I am constantly amazed when I visit wineries that have flown so quietly under my radar yet should have rightly been at the top of my discovery list.
Phizante Kraal is a mere 15 minutes away from home and Angela Fourie, the exceptional Marketing Manager of the Durbanville Wine Route, has been asking me to see the estate since last year so when the dates finally aligned, I couldn’t wait to discover Phizante Kraal for myself and meet with Maret van Deventer who effectively runs the restaurant and tasting room.
With only 35 hectares of vineyard, this is a true boutique estate with a reputation for producing excellent grapes which are in high demand from other wineries. Thys Louw of Diemersdal makes the wines – the first bottle of wine was made in 2005 – and his latest addition to the collection will be a Pinotage.
It’s been two years in the making and the whole estate is very much Maret’s baby, she’s been in the hospitality industry for many years and it shows in her calmness and passion for making sure that every visitor receives fantastic service and an experience that they will share with friends and family.
The decor in the tasting room is beautiful with both classic and modern accents. Great care has been taken to preserve the history within the building and nothing feels out of place. Apothecary jars line on wall, filled with aromas and spices that you might find in wine.
I am in love with their lighting; decanters have been turned into sparkling light shades thus bringing 1920’s glamour to the tasting room and providing a unique focal point. In their private tasting room, which used to be a chicken coop, hangs an equally impressive lighting system, made only in the U.K.
The restaurant is in a converted barn next to the tasting room and the majority of the structure remains – high beams, cobbled stone floors and not a garish piece of technology in site (the coffee machine doesn’t count) make it a charming place to eat in.
They only offer a breakfast, brunch (one of my favorite meal times of the day) and lunch menu with the restaurant closing at 4:3opm but on the last Wednesday of every month, they have a special themed 3-course dinner (250pp) which sits around 40 people and is always well attended.
The menu isn’t overwhelming, fewer dishes means more flavour and attention to detail. Maret’s husband is the chef and he makes use of the estates produce as much as he can, buying local and in season for the rest. His flavor profile is one of fresh confidence, with emphasis on making vegetables and fruit as enticing as the protein on your plate.
For our lunch, Maret ordered us a selection of four dishes so that we could experience a greater range of flavour – I’m never one to complain when more food is on the table and each dish was well presented and enticing.
Lamb shoulder olive toast – Braised Lamb shoulder, olive rosemary bread, harissa mayonnaise, aubergine tomato sauce and watercress.
A homely, rich dish that calls for a huge glass of red wine. R95
Little Italy – Basil Ricotta Gnudi,Parmesan, chives, roast cauliflower, lemon butter and a pea puree.
This was by far my favorite dish and would make any vegetarian very happy. Delightfully balanced textures with the buttery flavors complemented by the citrus acidity. Truly a dish I’m coming back for. R85
Beer & Hake – Hake in a beer batter with corn cumin sauce, grilled greens and fresh apple.
Albeit a little heavy-handed on the salt, the freshness of the apple and the earthy tones of the cumin was a great accompaniment to a classic dish.
NB, it doesn’t come with chips (you can add them for R20) which might make you gasp in horror but I didn’t feel like the dish needed them. The hero of the dish is the batter which is as crispy and flavorsome as you would desire. R100
Cider braised pork belly – Delicious pork belly with potato puree with wholegrain mustard, zucchini ribbons, asparagus and peas.
How is that for plating!? Seasonal produce with expertly cooked pork belly – a complete win. R120
Portion size with all the dishes is spot-on with a distinct lack of froufrou – what you receive, whilst looking inviting, does not make you feel nervous to dig in and I love the green theme throughout. They will be starting with their Autumn menu soon and I’m looking forward to an autumnal palette.
Oh, and of course there was dessert, a 70% dark chocolate tart with fig ice cream. Silky chocolate, not overtly sweet and very difficult to share. R55
Make sure you give your taste-buds a scrumptious experience and find out more about Phizante Kraal on their website www.phizantekraal.co.za .
It’s a stunning spot an easy lunch which will exceed your expectations.
NB : I enjoyed my lunch as a guest of Phizante Kraal but all views and images are my own.