This was the start of my journey at the Food and Wine Bloggers Indaba, to be held at Monkey Valley Beach Nature Resort, the following day and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
We were greeted with smiles and were whisked up to our table in the eaves of the barn – the table elegantly set with white linen and complimented with an eloquent arrangement of flowers.
Our waitress reminded me intensely of Vanessa from Gossip Girl, which I mentioned to her and we both laughed, setting the tone for the evening – animated elegance.
The first thing that caught my eye was the fact that all the wine on the menu could be ordered in carafes – 10 points scored already!
There were three food menus to choose from, the a’la Carte, Bistro and Degustation Menu. I chose to order from the Bistro Menu and my dining companion chose the a’la Carte.
After much deliberation as everything sounded temptingly scrumptious – I settled on “Fresh tuna tartare with lemon and chives, served on avo pulp with aioli, finished with minute fried prawns and pickled ginger.”
This may seem a mouthful, but in fact it was light and buzzed with clean flavours. The prawns were melt-in-the-mouth, smokey deliciousness – I couldn’t begin to give their magnificence justice. The tuna was paper thin, with the subtle flavours of the lemon, chives, avo and aioli complimenting its freshness. The surprising finale was the little red fish balls popping in my mouth, while the ginger left a refreshing aftertaste.
My friend’s starter was a duck extravaganza entitled, “My way around a free-range duck”: Homemade duck breast ham served with ripe melon and baby mesclun (assorted young salad leaves), Duck parfait brulee, Duck confit spring roll, finished with Port and citrus vinaigrette.
This can only be described as art on the palate.
And speaking of the palate, our palate cleanser was a boozy mango drinking sorbet – a brilliant idea and delicious.
My main was “spicy pork belly and chitterling sausage, wrapped in a crispy spring roll, served with roasted plum tomato, potato fritter and finished with a cream of mustard and fresh herbs” The unusualness of this dish caught my attention and didn’t disappoint as all the flavours worked in unison. I especially enjoyed the Christmassy spice of the pork belly encased in the crunchy spring roll.
The other main was “grilled free-range Namibian beef fillet served with potato fondant with cep (a type of mushroom) tapenade and fresh rocket, finished with a cream of cep and morel”
Although I couldn’t eat another bite; the selection of cheeses proved too much of a temptation and I just had to squeeze in a few cheesey biscuits, topped with tangy preserve.
It was a lovely evening, made all the more amazing by the polished and friendly service, great company and of course excellent food.
I was now ready to embrace the Indaba!