Tag Archives: pork belly

Fine Dining at Overture at Hidden Valley Wines in Stellenbosch (2020-12-05) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 15 APR 2021

While my 40th birthday unfortunately fell in the middle of South Africa’s strict Covid-19 lockdowns (hello swing-ball in my garden and a rainbow cake from Chantelle), thankfully we were a little more lucky come December when Chantelle’s big 40 also came rolling into town. Kids safely dropped off with the grandparents in Bellville, we turned our attention to the big one – an exquisite five course gourmet dinner at the highly acclaimed, awarded winning Overture restaurant.

On the edge of Stellenbosch, tucked away in the foothills of the Helderberg Mountain above the vineyards of Hidden Valley Wines, Overture holds the distinction of being restaurateur and chef extraordinaire Bertus Basson’s first restaurant. Established in 2007, Overture quickly began winning accolade after accolade, swiftly rising up in the ranks of South Africa fine dining establishments, and with it, elevating the name of Bertus Basson. Known for celebrating South African produce like ethically-sourced fish and organic maize, these days head chef Drikus Brink and his kitchen team continue the mission of serving honest, simple, produce-driven cooking based on classical techniques.

Well that’s what the website says anyway. ‘Simple’ isn’t how I would describe the incredible menu at all! We opted to pair a wine tasting with our five course meal, an excellent idea as the broad spectrum of excellent wines suited each dish to perfection. From start to finish the food was exemplary. The canapés, the raw yellowtail, the roasted aubergine, the pork belly, the beef, the beetroot, the dessert – absolute fine dining heaven.

The plating, the simple stone decor, the view over the vineyards, the mountains, the brass fittings, the wine, the sculptures, having Bertus and his wife enjoying a meal an arm’s length away from us – this was an absolutely incredible experience for a foodie such as Chantelle and definitely one that was much enjoyed!

Pork Belly Lunch at Sweetwell outside Stellenbosch (2021-01-16) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 06 MAR 2021

Having enjoyed an enthralling, thought-provoking morning of wandering about the magnificent Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden in Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch, Chantelle and I decided to further make the most of not having the kids with us by going out for a nice lunch. In the mood for Eisbein and knowing fully well that they do indeed do a good one, I suggested the restaurant at Sweetwell, situated along the R44 on a farm plot in Raithby (on the outskirts of Stellenbosch).

Pulling in at the Hennie & Allison Cronje owned farm, the clouds were grey and heavy but the rain thankfully all gone, meaning that the ivy laced, hydrangea decorated terrace was looking mighty inviting, even more so thanks to the absolute dearth of people. Again, great for us wanting to avoid crowds during this Covid-19 pandemic, but of course horrible for people trying to keep their businesses alive. Anyway, we walked up to the stoep, located a table and got comfortable, only for me to come to the stark realization that Eisbein was not currently on the menu.

Of course, in retrospect this makes complete sense. Eisbein is something that has to be prepared long in advance, and so if you aren’t guaranteed customers, it is probably best not to offer it at all. At this point in time, reducing wastage HAS to be on the mind of anyone running a food related business, that’s for sure! In any event, no problem, because the one thing Sweetwell also does particularly well is pork belly, and as expected, it was decadently good -that pork crackling, pure genius! (Of course, this was unfortunately still during the alcohol ban phase of our South African Covid-19 lockdowns, so no delicious wine to pair it with – and as we all now know, Coke Zero doesn’t quite cut it! :D)

Although their on-site deli is now a thing of the past, Sweetwell is also home to two pretty neat lifestyle/home decor businesses in the form of Rustic Rose and Casa Caro Lifestyle, plus there is then Sweetwell as an event venue option itself, with its pretty, manicured exterior and its vibrant, visually interesting interior – perfect for high teas, bridal showers and the like.

Springbok Venison at Tangram at Durbanville Hills Wine Estate (2021-02-24) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 27 FEB 2021

Generally when the core Touchwork team gets together for lunch it is always someplace in the Steenberg/Westlake region of Cape Town, which makes completes sense given that it is both the area where our office resides as well as where everyone but me is actually based. I’ve been working as a software developer for the company since 2007, and although we were a decent sized team for a fair while, it’s actually now been a number of years that I’ve been working completely alone, developing, maintaining, and managing our Kinetica SaaS platform.

This is perfectly fine of course, primarily because Kinetica is something that I created more than 10 years ago and thus have a personal vested interest in seeing it stay alive and thriving, but in the time of a deadly global pandemic it goes without saying that it is a lot smarter to have some backup just in case things do go… wrong. Pleasingly we found a young, enthusiastic, Durbanville-based developer to join our team and so, while we patiently wait out his notice period, headed out to lunch for our first ever face to face meeting.

