Fermier for more!

fullsizeoutput_4f21There is a saying that  states:  “Good food is equal to a good mood” and I’m a true believer that a love for food is both in the art of preparing it, but also in enjoying it.  In recent years Pretoria have seen a plethora of gastronomic experiences peek out from under the kitchen counters and we, the citizens of this great city, are reaping the ever-tasty rewards.

Award winning Fermier (Farmer in French) is unique in every sense of the word.  They pride themselves on being a self-sustainable restaurant where they incorporate everything around them, from the ground used to build their restaurant, to the garden that offers fresh produce, to the pottery shop on the premises that makes the beautiful vessels to serve delicious meals in.  Everything works together to make the Fermier experience one to remember .  Adriaan Maree chef and founder has got quite the reputation when it comes to good food and brings not only local, but also International experience to the table.  He sure raised the bar in Pretoria, when Fermier opened it’s doors not so long ago.

Arriving at Fermier, I was greeted by a lovely young lady when I parked my car.  I walked up the foot path and it felt like I was leaving the city every step I took in the dark.  Dimly lit lanterns showed the way and I arrived at a contemporary structure that resembled a barn.  It was rustic, yet classy, old charm, yet with a modern twist.  Ambience were created by perfectly chosen lighting and no more than a dozen tables nestled perfectly in the cozy space.  Clearly the space and layout were carefully planned and designed.

First things first and I had to glance over their very impressive wine list and menu that offered 9 set courses for the evening.  One thing is for sure, you are not going to get Butternut & Spinach on the sides.  (ok, I chuckled at myself when I wrote this).

 

After a glass of bubbly, we enjoyed a lovely Elands Rivier, 2014 Pinot Noir.  Delicate, with berries and rose notes with a beautiful garnet colour.  This was a good start to the evening. The menu boasted surprise, esthetic enthrall and bursts of flavour.  The food was the entertainment and the line up was impressive.

First course saw an introduction with freshly baked bread, with Duck liver parfait and canapes.  Beautiful and tasty!

 

Second course in line, was a bundle of Kingklip with black radish and smoked tomato coulis/sauce.

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Third saw an ensemble of Mussels, Squid Sea Vegetables and a light foam. perfectly prepared. (Could’ve sworn I was at the beach with every bite).

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4th Course offered Tuna on a bed of Almonds, Grapefruit, Black Garlic and Olives.

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Course 5 was surprising with Pork Neck with Summer Apple, Celeriac and Samphire.  Soft, oozing flavour and I wanted a second plate (just kidding, 4 more courses to come).

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We enjoyed Duck for our 6th course with Turnips, Verjus and Grapes.

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Lucky number 7 arrived and Springbok, tender and sliced perfectly with Porcini mushrooms, Cauliflower, Daikon and honey.  The balance between savoury and sweet was a dance of perfection.

 

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Course 8 was lighter with an good selection of fine cheeses.  Huguenot, Karoo Crumble and various fruits to compliment.

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The last course rounded things off beautifully with White chocolate and Miso. Sweet and everything you can hope for after 8 courses of utter gastronomic bliss!

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So there we have it fellow food fans! Do not be fooled, although the portions are small, they pack a punch when it comes to flavour.  Adriaan Maree and his team, don’t prepare food, they create art that is absolutely super sensory!  I would seriously recommend you make this spot, one of your top ones as it’s a game-changer when it comes to haute cuisine here in Pretoria.  Their menu also change from time to time, so it will be great to see what’s on the menu in a few month’s time.  Be sure to book your table since they offer limited seating. I believe this enables them to pay careful attention to detail and give you the best experience possible.

I will most certainly go back to Fermier, for more!

When Bellingham & Fumo collide!

