“Everybody who walks through our doors is either already a friend or soon will be.” Based on the very friendly and professional service right from the get-go from both the staff and owners Melanie Paltoglou and Zunia Boucher-Myers of Avontuur Restaurant, and the generous portions bursting with flavour, they certainly live up to their philosophy!
We haven’t been to this estate restaurant between Stellenbosch and Somerset West for a few years – our loss! – and when we decided to have lunch with friends from Somerset West, both very knowledgeable food AND wine fundis, someone suggested Avontuur. I can’t remember who, but he/she deserves a pat on the back! Or a Bell’s!
After being shown to our table, we decided on our starters and mains, and then ordered a bottle of Avontuur Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (R185) AND a bottle of 2014 Cabernet Franc (R180).
The menu should suit most tastes and preferences. Apart from two seasonal platters (both R120), it included 7 starters ranging from R57 to R90, 8 mains from R110 to R175, and 6 deserts all around R60. And each course has a suggested wine companion.
We both decided to start with the Prawn & Avocado wrapped in Franschhoek Smoked Salmon with Wasabi Mayonnaise, Pickled Ginger & Soya Sauce (pictured left at R86). Our friends ordered the Herring served with Roasted Baby Potatoes, Soft-boiled Egg and a Fresh Dill, Red Onion, Caper & Gherkin Salsa (R70). The wine suggestions were MCC Brut and Sarabande Sauvignon Blanc Reserve respectively, but we decided to stick to our 2016 Sauvignon Blanc.
These were starter portions and not big, but they were well made and presented. And the wine worked well with both dishes.
For mains Sharon decided on Chicken Fillet topped with Fresh Herbs and Soft Cheese with a Cranberry, Balsamic and Port Sauce and a Fragrant Bread Cream (pictured right at R130). She ordered chips as a side dish. I settled on Smoked Kassler Chops, drizzled with a Vodka and Pineapple Glaze, served with a Dijon Mustard Sauce (pictured below left at R135). I also ordered chips as a side dish. Our foodie friends both decided on the Half a Roast Duckling with Van der Hum Sauce and Caramelised Orange (R175). As we had already ordered and opened the bottle of Cabernet Franc, we decided (again) to ignore the wine suggestions. And again we weren’t proven wrong, which just goes to show that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to food and wine pairing.
When food is prepared and presented this well, eating becomes an amazing and joyous experience, a gastronomic journey, and one then realises why George Bernard Shaw called the love of the food the most sincere form of love! Nothing was under- or overcooked, the meats were succulent and tasty, the veggies cooked to perfection, the sauces perfect complements to the dishes and the chips fresh and crispy.
Desserts were Crème Brulee with an Almond Tuille (R60) for the girls and Mississippi Mud Cake with hand-Crafted Banana Caramel Ice Cream (pictured right at R65) for us guys, with Avontuur’s 10 Year Old Potstill Brandy as company (R85 per tot).
We left Avontuur smiling and making plans to return in the not too distant future. Good food, good wine and good company truly are the ingredients of a good life. And I understand why Melanie en Zunia have been running this restaurant successfully for over 15 years!
Incidentally, Avontuur Restaurant also offers breakfast and light meals. For more information or to book, call 021-855-4296 or 083 692 5601, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.