Restaurant @ Clos Malverne
Restaurant @ Clos Malverne has developed a reputation for fresh, seasonal and easy, contemporary cuisine
Clos Malverne, located on the beautiful Devon Valley road in Stellenbosch, sits between a patchwork of paper cut-out green and yellow hills and is held together by vast cardboard, blue mountains. On arrival, the view that is virtually pasted in front of you makes you sit back in awe. I could of sworn that there was a piece of yarn attached to the small, cotton wool puffs of clouds that slowly made their way across the vast, blue sky with a small cherub making soft tweeting sounds in the distance. With an idyllic stage and props like these, a restaurant has its work cut out to compliment this natural beauty.
Clos Malverne restaurant is ranked no.1 Stellenbosch restaurant on Tripadvisor. So we decided to really test the theory by arriving with our 10-week-old daughter, one cumbersome car seat and multiple large, obligatory bags filled with enough baby supplies to last a month. Not a flinch, just a genuinely warm welcome from the manageress. We hadn’t been out for about 10 weeks so I started wondering if this wasn’t all a dream in the land of picture-perfect, paper cut-out views.
The restaurant is not housed in a cutting edge, trendy-as-hell, décor clad space but they have cleverly taken into account one of their strongest assets – a spectacular view and its surrounds – and wrapped the restaurant building with a modern wooden deck, glass doors and walls. The beauty from outside floods into the restaurant and contagiously flows through to the food, wine and the friendly service.
We both opted for the popular four-course food and wine pairing menu and from my first course of Salmon Gravalax on Cucumber Spaghetti paired with Sauvignon Blanc, I was a blown away by the complementary flavours of the dishes and the wines. The Roasted Butternut and Goats Cheese Phyllo Parcel with Sage Butter and Pistachio Nuts was equally sublime. The dishes are plated generously and not at all pretentiously. My feeling was that is more about authentic good food than works of art constructed by the hands of an architect. Chef, Nadia Louw Smith’s dishes truly speak, if not shout, with honest flavour.
More and more delicious courses followed accompanied by the award winning wines of Clos Malverne. There was Springbok Carpaccio cut into slightly thicker than normal slices and deliciously moist and tasty followed by perfectly cooked pork belly presented in a rectangle with a crispy circle of crackling on top. The fillet steak was rich and tender surrounded by a truffle jus and served with a sweet potato cake. Clos Malverne’s red wines smoothly accompanied the rich, red meat without being overpowering. The flagship, Auret, a delicious red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pintotage was one of my favourites of the day.
For the first time, I drank Pinotage with my old time favourite, pecan nut pie and to my surprise it worked really well.
Our 10-week-old daughter was by now on the shoulder of another guest dancing between tables and screaming at admiring guests. I attempted to divert my attention by watching another guest balancing his glass precariously on the handrail of the deck whilst trying to capture the perfect view with his camera, with the glass of wine in the foreground. I gave his creative prowess an appreciative glance. He proudly told me that he could still manage the balancing act after course three in spite of Clos Malverne generosity with the wine pairing!
Our baby was reluctantly returned by the fellow guest and I thought that it is the generous spirit that overflows at Clos Malverne which makes it so special – along with the spectacular view, food and wine.
Regrettably we did not have space for their famous ice cream paired with matching estate wines which has become a huge attraction.
We discovered that all those Tripadvisor reviews were completely right. What a wonderful place!