With winter arriving in the Winelands, Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant on La Motte Estate has just introduced its warming menu for winter.
Celebrating her first year as Executive Chef at Pierneef à La Motte, Chef Michelle Theron explains the restaurant’s modern interpretation of traditional Winelands flavours and styles of cooking: “Winter is perfect for the slow-cooked comfort of traditional Cape Winelands Cuisine, but patrons that enjoy staying up to date with culinary trends will also appreciate current influences such as the use of heritage grains and techniques of fermentation. Heritage grains often take the place of the expected starches while whey and buttermilk are used instead of rich, concentrated jus and creamy sauces, adding an interesting alternative without compromising heartiness.”
Winter favourites such as cider-braised pork is served with salted caramel and whey-braised celeriac and Granny Smith piquant sauce while the slow-cooked lamb comes with eggplant molasses, warm curried lentil salad and mint-infused sour milk purée. For those embracing winter with all its expected richness, cumin-scented beef shin ravioli is served with charred bell pepper and tomato fondue, smoked sweet potato and mushroom and parsnip while Cloete Afrikaner beef steak with warm tomato and potato-and-olive ragout should also do the trick.
With the variety of seasonal vegetables available from the estate’s garden, Pierneef à La Motte’s menus always include a beautiful selection of vegetable dishes and in this instance a deep-red wood-roasted beetroot soup with hung yoghurt and dill or warm farm vegetable salad with fruited rye, millet and honey-and-buttermilk dressing will ensure a good dosage of vitamins for the cold months. Vegetarian options include a spiced pear tart with porcini-and-port purée and onion and blue cheese salad as well as a gluten-free savoury pancake with cabbage-and-quinoa rolls and kale-and-almond pesto.
With the recent appointment of Vicky Gurovich as Senior Sous Chef (Pastry), the ever-so-important winter’s dessert menu presents the classics in an unexpected way. The traditional cheese course is represented by “That’s so cheesy”, a decadent verrine of Dalewood fromage, parsnip purée, pickled parsnips and fennel seed crackers while the rice pudding is an alluring butternut-and-vanilla risotto with beetroot purée, brown butter ice-cream and Tonka Chantilly! Bread and butter pudding made from chocolate and banana bread also incorporates Valrhona chocolate cream, roasted peanuts and banana ice-cream while the daintily plated chocolate mousse is a combination of chocolates flavours and textures, some frozen, some not, some dehydrated, some glazed – as per the menu description, “it’s a chocolate affair”.
The Pierneef à La Motte winter menu offers everything that is expected and considerably more: it is warming, comforting, trendy, traditional and comes with carefully paired La Motte wine suggestions to complete the taste experience.