The wineland's eclipsing bigger brother Cape Town on the culinary scene continued unabated yesterday with Glen Carlou's opening of their new kitchen and chef Hennie van der Merwe's delightful new menu.
|Hennie with some of his Restuarant@Glen Carlou team|
Hennie has been touching the stars throughout his career and it’s a matter of time before he bags a few of his own. After graduating from the Culinary Academy in 2003, he made the ideal start to his career, working with Michelin star chef and Raymond Blanc protégé Phil Alcock at Cellars-Hohenort.
Hennie has never looked back, going onto work in bars and restaurants around the world including sailing the world as Sous Chef on the Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2.
Besides equipping him to start his own Bistro and catering company in Swellendam, his high-pressure maritime experience stood him in fine stead for Glen Carlou’s first (domestic-scale) kitchen. Originally designed for outside caterers to reheat and serve food, it did not stop Hennie from performing a culinary juggling act that quickly had its regular following.
|duo of tartlets|
PR manager and Hess Family Estates stalwart Georgie Prout was quick to spot an opportunity and began lobbying Donald Hess for a larger kitchen. The renovation was completed in just 6 of the proposed 12 weeks unleashing a new taller Hennie and an innovative menu focusing on the use of fresh local ingredients. Meanwhile favourable reviews and bums on seats continue to rise.
Trio of - Kudu carpaccio, steak tartar with poached quail egg and rooibos smoked springbok loin.
Hennie is soon to be joined by Beau du Toit whose experience includes working with chef Bertus Basson at Overture as well as David Thompson’s NAHM at the Haikin in London – the only one star Michelin Thai restaurant in the world.
Ironically the restaurant’s name was originally inspired by the Zen garden below the outside deck, but Zen was not good karma as customers expected an Asian experience.
The winelands now boasts no fewer than 5 of Eat Out’s top ten restaurants and 7 of Rossouw’s 13 three star restaurants are also winelands-based. JP Rossouw’s erratum of including Glen Carlou as 3 star in his 2011 guide may well have revealed his psychic abilities.
Yesterday’s highlights included Confit Duck Leg with their 2007 Gravel Quarry Cabernet Sauvignon. I expected their Pinot Noir but this was a masterstroke - this site-specific wine delivers dense, dark berry fruit with a subtle earthy/mineral note which was a great match for the rich duck meat which had turned a vibrant pink during the long slow cooking.
|confit duck leg|
Restaurant @ Glen Carlou will soon be open for tapas and dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. They will also be open for breakfast over the weekends and the restaurant will be open seven days a week for lunch including a lighter dining menu.