By Bianca Coleman
Eating out in winter is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s difficult to rouse oneself from the warmth of one’s own home to brave the outside world. But on the other, it’s the best time of the year for great comfort food and special deals across the board, from fine dining to street eats.
Terroir launched its winter offerings recently, a tight and pared down menu of just three starters, two mains, two desserts, and a cheese plate. “A tight edit on the winter menu allows us to change it more often – even daily – depending on the best available produce, the weather and what we feel like cooking,” says Michael Broughton.
In addition to the a la carte, this year Terroir has what it calls Winter Plates. These are two main courses which can be ordered separately or in conjunction with any of the starters and desserts. Priced at R195 and including a glass of red or white wine, the Winter Plates “portray warmth, comfort and generosity on the plate, while still offering value for money,” says Broughton.
One of these dishes is dry aged Angus sirloin topped with Maître‘d Hotel butter, and the other is line fish. Both are excellent, the former being accompanied by heavenly roast potatoes, twice-cooked fries or roasted root vegetables, and the latter with a crunchy winter salad or a ragout of tomatoes, white beans and mussels. As per Broughton’s previous comment, these can change according to what’s good at the market.
While there are items that should they be removed from the regular chalkboard menu, diners would likely riot (like the prawn risotto), there are some excellent new additions. For starters, try the fried buffalo mozzarella, with grapefruit, brown butter and baby beets; braised chicken wings with corn, ginger, miso and boudin blanc; or a Vietnamese-style pho, given the Broughton touch with shaved fillet of Angus beef, egg noodles, foie gras, tofu, sprouts and greens. The broth is served separately at the table. It’s wholesome and hearty with a slight kick. “A pho may be a humble dish, but the same fundamental cooking foundations I believe in still apply,” says Broughton.
Besides the Winter Plates, main courses could include springbok (or other venison) pie with corn and curry butter, and a slice of the loin; roast chicken with foie gras, truffle and mushroom; and lamb two ways with yoghurt cream, smoked paprika and mint oil.
Dessert is more than just a sweet ending at Terroir; it’s an experience. Like the Cognac Baba (instead of rum) with marshmallow ice cream, chamomile jellies, and “tie-dye” pineapple. Every dish that comes out of the kitchen is exquisitely presented.
Since opening in 2004, Terroir has achieved an Eat Out Top 10 restaurant award eight years out of 10. It is the subject of a television series called Seasons At Terroir which has aired on National Geographic, recently launched ‘Terroir – the Cookbook’ (Struik Lifestyle), which they say “depicts the synergy between the restaurant’s deceptively simple food and the highly acclaimed wines of Kleine Zalze,” the estate upon which the restaurant is situated. “Deceptively simple” is a matter of opinion, if you know how much time and energy – and love – Broughton and his team spend on preparing their fabulous dishes.
* Terroir is situated at Kleine Zalze, Strand Road, Stellenbosch.
For reservations, call 021 880 8167; or send an email to email@example.com.
Open for lunch daily; dinner Mondays to Saturdays.
Terroir will be closed from June 29 to July 14 for its annual winter break.