It is early evening as we drive alongside the vineyards toward Rust en Vrede. In ceremonious style we are met outside the Rust en Vrede Restaurant by the host Ronalda. She directs us to a terrace patio table overlooking the rolling lawns and the vineyards in the distance where canapés and sundowners are served.
Seated, we are served a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a canapé consisting of Parmesan cumin straws, Curried Popcorn, Flavoured “Braaibroodtjies” with cheese and Tomato on saffron mayonnaise, and Onion and Fennel Bahji dough, while we are able to enjoy the beauty of nature, the last of the setting sun, and its pink rays cutting through the vineyards in the distance.
Cecele, the Maître d’, appears from within the Restaurant through the large double glass doors leading onto the Restaurant patio. She invites us into the luxurious dining room with its open plan showcase kitchen, guides us to our table, and asks, “May I take your jacket, Sir,” to which I gladly responded “Yes”.
The chairs are drawn from the table and as we sat down, pushed in. She turns to me and points to the waitress and says, “Your waitress for the evening is Marilize”.
Marilize presents us with some sparkling water, and in a most elegant way she holds a napkin by the side of the glass to prevent any escaping sparkles while pouring.
She returns and presents us with the menu which reflects the option of choice, either the Four Course or the Six Course Menu. The four course menu reflects regular dishes with a selection of one of three dishes within each of the four courses, while the six course menu reflects a sequence of finely designed dishes. Each of the six dishes includes a wine pairing option.
In royal style, having been seated, the gastronomic journey at Rust en Vrede begins. The Six Course Menu becomes the preferred choice of the evening.
The waitress, Kirsten presents us a tray selection of appetizing mini breads consisting of Guinness loaves, mini Sundried Tomato and Olive Focaccia, mini white perfectly round rolls, mini Black Sausage and Thyme, and mini Sage and Onion Brioche. What an unexpected pleasure to be greeted with the presence of pure white goat’s milk butter as spread on these freshly baked mini loaves.
Barry Scholfield, the assistant Sommelier introduces himself, and in a very professional manner explains the various pairing to the dishes on the menu.
The first course, the Pan Seared Tuna, with marinated Octopus, Seaweed, Pickled Ginger, Teriyaki, and Sesame, is paired with a developed style of Champagne, the 2000 Guy Charbaut Premier Cru Millésime Brut and perfectly complemented the umami rich, salty, maritime, light and elegant quality of the dish. It is a Champagne blended from two thirds Pinot Noir and one third Chardonnay, and showed a rich palate with developed aromas and an elegant mineral structure.
The second course, the Smoked Tomato Tortellini’s with Blue Cheese, Walnut, Pesto, and Tomato Leather, is paired with a Babylonstoren Mouvedre Rose 2013. Harvested slightly earlier in the season the wine shows a restrained, fresh, herbaceous tomato leaf character that emphasis the smoky and spicy character of the pure.
The third course, the Crown Roasted Kroon Duck served with Butternut, Star Anise, Lentils, Chestnut, and Pancetta indicated a lighter style of wine, to match the texture of the duck, with good structure and sweet aroma profile to compliment the sweet and spicy nature of the dish. The Bouchard Finlayson Pinot Noir 2004 on jeroboam achieved this with a distinct Walker Bay Pinot Noir character of sweet red fruit and spice, while the jeroboam provided excellent complexity from age without losing freshness due to the limited amount of oxygen to wine and low temperature fluctuation due to larger volume.
The fourth course, the Chalmar Beef – Head to Tail a combination of cheek, Rib, Sirloin, Oxtail is served with Parsnip and Coffee Purée, and Baby Marrow. On their main courses the Chef always prepares more rustic red meat dishes and, taking into consideration the delicate nature of John’s cooking we source directly from our vinotique. Aged wines lose their harsh tannin structure and in the case of our Rust en Vrede Estate Shiraz 1998, produced by Kevin Arnold, shows great complexity with developed farmyard, meat, leather and red fruit character which perfectly complement the meaty flavours of the dish.
The fifth course is the Twice Baked Goat Cheese Soufflé, with quince, and Peanut Brittle. With the goats cheese Soufflé pairing is confronted with the issue of lightness and freshness against musky goats cheese flavours. Deciding against the conventional compliment pairing the dish is contrasted with a light fresh and floral 2012 Viognier by Francois Villard from Condrieu. A very well made, typical condrieu with delicate floral aromas and a slightly waxy texture.
The sixth course, the Chocolate Mille-Feuille, the chef expertly contrasted the bitter salty nature of the chocolate with the fresh fruit character of the passion fruit. It was decided to build on this with a clean, light and fresh style of sweet wine. The Hermanuspietersfontein Nr.2 Sauvignon Blanc Noble Late Harvest from the Sondagskloof ward of Walker Bay was an excellent choice in quality, light and an elegant Noble Late Harvest with exceptional purity of fruit.
John Shuttleworth, the Head Chef, attends to the setting of each dish. His gracefully prepared dishes in miniscule portions plated on porcelain slate plates invite guests to engage with each flavour. It is these flavours that bring out an amazing sensation through the combination of elements.
John is able to excite the taste buds by the sheer range of ingredients meticulously decorated on the porcelain slate – a constant drive toward excellence.
In the comfort of upholstered chairs, dishes served on crockery handmade by the designer craftsman potter David Walters and wine enjoyed in glasses shaped for different wine varieties with its heavy silver cutlery dressed on fine linen, is the character of this world class restaurant neatly etched. Rust en Vrede Restaurant being regarded as a World Class Restaurant pride themselves on anticipating what the Guests may require before asked; provide a setting in an old Cape Dutch farm-styled building – an atmosphere which blends in, and matches well with elegance the presentation of their flavoursome dishes. Rust en Vrede upholds quality, style, and a smooth service of fine dining with a romantic touch. Last but not the least; the Sommelier applies his genial ability to pair wine with the flavourful dishes graciously prepared by John.
For the wine connoisseur Rust en Vrede provides a selection of 1000 different Vintages, local as well as from almost all wine producing regions around the world.
Rust en Vrede Restaurant operates a pre-book operation. It is advisable to make all reservations ahead of time. The Restaurant is operative from Tuesday evenings to Saturday evenings. The operating hours are from 18h30 to late. The Restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays.
For more information Call 021 881 3881 or visit www.rustenvrede.com