Sensational food in a Greenhouse

Because I once wrote ‘Its not all about me’ and then continued to play some self pitying role where it was, in fact, still all about me (at least on this blog it was)… It’s time to dry my eyes and move swiftly along.

With load shedding and a rather uninspiring meal of chicken, spinach and feta sausages (have been tempted to spend the 70 bucks on these guys at woolies for ages, and am sorely disappointed in the purchase) in front of me, I’m thinking of the day I turned 34. Which was exactly three weeks ago. Time flies. We say it more and more as we get older. Never a truer word is spoken.

Besides the flying start (quite literally, in the air for the sunrise in a two seater 1979 plane) I was treated to a surprise dinner at an award winning restaurant.

Wait. Treated, well that’s not entirely true when you have a shared bank account I guess. And surprise, well that’s not true either as I had begged, pleaded and done just about anything to convince my husband to book a table there (even gone as far as provisionally booking it myself). Of course, keeping it a secret and almost leading me to believe we were going to my favourite restaurant is what he did do, and it was only when the restaurant accidentally called my cellphone at lunch to confirm our reservation that I knew it was on and that I best prepare myself.

The Greenhouse at Cellars Hohenort.

There were a few niggling bits that I can’t avoid mentioning, so will do so upfront. We were in a corner table that didn’t feel like any resemblance of ‘a greenhouse’ at all. No glass ceiling, and no view. I’m a big advocate for the sentiment that places with views generally have rather sucky food, but I also admit, on fancy pants (or special) occasions, I am quite keen on a table that looks out onto “a garden, a balcony, a window, or a fireplace”. We were looking back onto the restaurant, which when we sat down, was empty. Not exactly screaming romance and special occasion.
We were also sort of forgotten a lot of the time. With no dedicated waiter, and perhaps not doing the most expensive of menus, we felt a little neglected, especially as we sat around and waited to be served either a coffee or the bill at the end of our meal.
But, niggling bits aside… we were, after all.. there for the food. And oh! the food!

I’m never one to do the wine pairing with a menu (mostly because I hate getting too drunk to enjoy my food, and I can’t be sure how you can have that much wine, and not get drunk. Ok, call me a lightweight).
So instead, we chose the summer menu. 5 courses, which – as this wasn’t a tasting menu, can actually be considered as real courses. Big enough to taste, to taste your partners and still have enough to taste some of your own again. And with that in mind, barring the last course, we ordered one of each option so that we really could taste a bit of everything.

When the bread arrives and its the highlight of your week so far, you know you’re onto a winner. I felt the same at our meal at The Tasting Room. I also should admit that I never eat bread (by self induced rule) and that even a hot cross bun makes my knees weak, but not to detract – this was something very special.

Butternut macaroon. I mean, amazing.
Butternut macaroon. I mean, amazing.
Tomato goats cheese starter.
Tomato goats cheese starter.
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I’m guessing this is the wagyu beef tartare – but it was three weeks ago and I can’t remember.
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By a process of a elimination.. nope, still not sure what this was.

My highlight came early at course 2: West Coast Mussels. The most unattractive course of the lot (all about presentation Chef Heston – whatevs!) The best tasting dish, and possibly because of the surprise that it would be so.

This, it was all about this!! Mussels.
This, it was all about this!! Rather boring looking Mussels.

The beer, crisps and pretzels (my husbands course 4) which I avoided because of my new make-my-life-complicated-avoid-nightshade-vegetables-diet I’m on was amazing, and hands down the taste that brought about the first demand of ‘its my birthday and therefore you have to swap with me’.

Nothing beer and batter about this.
Nothing beer and crisps about this.

Our main courses (springbok?) and kabeljou were both incredible. As expected. And who wants to know about the expected. Its the damn mussels that caught me off-guard!

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Springbok. A full course sized portion and none of that ‘teeny, tiny taster’ stuff.
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Delicious kabeljou

I sort of maybe also had a small excuse for breaking lent on my birthday.
A) it was my birthday
B) Lent is actually 46 days because of the Sundays. And on Sundays, I remain chocolate-free and therefore could break it on a Tuesday (just one Tuesday), meaning my lent was still 45 days long (5 days longer than the 40 days of desert life). And to be fair this raspberry and chocolate concoction, which was far more raspberry than chocolate, was worth it.

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The lent-breaker

All in all the food was incredible. It was an expensive meal out, no doubt about that, but every single mouthful blew us away. It was sensational! For the love of fantastic food, everyone should treat themselves at some point to a meal at The Greenhouse. In fact, I may have to go as far as to say that in terms of food alone, this was our best meal out.

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