By Naushad Khan
Harvest festivals are celebrated globally around the main harvest time in that region. This festival really comes alive in the Cape around the harvests at our world class vineyards at the end of February. This year I spent my day at Laborie harvesting my own grapes and stomping them with my feet in a large vat. What a fun way to spend a Saturday morning. Laborie also has a market every Saturday with home baked biscuits, preserves and crafts on sale. Home-smoked trout from this region is a must.
The newest attraction at Laborie is their restaurant Harvest at Laborie that operates under the supervision of internationally acclaimed consultant chef Mathew Gordon. Mathew is no stranger to the Winelands, having established himself in the Franschoek area. You can expect all things fresh and local on his menus with most of the vegetables and herbs from the on-site garden.
Lunch is served seven days a week and dinner from Wednesday to Saturday. Breakfast is served on Saturday mornings. Harvest at Laborie is set in the heart of Paarl, with amazing views across the valley and the jewel of Paarl as its backdrop. Any dining experience here is special and one can easily get soaked up into the warmth of one of the oldest wine farms is South Africa.
Mathew has created a lunch and dinner menu that has some old favourites that can be found on both menus, as well as some very special items that I am sure are becoming just as popular. Like the seared home-smoked trout with fresh herbs, vegetables and trout caviar salad. We opted for a Thai chicken and prawn salad as a starter to share (they do have specials of the day) and we were not disappointed at all. The use of fresh herbs really made the dish explode with flavours.
Our mains included the Karoo lamb burgers, fillet, Durban style beef curry and some slow cooked shanks. The food at Harvest is something special, but it would not be fair if I do not mention that the service matches this equally. It is often the bad service at a restaurant that can really spoil your mood and overall experience. No such issues here.Well, if you are serving the finest food, prepared by excellent chefs in a world class setting, then most of your work in ensuring an all-round great experience for your patrons is pretty much done.
The Karoo lamb burger served in a sourdough pumpkin seed roll came out tops amongst the four mains we chose. It is a generous serving and elevates the humble handheld burger into a more main-course style dining option. With all the trimmings, including caramelised red-onion, guacamole, pancetta, and wild rocket this made for a great lunch. It is worth mentioning the Durban style beef curry was also very tasty and authentic, the fillet done to perfection and my shanks just fell of the bone, just the way it should.Paarl is a short drive from Cape Town and there are many great outdoor dining options virtually on our doorstep ideal for these idyllic Cape sunny days we are experiencing. Harvest at Laborie is one such spot that is sure not to disappoint.