The Better Half and I have been back in South Africa (my country of birth) for our dear friends wedding. As with almost every holiday we take, I look into which restaurants we could visit even before deciding where we will be staying. On our previous visit back home, I really enjoyed the time we spent exploring the winelands of the Cape so I focussed my attention on choosing restaurants on a wine farm: beautiful settings, gorgeous food and of course fantastic wine! There are many different regions within the Cape to choose from though so it was tough to narrow it down – too many places, too little time!
Tokara was on my list since seeing it featured on Masterchef South Africa (we’re a few seasons behind here in the UK). I loved chef Richard Carstens twists on traditional South African ingredients, the setting is beautiful and chef Richard just seemed like an all round nice guy.
Located on the Helshoogte pass (Hell’s Heights) in Stellenbosch, we decided to take an Uber car from our apartment in Camp’s Bay so that we could all enjoy sampling the wine and not worry about designating a driver. (I never thought I would be catching an Uber in SA and it worked so efficiently!)
Tokara is named after the owner, South African businessman GT Ferreira’s two children, Thomas and Kara. A stunning steel and wood structure with a huge terrace boasting views over the vineyards and olive groves, we were thrilled to have been seated outside to fully appreciate the beautiful setting.
It took a little time to decide what to order as we we were all in awe of the view, but I decided to go for the special of the day. Tomato gazpacho with avocado sorbet, black olives and micro herbs. It was a perfect dish for such a hot day. The sweet tomato soup gently seasoned and I particularly enjoyed the ice cold avocado sorbet dotted around the bowl which added a lovely creaminess. The flavours all working in perfect harmony with each other.
Springbok with parmesan pomme purée, asparagus, strawberries, yoghurt & black pepper and hibiscus jus is what I chose for my main dish. I really enjoy the richness of game and this was a fine example, tender and succulent. The strawberries and asparagus added a lovely sweetness to the dish and the yoghurt brought it all together. It was a really clever dish that was perfectly balanced and every element worked well with the other.
Most know that I don’t really like desserts, but as our friend Dan said “you can’t come to a place like this and not order dessert!” So I chose the chocolate mousse with ginger ice cream, yuzu parfait & almond daquoise. I loved the bitter dark chocolate and the spicy ginger ice cream. I don’t recall tasting any yuzu in the parfait, but this dessert was perfect for me. Not too sweet but just enough to satisfy me.
Our waiter Ean, was charming and service was relaxed but professional and very knowledgeable. I even got to meet chef Richard Carstens as he was finishing service and he is as lovely in real life as he was on TV! He really made my day! (as you can probably tell from my cheesy grin!)
After lunch we visited the tasting room where we were able to sample the farm’s award winning wines and delicious olive oils. Once we’d bought some of our favourites, we Uber’ed back to our gorgeous apartment to watch the sunset.
Our total bill for 5 people including drinks and service was R2520 (approximately £140 at the exchange rate of £1 = R17.92) which is just absolutely amazing value for money. If you’re planning a trip to South Africa, then the winelands of Stellenbosch are a must!
Until we eat again!