Friday, 26 July 2013

The astonishing restaurant at Jordan Wine Estate

Jordan Restaurant, at the wine estate of the same name (just outside Stellenbosch) has raced to the top of my Western Cape dining experience list.  The relaxed, unpretentious vibe and busy open kitchen embraces you and very quickly you are part of what is a fantastic atmosphere.  A spectacular backdrop of big South African sky, vineyards and distant mountains provides added value but with the food and wine on offer, there's very little time for that sort of distraction.

The 4 course 'Menu du Jour' (which changes daily) sounded interesting but what arrived was sublime.  A demonstration of restrained and creative cooking with flavours and textures that all sang from the same song sheet.          

Jerusalem artichoke veloute and sage beurre noisette

(so good I didn't even have enough time to look at it, let alone take a photo)
Salt and sugar cured Springbok tartar, celeriac confit, hazelnuts, prune puree and smoked egg yolk

 Wood-fire roasted pork belly, white-bean cassoulet, charred onion salad and aromatic jus

   Honey and poppy-seed soufflé     


Um, yes please!

Food like this, matched with wines that have excelled at both the recent Decanter World Wine Awards and the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show, is something that needs to be taken seriously.   

George Jardine, head/executive chef (aka the one who should be obeyed), was born into a family of chefs in Edinburgh.  His culinary talents led him to London where he worked under Jean Christophe Novelli.  A stint at the Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel in Cape Town and time at top restaurants in Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and then Sydney have (in my opinion) given life to what is an imaginative cooking brain that is bursting at the seams.  George returned to Cape Town in 2006 and in 2009 the restaurant at Jordan opened with him and his brain standing in the kitchen. 

In an interview in 2011 George was asked what the most challenging part of his job was.  His reply was 'grumpy guests and people who, before they even sit down, have already made up their minds'.   

Well done Jordan, George and the whole team, my mind was made up 30 seconds after walking through your doors, you guys are superb.

George very kindly gave me the recipe for his luscious soufflé.

Honey and Poppy seed soufflé
  1. 500ml milk
  2. 6 egg yolks
  3. 200g sugar
  4. 80g flour
  5. 1 vanilla pod
  • in a sauce pan bring the milk and vanilla up to a boil
  • in a bowl combine the egg yolk, sugar and flour until well incorporated
  • pour over a 1/3 of the boiling milk, mix then combine all into the sauce pan and cook out for 10 minutes
  • the mix should thicken
  • once cooked pour onto a tray and allow to cool
To make the soufflé:

For each souffle you will measure:
  1. 50g of the base
  2. 100g egg white
  3. 50g sugar
  4. a tsp honey
  5. 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
  • whisk the egg whites with the sugar until firm peaks have been achieved
  • in a separate bowl combine the base, poppy-seeds and honey then fold in the egg whites
  • spoon this into well buttered soufflé dishes (we use 13cm diameter dishes), and bake at 180C for 10 minutes
  • serve immediately with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream

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