Buitenverwachting: A ‘Beyond Expectation’ Constantia Wine Route Gem
Stunning views, expansive lawns, glorious wines, and a beautiful 3-5 course menu makes Buitenverwachting a wonderful destination on the Constantia Wine Route.
But before we jump into all of the delectable details, let us rewind a few hundred years. For that is when this historic farm came to be. Originally part of the Constantia Estate, the oldest wine-producing region in South Africa, it was sold as a subdivision in 1773. After a turbulent history, it was revived by the Mueller family, who produced their maiden vintage in 1985. Since then, it has lived up to its namesake, Buitenverwachting translating to ‘Beyond Expectations’. An ambitious aim that the consistently good creations certainly meet.
Today, it is something to behold. The rolling drive up to the thatched manor house and original cellar comes with a share of exclamations. Purple agapanthus line the rolling road, snaking around fields and paddocks where horses play. Arriving at the entrance to the farm, one might take a turn towards the historic wine cellar, which is where the generous wine tasting is conducted. In colder weather, it is advisable to recline into the squishy leather armchairs, but any hint of sun, and outside is where you should be.
The susurrus of the ancient oak trees play a soothing tune, and children run around the lawns, dotted here and there by picnicking friends and family. A gin trolley too is available for those who prefer the spirit. As for the snacks, the cheeseboards are the stuff of dreams, with pull-apart sourdough bread, pates, butter, olives, and all the trimmings.
Buitenverwachting wines have won many international wine awards. Producing prominent red wines of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, there is also the award-winning whites of Rhine Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. The tasting is also wonderful value for money and a leisurely, enjoyable journey.
Should you wish to opt for a casual coffee and perhaps a slice of something sweet, pop into the Coffee Bloc coffee shop, a bustling and quaint affair, offering breakfast, freshly baked treats, and light lunches.
For a truly lovely experience, book a lunch or dinner at Buitenverwachting Restaurant.
After a glass of bubbles, we were tasked with choosing starters and mains, or, in this case, Inception and Evolution – a nod to Austrian-born Chef Edgar Osojnik’s culinary evolution. Amuse Bouches, and freshly baked breads are the perfect palate warmers and provide more time to soak in the verdant vistas of the Constantiaberg and Elephant’s Eye, forming part of the UNESCO – World Heritage Site, Table Mountain range.
To begin, we ordered the Seared Tuna served with avocado, cucumber relish, and edamame, and the Risotto with saffron, artichoke, parsley and chorizo. The tuna was an elegant, Asian infused dish, rather like deconstructed sushi. The risotto, a heartier option, was perfectly portioned, with a characteristic bite and depth of flavour.
While mains proved another challenge in decision-making, we settled on the Springbok Loin, with Hanepoot, Port Wine sauce, and Pan-fried Sea Bass, with Spring Onion Caper fond. Both dishes were presented with flair. The game, served on a bed of lentils with savoy cabbage, was succulent and full of flavour. The fish, dotted with fresh mussels and served with linguine and a saffron-infused vegetable sugo, was a light and satisfying – both portions sufficient without feeling like too much heft.
Finally, to dessert, or, in this case, ‘Spoils’. The Chocolate Variation Buitenverwachting never leaves the menu so ordering it should be mandatory. The others are hard-hitting contenders (the raspberry panna cotta quite yummy) but do not match up to the former’s creativity. Imagine a plate full of edible whimsy: chocolate creations in piano, cone, box, parcel, sphere, fondant format. A delight to the chocolate lover’s heart, and to anyone’s imagination.
If that was not enough, the meal ends with a thoughtful presentation of truffles (more chocolate!) and tiny bites of meringue.
Buitenverwaching’s wine pairings are thoughtfully done. Indeed, some of the rarer vintages are available nowhere else. Our starters were paired with their very quaffable Rose, and Sauvignon Blanc, while mains where accompanies by a Cab Franc, and Chardonnay, which we were generously poured second glasses of when we sipped ours a little too quickly. The dessert wine, in particular, was an exceptional, delicate, well-balanced Muscat that complemented both the chocolate and fruit endings.
With its proximity to the city, and extensive offering, Buitenverwachting delivers par excellence, no matter what your expectations may be.
Visit the Buitenverwachting website for more.
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Blog post by Tarah Darge