Since it’s opening in December of 2018, Gåte (pronounced gatay), the impossibly stylish restaurant at Quoin Rock Wines in Stellenbosch, has wowed guests with displays of molecular gastronomy that are equal parts fine and fun.
The must-visit estate was dramatically renovated to be modern and light-filled, the glass floor-to-ceiling walls blinding visitors with the beauty of the vineyards beyond. Sculptures, handcrafted furniture, and a dazzling water feature centerpiece set the aesthetic stage for the cuisine to follow.
There are two distinct experiences at Gåte. The daytime experience, or lunch menu, and the full dining experience. We opted for the former, the allure of light and views irresistible.
The Lunch Menu
We had heard rumours of a cigar, and sure enough, it arrived with its smoking ashtray. As with many of the dishes at Gåte, looks can be deceiving. The cigar is, in fact, bread, the ash, a very edible black garlic mousse seasoned with tomato powder and activated charcoal. It is, in short, worthy of the hype.
5 more dishes follow, taking the diner on a ‘journey around the world’. The signature Saldana bay oysters arrive with a dramatic flair of dry ice. Beneath the smolder, the fresh oysters are topped with a zing of compressed green apple, and umami essence foam.
Next up, a Caprese salad unlike any other. A whey dome topped with meringue shards is melted by the waiter to reveal baby tomatoes filled with tomato gel, balsamic and olive oil pearls and fresh buffalo mozzarella. Once again, while your tastebuds might be challenged with the flavour and texture combo, your brain has already come to the conclusion that it is delicious.
The meat dishes are satisfying without being heavy. The lamb is first, the flavour combo of cranberry and cheese complimenting the meltingly tender croquette perfectly. The Namibian gemsbok served with smoked potato mash, seasonal veggies and pickled mushrooms is magical and packs a punch of flavour with every mouthful.
A dessert of coconut glass, Malibu sorbet, coconut panna cotta, burnt pineapple gel, mint salsa and a pastry tuille ends the interplay of science and dining in a characteristic flourish of smoke and exceptional presentation.
Wine pairing is optional but strongly encouraged. Each dish is paired with a Quoin Rock wine, offering a myriad of well-balanced and complex flavours in elegant glassware that deserves a mention. MCC (Methode Cap Classique), followed by a delectable vine-dried Sauvignon Blanc with the lighter dishes, segue gently to the red blend and Shiraz served with the meats. Another MCC (vintage 2013) closes the circles in celebratory, biscuity fashion.
The name Gåte is the Norwegian word for ‘riddle’ and it’s the ideal concept from which the menu has been built. You are going to be surprised, you are going to be amazed and you are going to be challenged. You must visit, and treat your senses to the circus.
Visit the Quoin Rock website to book online.
Phone: +27 21 888 4740
For more top tips on what our Cape Grace concierge recommends seeing and doing in Stellenbosch, take a look at our piece on the wine region’s Hidden Gems.
Blog post by Tarah Darge