“Nestled between majestic mountains and overlooking the vineyards of Stellenbosch, I visited the Estate for the first time back in 2003 and felt a strong connection in an instant – it was love at first sight ~ Lawrence Graff OBE”
Source ~ Delaire website
Lawrence Graff OBE is the founder of Graff Diamonds, an avid art collector and devoted philanthropist. The estate he founded in 2009 has become a luxury destination which includes lodges, a spa and two restaurants (Delaire and Indochine). His personal art collection dotted around the grounds, there is something interesting to look at whichever way you turn.
Unbeknownst to me, the Delaire Graff Estate is also located on the Helshoogte pass in Stellenbosch – where I’d just been two days earlier at Tokara. It’s on a different side of the pass though, so the aspect is completely different and a more beautiful estate you would be hard pushed to find. In fact it is jaw-dropping! The drive from the main road, up the perfectly manicured driveway had us craning our necks to get a look at everything we passed.
We chose to eat at the main restaurant, Delaire, with it’s stunning terrace overlooking the estate. It’s a really special place that you would need to see for yourself to fully appreciate.
I’m waxing lyrical about it and I haven’t even gotten to the food yet. So without further ado….
To start I chose the goats cheese mousse, rainbow carrots, macadamia nuts & tamarind. There was such a wonderful contrast of flavours and textures in this dish – creamy goats cheese, raw and cooked carrots with a bit of bite to them and the crunch of the macadamia nuts. The tamarind bringing it all together with a lovely sweetness. The plate looked beautiful and it tasted pretty damn beautiful too.
South Africans will tell you that Karoo lamb is the best in the world (as no doubt would the Kiwi’s and Welsh say the same about theirs!) I love lamb but don’t cook it at home nearly enough, so seeing braised Karoo lamb neck, smoked tomato arancini, feta purée & black olive jus on the menu I just knew what I as having. Maybe I am biased, but it’s pretty hard to beat the sweetness, tenderness and full flavour of the South African lamb. This dish encompassed so many of the things I love – lamb, feta, olives – and I just adored every mouthful. The slightly fatty lamb melted in the mouth, the feta purée was packed full of flavour and the olives adding another interesting element to an already fantastic dish!
I didn’t order dessert, but they looked so beautiful that I thought I would share a couple of pics with you.
At the end of our meal our waiter brought out a dessert for us all to try that pastry chef André Steyn had been working on. (André also came out to say hi, which was nice!) Tonka bean parfait, mango, honey stones & tarragon frozen yoghurt was another stunning looking dessert. My favourite bit was the honey stones, which was honeycomb coated in either white chocolate or yoghurt, I wasn’t sure. I had a taste of the tarragon ice cream, but it’s really not a flavour I enjoy. Everyone else loved it though and said it complimented the mango perfectly. The portion sizes of the desserts were extremely generous, so sharing worked well for us.
Richard, our waiter, was great. Engaging, friendly and knowledgable. The total bill for 5 people came to R3332 including service, drinks and a R20 charity donation (Approximately £185). For locals this could seem somewhat pricey, but the location, quality of cooking and the overall experience was simply outstanding ….no matter where you’ve come from!
My experience of Stellenbosch and Delaire Graff in particular, has been truly memorable. Add it to your bucket list and go see it for yourself! You’ll thank me!
Until we eat again!