Plus see Bonaparte’s cut-glass crystal goblets and taste the modern version of his ...
Towerbosch restaurant – taste the enchantment
Gourmet farm food in Stellenbosch for your seven stomachs (or is it 8?)
I'm under a spell. It's been a week, and the delicate taste of traditional Smoorsnoek is still swimming in my mouth. On top of it, the Sauvignon blanc from forty year old vines is still singing through my head. No, I didn't drink too much, that was last time. This time, I visited Towerbosch restaurant. Nestled against the backdrop of the magical Knorhoek farm, against the magnificent Simonsberg mountains, Towerbosch is tasteful and tasty, but most of all, it is enchanting.
It all began with a long and winding road – no wait, scrap that.
How did I find my way into this fairytale? Along a rather short, very civilised tar road, six kilometres outside of Stellenbosch central, actually. I followed the R44 into wine land, took a right onto the Knorhoek road and followed it until the end. At the entrance, the wand is waved and the enchantment begins.
Knorhoek is an active farm. You can go there for a weekend away or a work conference, taste the fruits of its labours in its red and white wines and, since September 2009, in its dedicated restaurant.
Open your eyes, you are not imagining things. ..are you?
Towerbosch is a magician's nest housed in a semi-renovated house tucked into a corner of a beautifully kept valley. Its definitive decorations and rustic chic weave a spellbinding combination of modern luxury and time-honoured taste. Think bright, white detail against dense thatch. Walk through the strip glass doors into an open-plan room with a large, open fireplace. It's a room that invites celebration, whether the large loveliness of a wedding, or the close comfort of a quiet dinner. (and the venue is popular for functions, catered or not).
A home inside a home
Take a few minutes to browse the bookshelf in the dedicated mini-library in the corner (that's actually the kitchen entrance). The floor is filled with tables of different sizes, and whilst utterly homely, the building is intrinsically artistic. The bespoke 'chandeliers' spanning the light fittings all along the invisible ceiling are made from whitened twigs from the farm and hung with antique crockery. Equally elegant and eclectic, the tables are dressed in an assortment of silverware and mixed china sourced from the ancestors and relatives. The effect is pretty yet stately, hardly needing additional decoration for any occasion and as unique as the individually selected chairs. Its menu is just as individual.
Simple, sophisticated, delicious – Towerbosch is a mouthful
Specialising in unabashedly delicious 'salt and pepper' cuisine for lunch (and on request for larger parties at night), Towerbosch combines the tasty of the traditional and the simplicity of the modern. Towerbosch's chef, Westley Muller treated us to a selection of the whole menu (usually it's a la carte, and on Sundays, there's an open braai next to the pool, popular with families). Starting with a freshly baked, home-recipe bread that has put pre-sliced bread asunder forever; we were delighted to find out that the preserves like homemade tomato jam are available for purchase.
The Smoorsnoek starter (R75) had an unusual onion pickle. This traditional recipe goes well with a few squeezes of fresh lemon to harmonise the pickle. The Pantère 2005 is an undemanding red blend that went very nicely with the slow roast shoulder of lamb; it fell of the bone, the Pantère fell off my tongue and I nearly fell off my chair at all this delicacy. Since I'm mature about these things, I elegantly got back on it and found the aged sirloin (R95) full flavoured and delicious.
Far be it for Towerbosch to enchant only the carnivorous. The vegetable accompaniments were as special as the meaty mains. I loved the sweetened pumpkin, stared at the bright, mashed carrot before eating it apologetically (it nearly shouted Holland! at me and wanted to be in a stadium somewhere, except it has much too much taste), nibbled the crispy French fried wedges quite contentedly. I didn't have room for the homemade chicken pie, let alone desserts. And boy do they lay it on thick here – Brulée Sago pudding (R35), preserved guavas with homemade custard (R35), poached quinces with vanilla custard (R35), a wine lands cheese platter (SQ). Say no more, just make room for more. What was that about cows having seven stomachs? I want to be a cow. Sorry; I told you I was under a spell. Let's get back to reality.
Re-entering the world outside, I realised that the modern farm hospitality we felt here is much more than magic. It's built on the passion and vision of people who love the way they live, live the way they want to, and want to share it with you. And if I didn't say it before, best I say it now.
Once Upon a time, in a corner of a great, grape farm called Knorhoek, was a wonderful little building where you could eat wonderful heaps of food. And no, the ginger bread house has nothing on Towerbosch! Pass the bread, please.
Towerbosch Restaurant is open
Sundays to Mondays
12:00 - 15:00
and can be booked evenings for larger groups.
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