Open Door restaurant at Constantia Uitsig
Elegant, warm and welcoming with superb service, excellent wines and delicious food, Open Door is the perfect choice for a special lunch or dinner in the Constantia Valley.
The old River Café has been transformed into an elegant, light and airy space by restaurateur Neil Grant (of Burrata and Bocca fame). Open Door restaurant at Constantia Uitsig is welcoming from the time you step through the sliding glass doors featuring the very stylish logo. The space has been cleverly divided into various dining areas each with its own individual character – the tables in the main dining area are cosily located around a glowing fireplace for perfect winter dining. The ‘breakfast’ room is bright with huge windows overlooking the gardens (still to come) and the Constantiaberg Mountains in the distance, with doors out onto the deck, which will be used for al fresco lunching in the summer months. We sat at a table close to the open kitchen where we could see the team of young chefs hard at work, under the guidance of head chef Annemarie Steenkamp, preparing and plating the dishes.
Open Door restaurant at Constantia Uitsig have cleverly kept the menu short. There is a choice of 5 starters, 5 main courses and 5 desserts but in spite of the brevity of the menu, it was not easy to make a choice. I enjoyed the Lemon Butter Poached Crayfish Tale, Kale, Parsnip Pureé and Preserved Lemon as a starter. Perfectly cooked fresh crayfish with just the right amount of tension in the bite, complemented by the pureé with a hint of lemon perfectly plated in a deep, dark bowl.
My lunch partners raved about the Roasted Pumpkin with Curried Fritters, Seed Crumble, Buttermilk Labneh and Ginger. The Braised Lamb Neck with Butternut, Roasted Garlic and Baby Carrots was melt in the mouth tender and juicy and proved to be the perfect choice for the misty Cape day. Portions are small, allowing one to enjoy one of the desserts, which are unsurprisingly not only delicious, but exquisitely plated. Christine de Villiers (ex le Quartier Francais) is the chef responsible for creating these masterpieces – soils, crumbs, crumbles and meringue ‘chalk’ add texture and flavour to featherlight aniseed panna cotta, buttermilk mousse and dark chocolate torte – beautiful to look at and delicious to savour.
The wine list, as one would expect from Neil Grant (he worked in the US as a sommelier for many years) is extensive and interesting. It reflects his passion for unusual wines sourced from estates from all around the Cape, not only from the Constantia Valley. Open Door Restaurant also offers lighter meal options on the Café Menu such as Caesar Salad, Beef Burger and Brioche Roll with Pulled Pork. Battered Fried Hake, Roasted Chicken Breast and Spaghetti with Pea Sauce, followed by a choice of ice lollies or cookies and steamed milk, amongst other choices on the Children’s Menu, should find favour with younger diners.
Elegant, warm and welcoming with superb service, excellent wines and delicious food, Open Door Restaurant is the perfect choice for a special lunch or dinner in the Constantia Valley.
Elegant dining in a winelands setting