I recently had the pleasure of enjoying one of package deals offered by the Grand Roche Hotel in Paarl. The deal included overnight accommodation with a welcome drink on arrival followed by a 3 course dinner prepared by Michelin trained Chef Roland Gorgosilich and a buffet breakfast the following morning.
The setting is beautiful and it’s always a treat to be nestled amongst the vineyards. We had some time to kill, so we made our way around the grounds enjoying the sights and sounds before freshening up for dinner.
When we eventually arrived for dinner we were welcomed by the management and quickly whisked away to our table. Our party was spoilt for choice, glancing at the menu, and took the opportunity to savour and sample all the fare on offer.
- Starters consisted of Chalmar Sirloin Steak Tartare and poached saldanha bay oyster, soft poached quail egg, rye cracker and flamed celeriac
- Then there was the Oven Roasted Baby Beets, caramelized goat’s cheese praline. Balsamic flavoured beetroot crème, sweet sour pickled onion leaves and pumpernickel soil
- Next was the Slow Braised Pork Belly and Roasted West Coast Squid. Bell pepper-olive salad, anchovy garlic mayonnaise & broad bean squid ragout
- The final starter was the Jus Glazed Veal Sweetbread Medallion. Cauliflower mousseline, crispy black pudding sausage , flamed cauliflower florets, braised baby onion leaves and blood sorrel
The first course was superb and certainly raised the expectations around the courses to follow; aesthetically they were beautifully plated and presented. Our Sommelier was excellent and particularly knowledgeable, sharing some insights around the wine we were enjoying.
- Our main courses consisted of Pan Fried Fish Medallion, which was kingklip, Saffron-Chorizo Risotto Praline. Black mussel-dill fumet, slow braised baby fennel, olive oil aioli, chorizo dust and crispy sea lettuce.
- On the bone Roasted Free Range Quail Breast and Leg served with carrot-garlic crème, butter glazed parsley potatoes, raw marinated oyster mushrooms and an orange –szechuan pepper jus
- Chalmar Ribeye and slow braised bone marrow ragout served with salt braised celeriac cream, barigoule of portabellini, king oyster and red pot onion with pommes dauphine.
- Last but most certainly not least was the Homemade Broccoli-Ricotta tortellini with grilled broccoli tenderstem, glazed white grapes, roasted hazelnuts and white pepper foam
Our table found it hard to fault any of the main courses as they were executed to perfection and flawless. It’s was clear that considerable time was taken to ensure that all the elements of the various dishes were complimentary; the attention to detail was amazing. Very often when all the courses are of such a high standard and quality one is often left contemplating if the dessert courses are of the same high standards, I’m happy to say they were.
- There was the Melktert-Nougat Delice. Cape gooseberry compote, butterscotch cream and spiced cinnamon crumble.
- The delicious range of both international and local cheese selection with a homemade fruit bread and butter brioche
- Poached semolina-pumpkin seed dumpling with a garden berry coulis, micro sponge and red port wine ice cream
It would be easy to run out of superlatives describing this meal, it really was that good and most certainly worth every penny. I must add though the service and attentiveness of all the staff and management made this experience truly memorable. They were professional at all times and eager to assist, the manager came to our table once or twice but it never felt forced or obtrusive. Our sommelier made sure our drinks were always topped up, but again, you hardly noticed he was even there. This was an amazing all round world-class experience.
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Grande Roche Hotel
1 Plantasie str
Tel No: +27 21 863-5100
Written for JAR PHOTOGRAPHY by Mario Arendse