Following the recent announcement that Neethlingshof is now a 100% independent family owned wine estate operating under the Stone Pine Wines (SPW) banner, The Restaurant at Neethlingshof has appointed a new chef, Brendan Stein, who has now developed a fresh new menu.
Brendan brings with him extensive experience spanning 14 years in the industry, years that have seen him working at the likes of La Colombe at Contantia Uitsig; Caffe Milano & 95 Keerom; The River Café at Constantia Uitsig; &Beyond Mnemba Island Lodge in Zanzibar; Vamizi Island Lodge & Private Villa Collection in Mozambique; Coco Bodu Hithi Resort in the Maldives; Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge; Cape Point Vineyards Restaurant; and most recently, Indochine Restaurant at the Delaire Graff Lodge & Spa.
“I am excited to have stepped into a leadership role at The Restaurant at Neethlingshof and to be given the opportunity to apply everything that I have learnt over the years in order to develop and grow the food and beverage offerings at the estate,” says Brendan. “I am looking forward to working with the team here – all of whom are passionate about their roles and excited to make changes to access the untapped potential we have here.”
“This new chapter in my food journey allows me the freedom to express myself and use the many various techniques learnt all over the world in some of the more far-flung locations in which I have worked.”
New menu at Neethlingshof
Brendan explains that the new menu at The Restaurant at Neethlingshof offers lunches and dinners – with classic starters such as white wine steamed mussels, beef carpaccio and something different in the form of a grilled miso aubergine. Light meals on the menu include a chilli chicken burger which comes with home-made kimchi, and a crowd favourite beer battered hake, whilst the mains on offer include pan fried line fish with cherry tomato, olive and caper sauce, lentil bobotie (which they are quite well known for) springbok shank served with creamy polenta and black cherry jus – perfect to warm you this winter – and an ostrich fillet which is marinated in chermoula and served with sweet potato two ways and beetroot relish – to name a few items.
Last but not least, desserts on the new menu offer patrons choices such as a coconut pannacotta with assorted berries; lemon curd with shortbread, meringues, strawberries and white chocolate aero; a dark chocolate tart balanced with white chocolate mousse and gooseberries; or a salted caramel parfait for those hot Stellenbosch afternoons. There is also a South African cheese plate for those with somewhat of a lesser sweet tooth, which features amazing artisanal cheeses.
All of the meals on the new menu have recommended wine pairings – with, for example, the Neethlingshof Chenin Blanc pairing well with the bacon and blue cheese salad, the Neethlingshof Gewurztraminer complementing the Thai Green Curry, and the Neethlingshof The Maria Late Noble Harvest being recommended with all desserts barring the dark chocolate tart which pairs brilliantly with the Neethlingshof Malbec.
“I draw inspiration from my surroundings when it comes to creating dishes,” says Brendan. “The new menu at Neethlingshof has been designed to be more timeless, with ingredients that are accessible through all the seasons. I start conceptualising a dish by choosing the core element and then working in the details around it.”
Brendan advises that some of his favourite items on the new menu include the ostrich fillet as well as the blue cheese and bacon salad. “The ostrich dish translated perfectly onto the plate from my imagination, without many tweaks needed – something which doesn’t happen often. The blue cheese and bacon salad is a winner in terms of flavour combinations. When it comes to the desserts, for me it is a toss-up between the coconut pannacotta, which not only looks beautiful, but is also perfectly balanced in terms of flavours, and the lemon curd, which has a lot going on flavour wise and plays with your taste buds!”
The Restaurant at Neethlingshof is housed in the original manor house on the estate. This beautiful old building, now a National Monument, was completed in 1814 by Maria Marais, the owner of the farm at the time. In 1788 Charles Marais and his eighteen-year old wife Maria purchased the farm in what would become the modern-day Stellenboschkloof. The couple immediately set about expanding the vineyards and constructing a wine cellar and the manor house. Sadly Charles passed away before the house was completed, leaving Maria to finish the task alone.
Now an iconic avenue of stone pines leads visitors up towards the stately manor house and on the decorative gable above the front terrace one will notice six ornate flowers adorning the masonry. Maria added these to represent herself and her five daughters.
For over two hundred years this iconic estate has turned out some of the finest wines in the district, and now added to this reputation for excellence are the delectable meals that can be enjoyed at The Restaurant at Neethlingshof.
For more information about Neethlingshof and its wines or to book, visit www.neethlingshof.co.za or call the restaurant on (021) 883 8966. Find them on Facebook @neethlingshof; and Hill&Dale at www.hillanddale.co.za or their Facebook page @hillanddalewines.
The wines, available at retail outlets nationwide, are found on many restaurant wine lists and can be purchase from the farm or by sending your request to firstname.lastname@example.org