Ocean & Ash: A New Dining Experience at Tintswalo Atlantic
The location of Tintswalo Atlantic is truly unparalleled. You will be hard pressed to find a location that hugs the coastline quite as closely as this one does, giving diners an unmatched oceanic experience. The dining area overlooks the crashing waves of the Atlantic from every angle and lends itself beautifully to an interactive dining experience – part of the new menu created by recently appointed executive chef, Guy Clark.
The 8-course tasting menu is based on the concept of Ocean & Ash. The ocean part being fairly obvious, the ash part perhaps a reference to the devastating fire that destroyed a large part of the lodge in 2015. If so, then it is a wonderful way to pay homage to the fact that the lodge has risen like a phoenix from the ashes into a new and more glorious version of its previous self.
Guy Clark, may be a familiar face to some as he competed in the South African installation of Masterchef in 2012. The competition took this previous property consultant out of his comfort zone and propelled him towards a career in the food industry, as it does for many contestants.
After working briefly with the Madame Zingara group he left SA to explore the culinary world overseas and hone his skills. His cheffing skills are entirely self-taught and his rise through the ranks are testament to a tremendous amount of work and tenacity.
The new 8-course Ocean & Ash tasting menu is a special dining experience that will be presented once a week, for a maximum of 10 guests. The experience is priced at R1100 per person and reservations to experience this unique meal are essential.
Without giving away too much (part of the fun is being surprised by what comes next), the food brings elements of both ocean and ash together and builds from course to course. Real standouts were the course simply entitled Springbok – Snoek – Pistachio, which consisted of 3 delicious balls of flavour served atop an upturned bowl. The bowl is then turned over and a pinch of wild garlic is torched into ash at the table, lending its smoky aroma to the next course of rooibos smoked kudu and cured egg yolk.
The course following that is entitled Liquid Umami and while that doesn’t say much, it does describe the flavour pretty succinctly. The soup is full of bone marrow/ beef fat flavour layered with richness and complexity. The only comment around the table was that the textured bowl make it tough to scrape out every last bit without making an offensively loud noise. We scraped away anyway. The burnt wild garlic ash added another layer of flavour to a dish already bursting with it, rounding it out with a perfectly balanced and welcomed smoky bitterness.
It wouldn’t be right not to mention the dessert as well, specifically the hand-churned buchu ice cream. A surprising, almost citrus-like flavour that really worked well with the Itakuja chocolate. There are obviously several other courses that come in-between these but part of the fun is the surprise. Each course offers something unique with a story and inspiration behind it – something you have to book in for in order to experience. Small touches like a palate cleanser midway and beautifully photographed postcard-style menu make the experience that much more personal.
I can imagine that not having any formal culinary training must make venturing into an industry full of highly qualified individuals seriously daunting. A bit like trying a case as a lawyer without having ever opened a textbook. But Guy seems to have done it. He has clearly worked on taking his innate talent and blending that with a tremendous amount of hard work to build his career.
The restaurant at Tintswalo Atlantic is the perfect setting for a gourmet experience with a difference, and to celebrate a special occasion.
The Restaurant is open to both in-house hotel guests, as well as other diners, by prior arrangement and subject to availability, with breakfast, lunch and dinner served daily.
Take advantage of Tintswalo Atlantic’s ‘Winter Warmer’ special – valid from 1 May until 31 August 2017. The offer includes 1 night’s accommodation, breakfast and a five-course dinner (note this is not the 8-course Tasting Menu) with a bottle of house wine, at R7000 for two people sharing (2-night minimum stay over weekends).
To book, contact Tintswalo Atlantic on tel +27 21 201 0025 or email.
Photography courtesy of Tom Clark.
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