Image: Christof van der Walt @ One League

If outstanding wines can be likened to poetry, then the food at Waterkloof Wine Estate restaurant in Somerset West can best be compared to plated art. The artist behind these edible masterpieces is Gregory Czarnecki, who honed his skills under the astute eye of Alain Senderens, regarded as one of the 
founders of nouvelle cuisine. Czarnecki’s cooking mantra is to respect the produce by accentuating each ingredient’s true flavour.

He has a knack for uniting disparate flavours to produce a rich profusion of tastes, a successful execution of the “paletteto-palate” philosophy where food must taste as good, if not better, than it looks. The poached kingklip with sweet pepper, meat jus and concentrated tomato remains the most exciting seafood dish to have passed my lips in a long time, while the Tahiti vanilla vacherin with passion fruit, jasmine and orchid takes the cake for the most whimsical presentation. Dubbed the “cellar in the sky”, the eatery is a striking glass cube atop the Schaapenberg mountain, with unimpeded views of False Bay.

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