This then is how we found ourselves travelling to the outskirts of Durbanville to Tangram on the Durbanville Hills wine estate, a lovely, award winning restaurant at the top of the winery, which itself is perched on the top of a hill with a view in pretty much all directions – including that iconic one of Table Mountain as it stands looming over Cape Town on the edge of Table Bay. Durbanville Hills is of course known for its very popular range of wines, much of which owes it character to its closeness to the sea air, balanced with the warm airflow around the hills, as well as the soil of the area, but interestingly enough, it doesn’t really have any history behind it, having only really been established in the 1990’s when seven or so grape farmers from the area decided to band together with the help of Distell to found the cellar as a joint venture and thus start producing wines on a commercial scale.

In terms of the restaurant experience, it is actually quite a lovely one. Passing through the wine tasting section and the Dylan Lewis leopard sculpture guarded cellar at the bottom, you ascend the stairs to reach the Tangram’s dining hall, all modernly outfitted with a warm touch and neat aesthetic, and of course featuring a lot of big glass panel to make the most of the view on offer. (There is also a bastille which you can walk out on to get a view over the vineyards, Table Bay, Cape Town, and Table Mountain in the distance, though my suggestion would be to wait a little until the cooler months when the dusty brown grass of summer gives way to something far more luscious green.)

Some excellent wine, good company, a delectable pork belly starter, and a sumptuous springbok venison main then all nicely came together to make for an exceptionally enjoyable experience, even if quite removed from our usual stomping grounds.

A Mont Marie Anniversary in Stellenbosch (2019-11-08) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 10 FEB 2020

So I didn’t quite manage to get back from the USA in time to celebrate our big 10 year wedding anniversary with Chantelle (back in November last year), but to be fair I did only miss it by a single day – so hopefully not all marriage brownie points are completely lost.

Making the most of my unfortunate scheduling mishap and the onset of a very busy baking weekend for Chantelle and her Helderberg Cake Company endeavour, we decided utilize the lone Friday afternoon available to us by celebrating with a romantic lunch out in the Stellenbosch winelands.

Chantelle suggested that we head out to Mont Marie, a simple but elegant restaurant tucked away on the slopes of the Blaauwklippen Valley that prides itself on its ethos of family friendly casual gourmet dining.

Sitting on the outside deck, taking in the view over the rolling green fields, the dam, and the mountains, we tucked into the most succulent of mains, downed a bottle of excellent vino and then rounded it off with the most decadent of chocolate desserts.

Exceptionally good food, cute curious ducks, the tranquility of the setting, the slight buzz of happy patrons all around, and of course the view itself, all blended together to make for a wonderful lunch experience with this most amazing woman that I’ve been blessed to call my wife for an entire decade now.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Celebrating with Eisbein at Sweetwell in Stellenbosch (2018-11-07) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 15 FEB 2019

Chantelle and I celebrated last year’s wedding anniversary with a day spent out and about in Stellenbosch. For lunch we opted to duck into the excellent Sweetwell farm butchery and restaurant.

Situated on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, Sweetwell itself is an absolute delight. Classic white farm walls, a great view of the surrounds, free roaming chickens and particularly good food that emerges from the kitchen. I had their truly excellent eisbein while Chantelle tucked into a decadent slice of pork belly.

In addition to the restaurant, the premises is also home to the deli, which is stocked with all manner of high quality home industry product, as well as all the meat and baked goods that emerge from the onsite butchery and bakery.

It’s a classic farm restaurant experience that sits comfortably on that level just below fine dining, and is certainly a very easy to recommend spot!

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Cafe BonBon Lunch at La Petite Dauphine in Franschhoek (2016-10-01) Food and Drink | Photo Gallery 21 APR 2017

The third stop on October last year’s fabulous Franschhoek Wine Tram excursion (having had already tasted plenty of wine at both Rickety Bridge and Grande Provence) was La Petite Dauphine, an estate that bills itself as a guest farm – which translates then essentially to superb accommodation nestled on a historic working fruit farm, with a particularly good wine collection and some fine dining options to boot.

After hopping off the Wine Tram bus, we made a beeline straight to Café BonBon, the main restaurant at La Petite Dauphine to make good on the lunch reservation that Chantelle had earlier organized for our group.

Although you can dine in the 200 years old, restored wine cellar, we instead opted to take full advantage of the amazing weather and sat at a large table outside, where we set about investigating the mouthwatering lunch options on the menu.

Naturally, wine was ordered, conversation flowed, and mouths salivated at the food eventually placed down before us.

