When I produced my older son only three days after my birthday, I realised then that I would need to draw a line in the sand. Every year I got the weekend before my birthday to celebrate, he commandeered the next one so that there was enough undivided attention for both Pisceans! Now that we are grown up, we love combining our festivities, so I was thrilled when he and his new wife came to Cape Town for the weekend between our birthdays, mine on the Friday, his on the Monday.
A lawyer, he is good at issuing instructions. The brief was clear. Bake my favourite cheesecake (tick). Choose a restaurant for lunch where the food is guaranteed to please, uncomplicated yet exceptional, with a view, close to home (tick). Switch the southeaster off (tick).
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND
Beyond Restaurant on the Buitenverwachting estate was the perfect choice – unsurpassed vineyard views and the warmest welcome started a birthday to remember. A glass of bubbles brought to the table by the legendary Jennifer Hugé got the celebration under way before a delicate amuse bouche was served. We vacillated about our choice of wine and dishes – that is where experienced advice is invaluable, and our waiter made great recommendations. My husband requested a wine that would be memorable but not require a second bond, and Jennifer impressively brought the Fledge&Co Vagabond (a blend of Chardonnay, Steen, Viognier and Verdelho) to our table. The artisan breads arrived simultaneously – rosemary potato focaccia, a gluten-free sweetcorn muffin and a rustic wholewheat seed stick, served with a roasted red pepper and smoked paprika dip.
UNPRETENTIOUS FARE FROM PREMIUM PRODUCE
The ethos at Beyond focuses on producing premium yet unpretentious dishes, with the best of local produce. The lobster tempura with chilli kaeshi and homemade Japanese mayo was delicate and delicious. My family trio ordered the exceptional truffle-filled burratta with thinly sliced organic beets a peach dressing and hazelnut crumble. It is a superb, simple yet sophisticated dish. My man had the duck, and my son and I the line fish with Adam’s fig, garlic squid and ink pesto. His bride chose the ricotta gnudi with slow-roasted tomato, grilled king oyster, fresh ricotta and crispy sage. It was delectable. The men went for the cheese board, artfully presented, and us girls shared the Madagascan chocolate cremeux with raspberry and popcorn ice cream for dessert. Sublime, savoured with Delheim’s Edelspatz Noble Late Harvest. The final note of our special birthday celebration was a gift of a heavenly square chocolate nougat. Yum.
Chefs Peter Tempelhoff, Ashley Moss and their team have pulled out all the stops to produce what looks like an effortless menu, and décor, but the deliciousness is in the detail. A lot of it.