After 18 years with executive chef Garth Almazan at its helm, Catharina’s Restaurant at Steenberg has welcomed new chef Archie Maclean. Archie’s bright-faced smile, engaging Scottish accent and unbridled enthusiasm is written all over his new menu, which is wild (pun intended), adventurous (and maybe a tad ambitious).
The phrase “contemporary heritage” is one of those seemingly contradictory catchphrases (like smart-casual) that only seem to make sense to the marketing people who come up with them. But, once you’ve dipped into Archie’s smorgasbord, and chatted to him about his inspiration (and previous experience), it all becomes clear.
Catharina Ras, after whom the restaurant is named, was Archie’s inspiration. The first female landowner in South Africa, her remarkable story is one of determination and fearlessness. “We want our restaurant to bring the adventure of Catharina Ras to life,” says Archie, “I had to include ingredients she would have served at her table… warthog, ostrich, crocodile and zebra,” he adds with an impish glint in his eye, knowing these ingredients are sure to knock diners out of their comfort zones.
(After a bit of snooping, we discovered that Archie worked in the kitchen at Singita in the Kruger National Park – hardly a surprise, given his predilection for exotic game choices. Previous positions include Le Quartier Français, Asara and Neethlingshof.)
Diners have the option of a three-course à la carte menu or an eight-course tasting menu (R750 per person excluding wine; R1 100 per person including wines from leading estates). Items on the tasting menu include pan-fried crocodile tail; and grilled zebra loin, and grilled warthog loin, served with sautéed jerusalem artichoke, butternut purée, cauliflower rice with ash, broccolini, baby carrots and a blue-cheese jus
Not feeling quite so adventurous? Go for one of the signature dishes, which include seared tuna wrapped in crisp salmon skin, pan-fried fish of the day served with a horseradish-and-sour-fig risotto, and hanger steak, served with crackling, porcini purée, caper and brie crushed baby potatoes, sautéed mushrooms, caramelised onion and bacon and red-wine jus.
And another thing…
As always, the service at Catharina’s is friendly and professional, and the setting a breath of fresh air, with floor-to-ceiling doors revealing sweeping vineyard vistas.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 12pm – 9.30pm
Cost Eight-course tasting menu: R750 per person (excludes wine)
R1 100 per person (includes wine)
Contact 021 713 7178, firstname.lastname@example.org
Location Steenberg Estate, Steenberg Road, Tokai, Cape Town