Surrounded by large oak trees all around, the setting is one of serenity and tranquility, and once combined with the excellent food on offer, the experience is definitely one to savour!

So yes, definitely a contender if you are looking to stop for lunch whilst on the wine tram route then.

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Next stop for us on the day though? A final tasting at La Bourgogne!

Related Link: Cafe BonBon Country Restaurant | La Petite Dauphine Guest Farm | Franschhoek Wine Tram

Date Nights Weekend My Life 30 AUG 2011

Well, we certainly enjoyed a very different weekend this weekend past. Monty and Cheryl had been missing Jessica and so asked us if they could borrow her for the weekend. After a lot of careful consideration, Chantelle finally decided that she would be able to survive a weekend without Jessica’s cute little face, and so on Friday afternoon the handover commenced, meaning that for Chantelle and I, date night was on! :)

A quick change after work and then it was off to Somerset Mall, where we enjoyed some fantastic pizza at Panarottis (so high class, I know :P), before dashing out to catch Captain America, my movie pick for the night which ended up being fairly enjoyable, though certainly not a movie I’ll need to see again any time soon. (Chantelle also enjoyed it to an extent, particular the parts where Evans didn’t have a shirt on after receiving the Super Soldier serum!)

Saturday was our first sleep-in in literally months, before we eventually roused to make our way through to the Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West, where Chantelle treated me to breakfast at the Lourensford Deli on what turned out to be a stunning morning in terms of weather, fully complemented by the quite beautiful surroundings I might add! With our omelettes being no more and our tummies sated, we then strolled out towards the Lourensford Family Market that conveniently happened to be held this weekend, where the locals were having some fun with plenty of little stalls selling all sorts of odds and ends neatly set out, a giant bedouin tent to provide some shade as well as shelter for a pretty monotonous singer and loads of families out and about enjoying the sun and eats to be had (hint, the pancakes were delicious).

On our way back to Gordon’s Bay I popped into Mountain Streams nursery, the first time I had been to this little floral paradise in our own backyard, and must admit to being pleasantly surprised by what I found in this little unassuming operation. As it was, I picked up some cobblestone pavers to add some decoration to the cement slab work that I was planning on doing on my return home, the end result of which is actually pretty pleasing if I say so myself! :) (Chantelle slept through the whole thing!)

Outside of my epic long phone call with Candice all the way from Potchefstroom (as Chantelle was unavailable at the time), the other mission that was achieved was a fair bit of weeding, the first time our garden has seen some action in weeks! (It really did help that Jessica was away for the weekend – so much more time to do all the necessary chores and work around the house!)

Anyway, the wind eventually started to whip up, forcing Chantelle and I to call it quits and pack up for the day, prompting the decision to make it two date nights in a row, the end result of which was another trip through the mall, Simply Asia cuisine for her and Subway for me, followed by Conan the Barbarian in 3D, Chantelle’s pick for the weekend, but possible only because she wanted to lick actor Jason Momoa’s nipples.

Unfortunately for us though, the movie did drag on a bit and ended up not engaging either of us, ending up by just sapping up what remaining energy we had and sending us straight to bed!

Sunday it was an early up and at them, compared to Saturday morning’s lazy pace, as we got ready and set out on a detour to pick up Michelle Oosthuizen’s Respisense device that she had purchased from a guy out in Strand (plus a long overdue phone call to Claire to find out how life on that side of the world is treating Riley and herself), before hitting the N2 and heading out to Bellville to join up with the Montgomery Clan, where Chantelle got busy preparing the epic pork belly roast which was to be the highlight of the upcoming lunch. I in turn popped out to spend some time with Ryan, fitting in a quick three tight games of FIFA in the process, before spending a bewildering bit of time in the completely unnavigable Tygervalley which is currently undergoing major renovations in search of a cheap HDMI cable and some extra necessities for lunch that Chantelle hadn’t yet had a chance to pick up.

Back at the Montgomery stronghold it was a return to my daddy role as I played with a very joyful Jessie who is now actively rolling from her back to her tummy, clapping hands, holding her own bottle and reaching out for toys if she spots them. Lunch was served, consisting of a delicious mix of pork roast belly, pork chops, crackling, roast potato, savoury carrots and salad, followed by ice-cream, strawberries and Bar-one chocolate sauce!

It was a pretty late lunch and the day stretched into Idols which of course Chantelle needs to religiously watch, but eventually it was time to pack up the Getz, retrieve our long lost child and head back home, all without incident, before going through the usual Sunday night chorelist and at last, hitting the bed hard! :)

(P.S. For the rest of the Lourensford Wine Estate visit, check out the gallery here.)