March 26, 2021

Authentic Overberg dining

Overberg dining

AUTHENTIC OVERBERG DINING

As the seasons change it gives me unbridled joy to drive to the Overberg, settle into Stanford Valley Guest Farm and ‘work’ for two days with chef Janine to perfect their seasonal menu at Manor House Restaurant.

Autumn is obvious in the Overberg. The canola fields are no longer bright yellow; gentle hues of gold and earthy tones welcome locals. I settle into my seat in the spacious restaurant, and quietly watch the horses graze in the paddock below, working up an appetite. The produce that Janine plucks from the farm and local producers is transformed into unpretentious, authentic country fare. The pears, Adam in the starters and Eva in the desserts, figs and root veg are taking their place on the stage in dishes like the harvest salad and the dark hazelnut truffle dessert. The line fish (vis en chips), sourced from nearby Gansbaai, and served with celeriac bechamel is exceptional. The new vegetarian dish of sweet potato and aubergine showcases Janine’s talent with subtle spices. Slow-cooked lamb shank cooked with a tomato bredie sauce and served with barley risotto is comfort food at its best. The succulent fillet, brushed with paprika-and-herb butter, is a definite for those seeking simplicity. The ever-popular lemon-and-prawn risotto and the legendary burger cannot be played with, following the adage – if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fit it. They are there to stay, in all their glory.

A SERIES OF TASTINGS BEGIN…

The starters are perfect in every way. A few nudges in the main courses – amp up the flavour here, tone done the seasoning there, and then it is time for desserts. The pear wrapped in pecan phyllo is a triumph, served with milk stout ice cream. The chocolate truffle (there must be a chocolate option for the regulars) is robust yet light, sure to be a winner. Long conversations are peppered with tips and techniques, recipe book recommendations and all-things edible. The country air and laid-back luxury of a cosy room ensure a good night’s sleep before ‘working’ on breakfast.

There is always something new to distract me – this time unexplored hiking trails, an art gallery (owners Rheinder and Elsabe Naute are avid art collectors) and the Old Milk Shed spa’s beauty treatments and therapeutic massages. But there is no time – this is, after all, work time, a time to devour and direct. Next time…

Stanford Valley Guest Farm in the Overberg

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