First Time at Jardine :)Posted: August 30, 2011
To say that my weekend ended up being rather over-indulgent, is an understatement I think! It kicked off with Margarita’s and spicy deep-fried Mexican on Friday…followed by imbibing 12-year old bottles of Duval-Leroy (amongst others!) on Saturday at the Big Bottle Festival, after which a little Long Street jaunt ensued.
Sunday had me perched at a table at Jardine sipping on yet more wine and ingesting the gastronomic masterpieces that made their way out of George’s kitchen. I was with my friend, Greg, who used to work for George when he still had Jardine in Bree Street, so it was nice for him to check out his new spot in Stellenbosch!
Is this not picture perfect?!!
I just love love love the mountains in and around Stellenbosch. The sun was shining and the weather was warm so all the doors of the restaurant were open leading onto the stone patio that spilled out onto the lawn and dam below. If ever there was a perfect day of food and wine, then this was it.
We arrived a little late but it didn’t appear to be a problem. We were made to feel more than welcome by the maître de. George saw us from the pass so Greg got to chat to him a bit and catch up. (I believe it’s been a while since they’ve seen one another). I’m not going to go into too much detail about the food other than to say it was utterly fabulous.
My starter of Gruyere tart with caramelised onion and pickled baby beetroot was so tasty and it’s at a place like Jardine that one will pick up on small little details that just elevate the dish to another level. In my starter’s case it was definitely the rich but delicate puff pastry that was used; Flaky and crisp, giving the dish just the right texture to contrast the creamy goodness of the Gruyere filling. There was a garnish of apple puree which was just as sublime and added the acidity needed to cut through the richness. Everything was just so well balanced.
Mains were also brilliant but the piece de résistance was, for me, the chocolate dessert. (I knew from the moment I sat down and saw the menu that it would have to pass my lips. Like, Have to!!). Holy Yum! It was a Valrhona guanaja chocolate terrine with hazelnut ice-cream, and has to be by far the best chocolate dessert I’ve had (ok besides for the chocolate brownie at Cafe Roux but that has a firm place in my heart and always will!). What gave the dessert that extra “wow” factor, was the tiny sprinkling of cacao nibs that lightly blanketed the terrine. It was incredible (Big shout-out to my friend Ross who supplies them with the chocolate!)
The others at the table took “a trip to the cheese room” and returned with delicious-looking local cheeses and preserves. Glad I stuck to my chocolate though!! Greg opted for the honey and poppy-seed soufflé which came with a touch of crème anglaise and ice-cream, served devant vous (at the table) There is nothing more visually appealing than observing a freshly baked soufflé coming out of the kitchen. Even if you’ve made them countless times before (with and without success!), there is that small part of you inside that will always smile and go ‘aaaaaaahhh’ !
I could easily have stayed at Jordan the entire afternoon. Oh wait, I did!
After a round of coffees, and witnessing the sun quietly dip behind the trees, we felt it was probably time we gave the front-of-house staff their Sunday evening. I know only too well what it’s like having to deal with so-called “late stayers”.
So, it was with a satisfied and happy sigh that we made our way to the car. I wonder what next Sunday will bring, after all- I’ll be dining at The Foodbarn. I hope Franck has a chocolate dessert… over-indulgent? Spoiled brat snob? *meekly raises hand*… yip, that’s me.