartenders excelling on an international stage and I only hope that more and more people in this country start getting into mixology and appreciating it for the true art that it is.

Last night I was fortunate to attend Vista Bar at One&Only for the launch of their Spring heritage cocktail, “Sixteen72” (appropriately named after the year that Brandy was first distilled in the Cape). It was created by Vista Bar’s Johan Blaauw – who actually made it through to the national finals of the Diageo Reserve WorldClass competition.

cocktails

A line – up of Sixteen72’s. Pic: Food24

The Sixteen72 was made with KWV 10 year old Brandy, Rooibos syrup, apple juice and lime juice. It was a beautiful cocktail but much too sweet for my taste. I only managed a few sips before relinquishing it. I preferred the creamy, dreamy deliciousness of the Afropolitan (created by Yanda Njokwenie.) He told me that in it he put Klipdrift Gold, Black Cat peanut butter, wild Africa cream, heavy cream and chocolate syrup.

cocktails

The Afropolitan

Being a chocolate (and general dairy) lover, this totally hit the spot! The addition of peanut butter was a cheeky surprise that I absolutely loved! A few if us agreed that the Afropolitan is the perfect drink to have in place of dessert. So decadent! And the great thing is now I can make it at home. Yanda was kind enough to share his recipe:

Afropolitan

25ml Klipdrift Gold

1 teaspoon smooth Black Cat peanut butter

25ml Wild Africa cream

75ml Heavy cream

12.5ml Chocolate syrup

Blend ingredients together and pour into a Brandy snifter. Garnish with a Chocolate ice ball.

If you want the real experience of watching a mixologist make your cocktail, then I suggest you leave work an hour early tomorrow, grab a friend who’s got a sense of fun and head to Vista Bar to catch Johan and the boys in action.

Make your Happy Hour count!


Franschhoek Winter Wines

Franschhoek isn’t shy about hosting a wine festival! The little town has dozens sprinkled across its yearly calendar and I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I had never been to a single one…. until this weekend! It may have been small in comparison to the popular Bastille Festival or the Franschhoek Festival of Bubbles but it was fun nonetheless.

Franschhoek Winter Wines focuses on some of the beautiful red wines that emerge from the region’s vineyards. The main attraction however wasn’t the wine, but rather the venue (L’Ormarins), which is home to the Franschhoek Motor Museum. My word! If you are a vintage car enthusiast then this place is your piece of heaven on earth! The museum showcases cars from every era imaginable. A real treat for history buffs too – there are cars there that were produced from as far back as 1904! I’ve been to the museum before with my family (my grandfather used to collect vintage cars so we simply HAD to take him! And I won’t mention how long we ended up staying that day…).


Although Saturday’s weather did its best to discourage us from driving out to Franschhoek in the rain, I’m glad I went. Give me any excuse to visit the winelands! Plus, getting a ride in a cute old Lancia is rather novel if you ask me!

Up next: Franschhoek Uncorked. Who’s going?


Dear Me teams up with Groot Constantia

Instead of my usual dinner of Woolworths canned soup, On Wednesday last week I was treated to an evening of gastronomical delights and glorious Constantia wine at Dear Me.

Vanessa Marx had teamed up with a close friend (and winemaker of Groot Constantia) Boela Gerber, to present a charmingly intimate evening in The White Room.  Our small group that had been gathered, spent the evening in convivial repartee while Boela entertained with his anecdotes and Vanessa wowed us with her culinary magic.

First up was an aperitif of Groot Constantia MCC 2009 served with oysters done 3 ways:

Poached oyster with truffled hollandaise and lumpfish caviar
Tempura oyster with and Asian dipping sauce
Raw oyster with pickled cucumber, pink shallot dressing and trout roe

The wine was a lively, nicely balanced fruity but dry MCC made from white grapes and it really injected a burst of freshness in my mouth after tasting the oysters.

Once we made our way to the table, our glasses were filled with Groot Constantia Sauvignon Blancs. (Yes – two vintages) – a 2008 and a 2012, were served with:
Kob, fennel and passionfruit. A real tantalizing combination and in my opinion, a beautiful pairing with the 2012.

The 2008 was quite herbaceous which complimented the fennel in the dish, while the 2012 had many more tropical flavours that matched the passionfruit. The portion of kob was tender and light, making it a wonderful contrast to the attractive wines.

The Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2009 was paired with: A cauliflower and chevre ravioli, hazelnut butter and lemon zest. (Please excuse the images – lighting in the White Room at night is not very conducive to photographs). The Chardonnay was lightly oaked and had a beautiful rich texture. The small hints of oak creates worked to compliment the hazelnut butter in the dish, while the acidity played along nicely with the lemon zest.

Two wonderfully spicy Groot Constantia Shiraz’s  (2006 and 2010) were served alongside a generous portion of smoked springbok with walnuts and cherries. The game meat and cherries were a wonderful combination however some people at the table said it was perhaps too sweet for the wine.

Smoked springbok, walnuts and cherries

Two glasses of Groot Constantia’s Gouveneurs Reserve 2005 and 2010 made their way to the table to be married with Vanessa’s braised free-range beef cheeks that came with sweetbreads, bourguignon sauce, barley risotto and bone marrow.

Onto dessert wines and cheese…

Groot Constantia’s Grande Constance 2010 arrived with a Pepe Charlot Buche Affinee and moskonfyt made from the same grapes that went into the wine. Very cool! The wine is a natural sweet wine made from Muscat grapes.

The other cheese was featured with Groot Constantia Muscat Essencia  which is one of the components that makes up the Grand Constance.  Boela hand selects the grapes and presses them resulting in a very sweet “syrup”.  The farm only makes 30 – 40 liters a year. It is too labour intensive to make into a commercial venture  (and the sugar content is probably enough to make you diabetic after just tasting a drop!) but it was fabulous with a dangerously rich Le Petit France Camembert. Vanessa arrived at our table and theatrically poured the wine over the cheese. Indulgent? You bet!

The dinner came to a flourishing finale when our waiter presented a plate of Valrhona Dulcey macarons and Valrhona truffles.

Vanessa, Boela, Ilze and everyone at Dear Me, Thank you for an unforgettable evening!


Webersburg

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