Tom and I ran away to De Grendel for the most delicious lunch over the weekend. We often neglect the Durbanville Winelands because we get caught up in all the prettiness of the Stellies and Franschhoek regions, which is sad because the area has so much to offer. De Grendel is testament to that – its sprawling fields are dotted with contented cows, and it has picturesque views of Table Mountain with a cobalt pond in the foreground.
The restaurant itself is also very nicely designed – there’s a porch for wine tasting, and big glass windows downstairs, with vistas of the mountain. We got the best table in the house, right by the window. We were expecting to be wowed by the food and we weren’t disappointed! The hardest part was actually narrowing down what we were going to choose off the fresh-summery menu.
For starters, I went for the cured salmon, which was beautifully presented with a baby leaf salad of beetroot, radish, liquorice and fennel, served with creme fraiche and sumac. Tom opted for the cured ostrich, which came with root vegetables, heirloom tomatoes, saladini, dukkha and quinoa. We shared so we got to taste both dishes, and I have to profess preferring my salmon, though Tom thought his ostrich was better. My pics do not do the dishes justice!
Choosing mains was even trickier! I am a risotto freak – I love making it and eating it and I’m always trying it in restaurants to glean new ideas for my own recipes. Thus, I opted for the wild mushroom, truffle, asparagus and grilled artichoke risotto with a fresh foam on top – it was absolutely amazing. That artichoke gives it a bit of zing that works so well with the truffle flavour; I’m definitely going to try it next time I make one. Tom had the organic braised lamb shoulder, with aubergine, confit shallot, garlic, polenta and port. I have no idea how it tasted because he gobbled it up so fast I didn’t even get a forkful!For dessert, Thomas decided to share with me, which I wasn’t all that impressed by. It turns out I’m not a huge fan of sharing desserts, especially when they’re rather small and very tasty. We opted for the coffee bavarois, nougat and cherry sorbet with a milk chocolate crumb, which was gone in under a minute. I’m not even that sure how it tasted but I think it was pretty good! And no, I didn’t get a photo of it; it was every person for themselves in the battle to get the biggest spoonful of the coffee cream, so I had to act fast.
We paired our meal with a bottle of the 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, which I loved – it’s crisp and fruity and went well with everything. We were very sad when our meal was over – we were given a gift voucher for it by one of my lovely colleagues, so it’s not something we’re likely to buy ourselves. It’s the perfect place for an anniversary though, so I may start dropping some hints (ahem Tom).