5 Rooms at The Alphen Hotel

The lovely man and I recently discovered a real gem in Constantia - The Alphen Hotel, and more specifically their 5 Rooms Restaurant. We love Constantia, and spend many weekends exploring the region's wine farms - but we never ventured towards The Alphen, simply because it was an hotel, and subsequently out of our budget we assumed.

Thankfully, we were offered the opportunity to explore this uncharted territory, and we loved it so much we went twice in the space of a week! You know you've found something really special, when you walk around the ground constantly "oohing" and "aahing" and in complete disbelief that you hadn't found this oasis sooner.

The hotel itself is a 300 year old National Monument, and shares a border with the Alphen Trail - the means the grounds are lush, with streams running through green lawns and frogs croaking as you walk. It is truly, spectacularly beautiful, and The Alphen is worth the visit if only simply to walk in the grounds, and have a drink on one of the elegant red, white and blue couches of the Rose Bar.


We were fortunate enough to experience 5 Rooms both for lunch and dinner (the photographs are of our lunch experience, as the lighting for dinner is more romantic and less geared towards food photography!) The restaurant itself is a series of interleading rooms, which makes hiring one out for entertaining incredibly easy - with dark rich colours, heavy fabrics and dramatic décor it makes for a sumptuous night out - I'm already eying it for a function.

Back to the food - after being given still-warm seed bread, Luke had a spicy mussel starter, in a rich tomato sauce, with fresh ciabatta on the side. He was definitely a fan, and I think he could have easily had it as a main if the portion was larger.

I had the duck liver pate, rolled in seeds and nuts, with blood orange jelly and microgreens. Oh my goodness, it was amazing. Quite easily the highlight of my meal, and it looked like a work of art on my plate. Rich pate, with melt-in-your-mouth cubes of jelly and the crunch of the nuts, it was a perfectly balanced dish.
I chose the butter chicken for mains, which came with basmati rice, a poppadum basket and fresh coriander. It was the right amount of spicy, balanced with a creamy sauce and tender chicken - all you could want in a curry.

Luke had the veal Marsala, which was served with a creamy mushroom sauce, a basil pesto potato souffle wrapped in thinly sliced aubergine, and greens. The veal was lovely, and the portion generous, but the highlight of the dish was definitely the sauce.

For pudding, the lovely man had a trio of ice cream, and I had the apple and cranberry crumble, which came with a lovely orange-scented creme anglaise. The crumble was topped with a oaty mix, which made it deliciously crunchy, and complemented the soft apples perfectly.

As an aside, Luke had the chocolate fondant for dessert when we went for dinner, and it was officially the best chocolate fondant I have ever had. That alone is reason for a visit - and at only R55, it's more than worth it.

5 Rooms are having great winter specials, including 2 courses for R150 and 3 courses for R180. It comes highly recommended.

Contact +27 (0) 21 795 6313 or e-mail 5rooms@alphen.co.za

Note : we enjoyed these meals as guests of 5 Rooms Restaurant, with thanks to Greater Than PR.



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