Towards the end of last year, a small group of media headed up to Chef Santi’s apartment in the city, to enjoy an evening of his cooking, paired with the incredible wines of Lozarn Estate.
Chef’s Table Cape Town is set high above the Cape Town CBD, in a beautiful, open-plan apartment that wouldn’t be out of place in the heart of Manhattan. While it’s our dinner venue for the evening, it’s also Chef Santi’s home – where you’re welcomed by him behind his kitchen counter, as you’re handed a glass of wine and watch him prepare for the evening.
And, lucky for us, the wine of the evening was that of Lozärn, an estate situated in Robertson – making it a night filled with firsts for me, as it as also my first time tasting their wines.
I’ll share a few details from our meal and experience with Lozärn and Chef Santi below, but as his menu changes for each dinner, it’s more to give you an idea of the style of food that you can expect, rather than the finer points of each dish.
Mushroom velouté with truffle oil, smoked mussel canapés // Chardonnay 2018
We devoured the roaming canapés with a glass – or several – of Chardonnay. Wooded (my very favourite kind), but still crips and fresh with notes of citrus and butterscotch, we were off to a fantastic start to the evening. It’s also worth mentioning that we were honoured to have their winemaker, Salome Buys-Vermeulen, with us for the evening too, and wasted no time picking her brain about each vintage and varietal as the evening went on.
Prawn cocktail // Carménère Rosé 2017
Chef’s Santi’s take on the prawn cocktail was undoubtedly unconventional, but thankfully – also properly delicious. We enjoyed it with two “wines” – one, more conventional in the form of the Carménère Rosé, and the other, a first for everyone at the table – tomato wine. While the tomato wine was an experiment, and an intriguing, pretty pleasant one at that – it was the Carménère Rosé that came into its own against the prawn and tomato. A fairly unknown varietal locally, it stems from Chile where – until quite recently – was misidentified as Merlot, and will increasingly become Lozärn’s flagship varietal over the coming years. From the rosé, you can expect hints of cherries and strawberries with well-balanced acidity, perfect for summer.
Crab and hake and caviar with dill oil // Chardonnay 2018
Spanish chorizo salad // Shiraz 2016
A celebration of traditional Spanish ingredients, paying homage to Chef Santi’s home town, the next course feature chorizo for the meat eaters, and marinated peppers for me – paired with the Shiraz. A varietal I generally find to be a little to spicy when not included in a blend, I was surprised by how much I loved this wine – red berries are complemented by hints of gentle white pepper, balanced but, not overpowering.
The evening progressed at a leisurely pace, as we enjoyed seared tuna (seared duck for the meat eaters) with cherry jus, baby potatoes and seasonal vegetables, served with Kay’s Legacy, as well as a immersive dessert experienced, paired with the Carménère.
The food thought out the evening was unreservedly delicious – not quite fine dining, but definitely a special, and memorable night out – made even more special by the incredible wines and presence and knowledge of Salome, who was patient with us as she guided us through her range of wines.
Dinners at Chef’s Table Cape Town usually cost R850 pp, including wines – on our evening, we enjoyed seven courses, not all of them detailed above. For more information on dinner, head here. Visit Lozarn wines here.
I enjoyed this evening as a guest of Lozarn Wines. All views and images are my own.