The Alchemy Best Burger Competition – the Batonage entry

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The KnowItALL Burger – a classic style burger but with local knowledge


Note the hand crafted mustard and tomato sauce in the background. And of course, the Alchemy White.

The story:


The places we eat, drink and stay at: Steenberg

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The Red Wine Romp held at Catharina’s Restaurant at Steenberg was the perfect occasion to revisit one of our favourite hotels and wine farms.  The concept was simple:  Celebrate the great red wines of the Constantia area, paired with a veritable winter feast prepared by Chef Garth Almazan and his team and the outstanding service and warm hospitality one always experiences at Catharina’s.




The places we eat at: Pot Luck Club

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We first visited the Pot Luck Club a few years ago in its original incarnation adjacent to the Test Kitchen.  We have on occasion visited the Pot Luck Club at the new location at the top floor of the old Silo building and have always enjoyed our meal(s).


Our recent visit was no exception; we were yet again impressed by the excellent service, delicious food and the sheer energy of the space.  The menu has evolved (entirely expected from an establishment with such a reputation and capabilities) and is now divided into sections listing the primary taste (sweet, salty and so forth). More

The places we stay at: Bonne Esperance Studio Apartments

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We regularly visit Stellenbosch and more often than not wine is involved, leaving us with the dilemma of finding accommodation that is unfortunately, due to the popularity of the town, prohibitively expensive.  We found Bonne Esperance Studio Apartments on exactly such an occasion: A visit to the popular De Warenmarkt.


We have a severe aversion to guest houses and prefer to self-cater and these guys tick all the boxes:  The amenities are modern and everything is in working order, you have enough space and privacy and best of it all: It is affordable (rates start at R700 per person sharing).  Did I mention the free wi-fi that actually works? More

The places we eat at: The Dining Room

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Being encouraged to bring your own wine to a restaurant is already a huge PLUS in our eyes, so when friends invited us to join them at The Dining Room we jumped at the opportunity.


The Dining Room is the brain child of Karen Dudley (The Kitchen in Woodstock) and was primarily a venue for private functions.  The Dining Room is now open to the public on Tuesday and Thursday evenings for a set 3-course meal.


The wines we drink: Mvemve Raats MR de Compostella 2013

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The MR de Compostella 2013 was announced as the best overall winner of the inaugural Riscura Red Hot Wine Awards.  This is a 5-way Bordeaux style blend led by Cabernet Franc sourced from vineyards in the Stellenbosch area.


The wines were vinified seperately and tasted blind after one year in barrel. The wines that scored less than 90 points were not considered for the final blend. The percentage components of the blend were determined by the scores achieved in the blind tasting. This is the reason for the wine’s name: De Compostella meaning The Compilation of Stars.


The places we eat at: El Burro Taqueria

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Had to go to Wikipedia to learn about Taqueria’s:  “Taquería (pronounced: [takeɾ’ia]) is a Spanish word meaning taco shop or place that makes tacos.  As tacos are an integral part of traditional Mexican cuisine, shops selling them have proliferated throughout Mexico and other areas with a heavy Mexican culinary and cultural influence…More typical taquerías specialize in tacos, as expected, but in some localities it can be used to refer to restaurants specializing in burritos, where tacos themselves are less of a point of emphasis. Originally, a taquería could only be a street vendor; however, today many taquerías are restaurants that occupy buildings.”



The wines we drink: Mullineux Olerasay #1 Straw Wine

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Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines launched their new Solera-style Straw Wine recently.  The wine is the accumulation of 7 vintages (from 2008 to 2014):  Each vintage a barrel or two have been held back and blended into the Solera – this refreshes the Solera every year. Unfortunately we may not use the term/name “Solera” in South Africa, hence the name of Olerasay.


The wine is complex and rich, but not cloying.  The bright golden colour  holds a myriad of flavours: dried apricot, roasted peach, honey and marmalade that finishes with delicious baking spices.  The freshness is evident in a lovely hint of roasted lemon on the nose and palate. More

The places we eat at: Foodbarn Restaurant

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The name Franck Dangereux is synonymous with fine French cuisine – he put La Colombe on the fine dining map and when he opened his own restaurant called Foodbarn, things could only get better!  More relaxed, open spaces also gave him room for demo evenings and exclusive food and wine pairing events.


Foodbarn…relaxed and informal

 We do not visit Foodbarn often enough – the trek to Noordhoek should not be an issue but the great wine list options always cause a state of near euphoria even before we have looked at the menu!  Our recent visit was no exception:  Right off the bat we could order the hard-to-get-hold-of Mooiplaas single vineyard Houmoed Chenin Blanc (2013 vintage a steal at R216).  A glass of Silverthorn The Green Man Brut MCC will only set you back R59 and the Raats Original Chenin Blanc R56.  There is a wide selection that even includes some foreign producers.


The places we eat at: Babel at Babylonstoren

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We are late visitors to Babel at Babylonstoren; we have seen so many glowing reports about the beautiful gardens and gorgeous food  for the past year.  A visit by The Navigator’s sister from the Free State was the perfect excuse to finally go see what the fuss is all about.


You do get greeted with a R10 per person admission fee to the farm – feels a bit cheeky, but then again, the place is simply breathtakingly beautiful.  Feels a bit tourist-trappy at times (especially the gift shop) but then again, this is a business and they have to make money, right? More

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