When it comes to fine dining, I’m admittedly not the best of critics. I don’t have a foodie background as such, but I can tell a great meal from a fantastic one and although I know my way around a kitchen, there are still things that outfox me, like poaching an egg for instance. That being said, perhaps its for those very reasons I can truly appreciate fine dining that much more as a result?
Eating out in Cape Town is always an overwhelming experience for me just because there are so many great, new options to try. And admittedly I’ve fallen into the trap before where trying out the latest eatery isn’t as rewarding is the hype promises. This time however, I was lucky enough to be invited to dine at Peter Tempelhoff’s The Greenhouse based at The Cellars-Hohenhort hotel in Constantia.
The Greenhouse has been designed to be an intimate space, with a sectioned-off dining room offering only just over 40 seats. I understand these get filled most nights by locals and travellers alike, so I was lucky to get a late reservation. Sitting down, it was evident that I was in for something gastronomically spectacular.
The tasting menu was explained in brief detail before the experience began and a small amuse bouche, playfully called ‘high tea’ was nestled in the centre of the table. These treats were in fact all made from savoury items and tasted as such. My favourite had to be the beetroot macaron. A bread board set out exquisitely and accompanied by herb butters was also served at the start, probably a good thing because reading the menu had set my stomach to starving almost instantly.
As each course was brought along, it was apparent the amount of skill being garnered by the kitchen staff for each and every detail. The presentation of each morsel had been painstakingly thought out, and the flavours matched the look of every single course.
There is also a hint of fun spread across all of the dishes. One of the highlights for me was the gin jelly that had been thinly set over the glass brick the Gin & Tonic course was served on.
With our tasting menu came the paired wines recommended by our personal sommelier Keith. His dry wit and knowledge about each wine and its estate were a massive part of the entire experience. I felt like I had been schooled on Constantia wines after that meal!
The portion sizes were absolutely perfect. After the meal, I felt satisfied but not too full, although admittedly I battled to keep up with the wine portions despite my best efforts!
The Greenhouse requires bookings and is open Tuesday through Saturday for Dinner. It’s reputation as a fantastic restaurant means that booking in advance is probably a good idea. Follow your meal with an espresso, if only to see how beautifully that’s served too!