I’m not sure that waking up, in eager anticipation of dinner that night, is normal? Chef Fabio Daniel at Rust en Vrede made every moment of my day worthwhile. Over a glass of Champagne we chatted about his menu and inspiration. The amuse bouche of Italian sausage served hamburger-style, alongside a carrot macaron was enjoyed whilst he shared some insights into how his style has evolved. Having taken over from the lauded chefs he had worked under, he has defined his craft into his own unique cuisine with a French foundation, elevated by his heritage from Italy and Brazil, using South African ingredients. This he has done with aplomb and a sense of playfulness, perfectly.
Fabio grew up in the citrus region of Sao Paulo, his wife is from Citrusdal. “We are united by the orange,” he laughs, so do not be surprised to see a touch of citrus. He loves to cook what he eats, and the philosophy of the farm is to share what they love eating and drinking. Be assured that your main course will be paired with one of the superlative (red) wines from Rust en Vrede.
My smoked tuna with miso, asparagus and peanut brittle was as well appreciated as my man’s cured venison with avocado, Rooibos and mushroom. I savoured the scallop with pork belly, cauliflower and lemon pepper pearls whilst enduring just a touch of order envy for the pan-seared langoustine with pickled turnip and fennel. The lamb loin with tamarind, white beans and tomato chutney was a robust dish served with restraint, as was the picanha with pineapple and black bean farofa. The pre-dessert of Doce De Queijo which exquisitely combines Fabio’s Italian and Brazilian roots – cheese and butterscotch – a tribute to a memory of the cheese and coffee shared in his grandmother’s house. It was sublime in its simplicity.
I indulged in the chocolate dessert with pistachio, citrus and brandy, plus managed to sneak in a taste of the Dulcey cheesecake with apple sorbet, marshmallow and ginger. Both heavenly. It was an evening to remember, each interaction impressive, from the warm welcome to the last bites of chocolate served in a beautiful wooden box.
Congratulations and thank you to Rust en Vrede for being a StreetSmart supporter for a decade.