Grilled Franschhoek trout.
Grilled Franschhoek trout.
Image: Supplied

It really is the perfect way to spend a winter weekend in the winelands. A gorgeous luxury suite surrounded by vineyards with views of the surrounding mountains, a glass of red wine next to a fireplace and a multi-course dinner to boot. 

This is what awaits guests who are lucky enough to attend Jordan’s Wine, Dine & Stay weekends. The winter offering aims to introduce guests to Jordan restaurant’s new chef, Marthinus Ferreira, ahead of the fine-dining eatery’s opening later this year.

Jordan Wine Estate suite.
Jordan Wine Estate suite.
Image: Supplied

The chef, who this week announced the closure of his famed Johannesburg restaurant DW Eleven-13, will be opening Jordan Restaurant in September. The restaurant, which was previously helmed by celebrated chef George Jardine, has been undergoing extensive renovations ahead of its relaunch.

I meet Ferreira ahead of dinner within the construction site of the space. It’s the most animated and excited I’ve seen the chef in ages as he talks me through the new project, clearly relishing this new opportunity within this magnificent wine lands property. The space, boasting panoramic views of the estate’s grounds and Stellenbosch mountains, will seat 80 pax and offer up a fine dining menu with a focus on locally sourced and grown seasonal produce.

Chef Martinus Ferreira in the Merlot room.
Chef Martinus Ferreira in the Merlot room.
Image: Supplied

The evening’s dinner, offering but just a taste of what to expect from the new project, takes place within the estate’s Merlot Room, a grand maturation cellar within their winery was conceptualised as a way to introduce the chef to his new customers

Candle lit and surrounded by wine barrels, the dinner is communal with three tables running the length of the impressive space. As much a showcase of wine as it is food, each course of the sharing-style tasting menu is served with a pair of Jordan wines — ranging from tank samples of sauvignon blanc to critically acclaimed back vintages, served from magnums.

Though somewhat different to what the final product will be when the restaurant opens — given the challenges of cooking in a cellar — the focus on local produce and vegetable driven dishes is clear.

The meal begins with a bread course, the sourdough and seed loaf made using sauvignon blanc yeast is a little nod to our winery venue and served with foraged porcini mayonnaise and a lavender ash butter. These are accompanied by flavourful bites of chicken liver parfait filled choux puffs topped with a stunning craquelin-like addition of chicken skin crumble; a macaron shell with a celery and fennel compote topped with 12-month Kleinrivier Gruberg and shavings of local truffle, and an absolutely moreish carrot velouté.

Next is a starter of grilled Franschhoek trout, the beautifully cooked fish served with a fricassee of corn and potato, completed with a Jordan chenin blanc velouté, is accompanied by a dish of soft polenta — somewhat of a signature of the chef — the creamy side incorporating wintry flavours and textures of rich Gorgonzola, pear, walnuts and cauliflower.

Grilled Franschhoek trout.
Grilled Franschhoek trout.
Image: Supplied

Mains take shape in a deboned, slow cooked lamb — marinated in garlic, parsley and anchovy — and while delicious, it’s the side of barbecued red cabbage which steals the show. The humble veg elevated to new heights with its perfectly balanced tangy, salty, sweet and spicy basting. A textural risotto of pumpkin and barley with goats’ cheese, granola, Parmesan and brown butter brings the savoury courses to a close.

Slow cooked lamb.
Slow cooked lamb.
Image: Supplied

Last, but not least, dessert arrives in the form of a deconstructed apple pie — elements of apple, cream and spice coming together in various forms to create a marvellous end to the meal.

Deconstructed apple pie.
Deconstructed apple pie.
Image: Supplied

A fabulous dinner from start to finish, the new locale clearly invigorating the chef and offering a promising taste of what’s to come. It is, in my opinion, the best the chef has cooked in ages and I look forward to visiting Jordan Restaurant with Marthinus Ferreira when it opens its doors.

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