Most of us grew up with the smells from our mom’s kitchen.  Well, some of us in anyway.  To be able to sustain oneself to the stage of reading this, you survived by having food to eat.  In my case, I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that is just totally over the top when it comes to preparing delicious meals and trying out different cuisine.  Another thing about growing up, were my memories of Sunday lunches where we as children could actually have a sip of wine.  Mom would take out the bottle of white wine, a Bellingham bottle.  Jip, those Bellingham wine bottles that were shaped like the mountain side.  I can still remember parts of the television advertisement where the landscape changed into the bottle.  That was a very clever advertisement, because most Bellingham wine drinkers can and would probably still remember that advertisement.

So I was invited to an evening of culinary delight and premium wine at an extraordinary Italian Restaurant called Fumo (here in the capital Pretoria) last week.  The evening was in partnerhsip with Bellingham Wines.  No, there was no hill-shaped bottle in sight, but rather an unveiling of a premier range of wines from Bellingham Wines.  The story of Bellingham is one that alleady started in the early 1700’s and then much later to where Mr & Mrs Podlashuk bought a derelict farm called Bellinchamp which means “pretty fields” and was forced to build it up to what it is today.  A creative Hub which produces world class and award wining bottles of wine, with a local and international following.  It is not longer the Bellingham we knew, but rather a journey of wine ending up today with 3 genres or ranges of wines called the Innovation series that can be seen as more contemporary wines, the Homestead series that hatched special wine concepts and praising itself as very inventive and lastly their flagship, the Bernard series,  a tribute to the wine pioneer, Mr. Bernard Podlashuk who had the vision to make superior, intricate and beautiful wine.

Now imagine this, an evening where the current Wine maker Niel Groenewald of Bellingham Wines enticed everyone with glamorous intrigue around the premier wine they produce.  Sampling them was a palate-adventure and true learning and appreciative experience.  Chef Claudio Uccello, the Executive Chef of Fumo and his team, showered us with Italian cuisine to capture our senses and indulge our tastebuds.

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Josper grilled Tuna & Smoked Salmon.

The evening started with the 1st course of Josper grilled Tuna and in house smoked Salmon with crostini bread paired with the elegant Homestead Saugvinon Blanc 2017. Boasting fruity flavours with a soft crisp finish.

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Stuffed Baby Squid in a black ink curry

The 2nd course offered us, stuffed baby squid in black ink curry, accompanied by a Bernard series Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2015.  A lovely layered golden wine with citrus flavours and spicy oak.

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Sea Bass with Culatello Ham on Mushroom Risotto

3rdly, We enjoyed a wrapped Sea bass with Culatello ham and beautiful mushroom risotto and off course a stunning Bernard Series Old Vine Pinotage 2015. Lovely berry flavours with a lasting oaky succulent fruity finish.

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Lamb Loin & Almond Crust with celery puree and baby carrots.

Our 4th course was a delectable Lamb loin with almond crust, celery puree and baby carrots.  Paired with a Bernard Series Small Barrel SMV 2014. Alluring black berry aromas, layered with chocolate and intense fruit that is smooth and lovely.

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Chocolate Budino, with white chocolate mouse

Rounding things off, we enjoyed a naughty (yes very naughty but lovely) Chocolate budino, white chocolate mousse with pistachios and Angel hair partnered with their Homestead Shiraz 2015.  An intense dark vino with notes of plums, blackcurrants and pepper.

Listening the Neil tell the story behind each and every bottle, made it almost feel like a ballet of different notes, flavours and scents combined to present a new generation in wine from Bellingham.  No longer (in my mind) will I think of the old green mountain shaped bottle, but rather of their premium and exquisite ranges on offer and when you pair them with cuisine that is world class from Fumo, you are sure to enjoy and evening that is LUX to the fullest!  The evening was a wonderful collision between Bellingham & Fumo and we got the best of both worlds! Visit their sites and support their quality products.  Go! Now!

 

 

 

The Boss & the (cookie) Monster @ Brooklyn Brothers

 

Arriving at the Glenfair centre in Lynwood Road Pretoria, you can see that this is a pitstop to almost everyone.  Families that go to the neighbouring restaurants, people quickly pop in to the shop to get the last minute shopping before heading home and then me.  I’m here to review and enjoy one of Lynwood’s most popular food spots.  Brooklyn Brothers Glenfair.  Fortunately fellow foodies shared the evening with me and as I’m tucking the menu closer to see what we’re in for, my eyes stopped.  There it is, the words glistened on the gloss paper and I know that tonight is going to be epic.  I”m referring to the legendary burger called The Boss.

