Constantia Uitsig Restaurant

Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate has become one of our favourite weekend destinations of late (you can read about our amazing experiences here and here), so when the lovely man and I received an invitation to join them for lunch at the Constantia Uitsig Restaurant, I jumped at the chance.

Among its many attractions, Constantia Uitsig Estate is home to three amazing and unique restaurantsThe River Café (who still make the best eggs Benedict and lattes I’ve ever had – read about it here), Constantia Uitsig Restaurant, and La Colombe (very much still on my “to try” list). Wedged between the relaxed sophistication of The River Café, and the award-winning prestige of La Colombe, Constantia Uitsig Restaurant could be forgiven for suffering from “middle child syndrome”. However, after the most sumptuous three-course lunch we enjoyed on Saturday, I can assure you it is not a meal that will be easily forgotten

As soon I confirmed our booking, I immediately began obsessing over the menu trying to decide what to order…just as well I started looking well in advance, as this process took days. I finally made my choice of a warm goat’s cheese salad with sundried tomatoes and baby leaves, veal saltimbocca in a white wine and lardon sauce, with artichokes and a country mash, and crème brulee to end. The lovely man was living dangerously and was only going to decide what he would order when he arrived. Gasp. I could never be so irresponsible.

Walking through the converted house that is now the restaurant, we were seated at a table right next to the window, facing the garden, vineyards and mountain. Due to the slightly unpredictable weather, we decided against a table outside, but I’d recommend it if the weather is on your side.

We arrived just before 13h00, and there were only 5 or so occupied tables in our section. However, 30 minutes later, there wasn’t a spare chair in sight –obviously a popular choice for Saturday lunches, and for good reason.

After being read the specials of the day, the lovely man decided on the salami and proscuitto with fig to start, sirloin with mushroom ragu, creamy mushroom, truffle oil and artichoke sauce, with wilted spinach and pine nuts for mains, and the chocolate marquise with orange scented cream to end.

We were both very pleased with our starters – my salad was very generous (a recurring theme throughout the meal) with warm goat’s cheese and tangy sundried tomatoes, on perfectly dressed baby leaves. Standout aspect of the dish was the incredible “house” vinaigrette.
The lovely man’s cured meats and fig delivered everything a starter should – enough to pique the appetite, and a beautifully balanced combination of flavours.
 We were offered a palate cleanser of dragon fruit and Cointreau smoothie –vividly purple and served in shot glasses, it was deliciously refreshing, and I could have easily had a whole glass full.
 Our mains arrived, and while I wasn’t disappointed in my meal at all, I had definite “order envy” once I tasted the lovely man’s. My veal was cooked perfectly, the portion was generous, and the sauce had the right amount of acidity to match the richness of the meat – but the lovely man’s main course, or rather, the sauce, was the highlight of the meal.
Perfectly medium-rare sirloin, smothered a ridiculously delicious mushroom, artichoke and truffle oil sauce, it had him giggling with pleasure in front of me. Obviously our lovely waitress noticed the gasps of delight coming from our table, and offered an extra jug of sauce, in which the lovely man subsequently proceeded completely drown his meal. For extra re-assurance – this is a restaurant that offers man sized portions : steaks are all around 300g, and the loveliness struggled to finish his steak, after a starter (yes, he ordered dessert, but that’s another issue entirely as it goes into the dessert stomach).
My crème brulee was all it should be – a crisp crack of sugar on top, velvety smooth, vanilla specked custard below, served with strawberries and a cinnamon palmier on the side.
However, the lovely man’s chocolate marquis, sadly for me, delivered another case of order envy. A devilishly rich, ganache like chocolate quenelle on a sea of orange-chocolate scented cream, it was a perfectly indulgent note on which to end a fantastic lunch. As we rolled our way out the door and to our car, we knew this would stand out as a special lunch for a while to come.

Thanks must to go to Fiona at Constantia Uitsig for inviting us for lunch, and of course, to Chef Clayton Bell at Constantia Uitsig Restaurant for a memorable meal (the lovely man still can’t stop talking about it).
Note : we enjoyed this meal as guests of Constantia Uitsig. However, I was not compensated in any way to write favourably on my experience, and all views expressed in this article are entirely my own.


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