Bistro 13 celebrates first anniversary with new Summer menu!


imageEarlier this week I received an invitation from Roxy Laker and Chef Nic van Wyk to try the new Summer Menu of Bistro 13, which has celebrated its first anniversary of operating at Stellenbosch Vineyards. As I had to be in Stellenbosch yesterday afternoon, I enjoyed lunch there prior to my appointment.

All the roadworks on the road to the N2 highway have been imagecompleted and it is a pleasure to turn off to park outside the tasting room and the restaurant. I noticed the new sound-proofing circles on the ceiling immediately, designed to absorb the sound in the restaurant, Roxy explained,  They add a modernity to the interior design of the restaurant.

The menu offers three options: the ‘Feed Me Experience‘, at R 265, for two starters, two main courses, and one dessert. Roxy explained that one is served half a portion of each selected dish on this option. One can leave the choice of dishes to chef, if one is undecided. A pairing of half a glass of Stellenbosch Vineyards wine per dish costs R100 extra. The proviso is that the whole table needs to order the tasting menu. The Naked Menu costs R300 per head, for a ten-course series of dishes of ‘three to four mouthfuls‘. The emphasis is on small plate dishes. A half a glassful of Stellenbosch Vineyards wine pairing per dish costs R170. One needs to book the Naked Menu 24 hours in advance, and is only available for dinner at 19h00 sharp. The third option is to order from the a la carte menu.

imageI chose the ‘Feed Me Experience’, and placed my order with Roxy. Waitress Elaine welcomed me back, having worked there from the beginning, and brought a plate of flatbread and tomato oil bread to the table, with sesame butter.  The flatbread was more-ish, and I could not resist finishing it. My first starter was a refreshing imagecrunchy summer salad, which was an ample portion, big enough to have been a full size salad. It was made with pea shoots, mange tout, parsley, beans, beetroot, marrow, peanuts, as well as seared tuna. The sweet and sour Japanese dressing made the salad, a mixture of nori sheets, lemon juice, soya sauce, fish sauce, maple sugar, and wasabi.

imageThe second starter was steak tartare, which is usually served with a quail egg but which have been out of stock since earlier in the week, Chef Nic said. He told me that their interpretation of steak tartare does not frighten off patrons who do not like eating raw meat.  I picked up a strong bite, explained as Tabasco sauce. The dish was served with tomato concasse as well as Melba imagetoast.  Both the full-portion starters cost R75. Other starter choices cost R70/R75, and offered are crispy sweetbreads, calamari, lamb spring rolls with coconut curry sauce, and pork belly.

The restaurant filled up quickly, and Chef Nic sent a crumbed feta cheese croquette with summer salsa, and honey and balsamic sauce, to the table until they were ready to prepare my main course. It is a dish from the starter list.

I had chosen the roast pork chop as the main course, but this cannot be served as a half portion on the tasting menu, so I chose it for the imagetwo half portion main courses. It was a substantial piece of meat, served with Brussels sprouts, a cheesy filled potato, pork crackling, and a delicious mustard sauce (R120). Other main course choices, in a reasonable price range of R120 – R160, are beef steak, roasted chicken pie (which we enjoyed at last week’s Eat Out Restaurant Awards Gala Lunch), pan-fried venison loin, braised lamb shoulder, pan-fried linefish, Bistro-style paella, and a roasted aubergine bake. I couldn’t finish the pork dish due to time constraints, so took most of it home with me.

I couldn’t resist the dessert, my choice being a very unusual soft nougat (Chef Nic explained that it is made with whisked egg white to which warmed up honey imageis added, and has a soft creamy meringue taste and texture), which was plated  with poached nectarines, as well as little shards of honeycomb, a heavenly ending to my lunch. Chef Nic told me that he serves this dessert all year round, the nougat being a good companion to guavas and quince too. Desserts cost R50/R60, and one has the choice of three chocolate terrine, vanilla and rhubarb panna cotta,rum sponge cake with saffron poached pineapple and raisin ice cream, and crème caramel. A cheese and preserve pairing costs R85.

I was impressed that while I had been to the cloakroom my napkin was replaced with a fresh one. The service was friendly, both Elaine and Roxy checking on my table regularly, and even Chef Nic came to my table, to check if all was in order with each dish. He greeted his patrons too. Roxy told me that their pop-up at De Warenmarkt is doing well, and that they are now serving breakfast there.

Bistro 13 serves very generous portions of reasonably priced dishes, many of them unique to the restaurant, with very friendly service.

Bistro 13, Stellenbosch Vineyards, Baden Powell Drive, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 881-3044. Twitter: @Bistro_13 Monday – Sunday Lunch and Dinner, Saturday and Sunday Breakfast 8h00 – 10h15.

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog:  Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage  Facebook:  click here


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