Brooklyn Brothers are renowned for their comfort food offerings and that’s the reason why people frequent this great place so much and so my evening started.  Their range of craft beers were introduced and once again, the beer gods were smiling at us.  From the CBC’s notorious Amber Weiss to the equally great Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale and off course a few different beers in between.  The first course was a delightful platter filled with Honey glazed chicken wings, Jalapeño poppers, sticky Bourbon BBQ ribs, chicken strips with a Tikka sauce and topped off with onion rings with a beautiful ranch dressing.  That was only round 1!  Round 2 and I finally got to meet The Boss of all burgers.  Neatly planked (or shall I say plated?) a bulky medium prepared premium beef patty with crispy bacon & blue cheese sauce and on the side, golden brown deep fried onion rings.  Man I was happy.

They have a “beat-the-heat” challenge for the brave (or shall I say foolish?) and you can have your name engraved on their wall of heroes, that’s if you can stomach the inferno it promises to deliver.  I however, declined the offer.  By the time dessert arrived I questioned my capacity but couldn’t resist their WTF Killer shakes (yes, that’s the name they go by).  I enjoyed their Parkslope chocolate shake and soon realized this was a monster of a different sort, I called it the cookie monster.  Bravo!  Brooklyn Brothers is a sure, good food, good company, good vibes social spot and anyone can leave happy, satisfied and looking forward to the next visit.

Points scored on my list:  Portion size is good, taste and preparation was good, menu variety is tops and service is excellent.  Points deducted:  The lighting on the deck was a bit strong and draws bugs and the onion rings was a bit oily to my taste.  Overall impression: Great! Will most certainly visit again. Well done Brooklyn Brothers.  To the rest of you: Go! Now!

Say hallo to The Publican Bar & Grill!

The Publican Bar & Grill is situated in the Southdowns Shopping centre in Irene, Pretoria and close to the John Vorster offramp.  The Publican greets you with a contemporary mix of leather, stoned walls and an amazing fireplace that hypnotises you the moment you set foot through their doors.

I always say that it’s the small things that count when visiting any restaurant or eatery and here we can check all the boxes.  From the light pink Orchid at reception, the copper light fittings and even the bathrooms are tastefully done.  They surely didn’t skimp on anything when it comes to their decor.

The hostess immediately greets you with a smile and swiftly guide the way to your designated spot.  Flowing through the restaurant you end up on the stoep (veranda) and are immediately taken aback by the view and the gazillion lights.  (I’ve said it before, I’m a sucker for a good setting).

Tables are minimalist and well set and the darker tones on their furniture and black serviettes gives you a very ‘expensive’ or exclusive feel to what you are about to experience.  Their waiting staff works as a team and you are informed on their wines and given drink options.  I enjoyed a delightful deep red called Silver Myn from the Zorgvliet Wine Estate.

Immediately options on starters, mains and desserts were raised and I was impressed with the passion they show when explaining their menu options, from preparation to the moment it arrives on your plate.  It’s infectious.

For starters I just HAD to enjoy the Thick Cut Bacon with fresh parsley salad.  (By the way, the world is better because of Bacon). Delicious!  Mains feature a New York strip steak, Black Angus Beef and was beautifully prepared.  I would’ve like a bit more fries on the side though.  To close the evening off, I enjoyed a delectable Eaton Mess and was engulfed with a sticky viscid meringue, berry coolie and cream.  I was in heaven.

The Publican Bar & Grill gets it right and should be on your list if you are a meat-eater and enjoy lovely flame grilled meals.  They also have good vegetarian options available.  This eatery is a sure catalyst to an amazing evening filled with friends, great food and choice wine……… did I mention the view??  Go! Now!