When invited to experience Peter Tempelhoff and team’s new venture, Beyond Restaurant, one has high expectations. I should have known that they would be exceeded…
An enviable setting
Buitenverwachting wine estate, established in 1773, is a glorious setting that demands the finest restaurant. When walking into Beyond Restaurant one is immediately captivated by the vineyard vista. The décor is sophisticated and understated with admirable attention to detail, like comfortable (steam-moulded) chairs and robust oak tables that provide a nod to heritage and history – the perfect platform on which the cuisine can shine. Service is discreet, informative and friendly, no surprise as Jennifer Hugé is part of the legendary trio, with Peter and Ashley Moss, currently hot-footing it between FYN and Beyond. Julia du Toit will be taking the reins as head chef. They are supported by a stellar cast of shining stars hand-picked from top restaurants, from manager to pastry chef.
Fine food and wine
The à la carte menu has a selection of diverse dishes that are sure to satisfy the most discerning gourmet. There is a three-course set menu, and a surprise five-course menu, both good value at R420 and R650. We began our luncheon with a glass of bubbles, but had we wanted wine, we could have gaily adventured through the imaginative wine list that showcases the estate, the Constantia Valley and beyond…with impressive aperitifs, cocktails, spirits and whisky.
A series of surprises
Being compliant, and preferring more, smaller courses, I was happy to indulge in a series of surprises, selected by chef Peter after a quick chat at our table. When asked to describe the cuisine, he said it is reminiscent of how he cooked 21 years ago when in Marco Pierre White’s kitchen – “Taking the simplest, best ingredients that are seasonal and sustainable, rather than complicating things,” he concluded. Tempelhoff has always had an innate ability to truly respect ingredients.
The amuse bouche set the tone, a delightful, light medley of grapes, celery and olives – instantly highlighting the ethos of seasonal, sustainable and unpretentious ingredients at their prime. The truffle-filled Burrata cheese with organic beets, charred peach and hazelnut crumble was exquisitely simple, yet carefully considered. We then shared the subtle ricotta gnudi with slow-roast tomato, grilled king oyster mushrooms, fresh ricotta and crispy sage (yum). The more piquant Durban prawn with tandoori cauliflower steak, sultanas, almond and coconut bisque was equally impressive. For mains I tucked into the local, line-caught fish with mussel cream, coast plants and saffron dust, my companion the 60-day aged Limousin beef with brandy-cream mushroom, ponzu onions and a sour dough crouton jus. Again, both dishes highlighting the fact that if you use supreme ingredients, you do not need to over-complicate a dish…both were superb.
We pondered over sharing a dessert, but gave in and ordered two. My colleague’s face broke into a wide smile when the Madagascan chocolate and coffee roll with parsnip crème fraîche ice cream was presented to her, and she declared herself ‘the winner’. The parsnip chips add a crunch and earthiness that made what could be a very rich dessert, much lighter. Not that we are competitive, of course, but my dark berries and consommé, with a spiced cherry sorbet and roast white chocolate namelaka, was exceptional – aesthetically striking and dramatically delicious!
Meet the new darling of Constantia
On Sundays, the courtyard outside will make al fresco dining a must for those residing in Constantia, and beyond. Know that at Beyond Restaurant you could settle for something more casual, or you could order the Madagascan malossol black caviar with a buckwheat blini and lemon cream. There is truly something for everyone.