As a wine and food aficionado I am very privileged to live in Cape Town. Where else can you be in the midst of a hustling and bustling cosmopolitan African city and on a hunch teleport yourself to the winelands, to be Submerged in the breathtaking countryside that is Constantia.
Chatting to your partner mid week, you fancy a glass of wine after work but don’t have the energy to join every other thirty something hipster on a street corner outside a lively wine bar. Nor do you have the patience to fight every wannabe poser for a table on the humming Camps Bay strip and pay through your nose for a very average glass of wine. How about sundowners at the base of table mountain range he suggests, where vineyards meet magnificent mountains interspersed with buildings dripping in Cape heritage. Sure you say… twenty minutes later you step out of your Uber into another world. You have arrived at Steenberg; Cape’s first farm established in 1682.
Steenberg boasts two very appealing options in terms of eating establishments and upmarket watering holes. The significant difference at the end of the day; bubbles or cocktails. The latter being available at Steenberg’s newly renovated signature restaurant; Tryn. Cocktails on a sun-dappled terrace overlooking their magnificent vineyards and Steenberg Mountain; does after work drinks get much better than this. I’ll let you into a little secret; it does! Between 4-6pm enjoy their generous 2-4-1 cocktail offer.
With 17 exciting creations artfully assembled by mixologists at Tryn’s ultra-stylish bar to enjoy in the vibrant retro-lounge area or in dappled shade on the alfresco deck, there’s a Tryn cocktail for every taste. So round up the team and take advantage of Tryn’s daily after work, two-hour special of two cocktails for the price of one.
There’s an array of refreshing wine spritzers and spirit cocktails blended with a variety of pure fruit purees. Tryn’s Mimosa is a must. Instead of mixing only orange juice to Steenberg 1682 Chardonnay Brut Méthode Cap Classique, the Tryn twist adds Amaretto with peach and tarragon puree for a sensational signature cocktail. Other cocktails worth a try are the Caribbean Mule, a mashup of vodka, rum, apple, ginger, lemon, ginseng puree and soda, or the Espresso Stout Martini, a coffee kick of vodka, espresso, Kahlua, cream and chocolate stout.
After smashing, sorry sipping, on these exquisite array of flavours our taste buds are stirred. What’s for dinner we ponder? Mr T suggests we have a look at the menu, you know while we are here, so we know for the future…
While we look, we order some oysters, you know just because… on your palate a shock of freshness enlivened with an Asian accent; lime, chilli, coriander and ponzu granita… we were just getting started.
We settle in for the evening, to be fair we had no choice; Chef Kerry Kilpin’s contemporary menu with an Asian and Middle Eastern flair has taken us hostage. We can’t leave hungry. Its just not an option.
As the sun goes down we elect to move inside, the choice of seating at Tryn is ample. Its a date night so we decide to opt for the refined private tables in a corridor of booths. The valorous interiors reflect the essence of Steenberg’s 17th century fiesta female founder; Catharina nicknamed Tryn. Her personality resonates in the colour palate and textures rippling through the furnishings.
The Journey Begins… I opt for the tempura prawns served with charred pineapple and peanut salsa, avocado, black garlic oil, sriracha, lime. The prawns submerged in perfectly puffed clouds and are irresistibly crispy; they serve as the perfect instrument to mop up the impeccable salsa and goodies surrounding. Mr T predictably goes for the Steak Tartare. It is one of his favourites, and he has an extensive library of different versions of the dish in his taste memory bank. An innovative adaption of the classic; Chef Kerry’s doesn’t disappoint, portioned and wrapped in pickled daikon animated by sesame, ginger, soy, onion soil, coriander and a confit quail egg.
The mains all tempt; but a risotto never did escape my attention. Marked as a risotto of the day; but in actual fact it may run for a couple of days. It is always a vegetarian composition, alike the rest of the menu, it relies on the freshest seasonal supplies. For an additional R90 you can adorn your risotto with a generous portion of prawns. Actually the highlight of the dish; cooked to al dente perfection. It was a big, decadent and deliciously rich portion – so as much as it pains me to say I would skip the starter if this was on the horizon.
Mr T struggled to choose between the lamb rack, beef fillet and pork belly. Any meat lover would struggle at these fine options. The fillet won the dual; served with broccolini, mustard mousse line, potato fondant, mushroom chutney and cognac and pepper jus. Classically trained at Silwood and having worked under Franck Dangereux at La Colombe and The Foodbarn; Kerry knows how to seduce you with a jus. It complimented the flawlessly cooked fillet admirably and paired amorously with Steenberg’s Catharina 2016.
Please note that they have both an abundant vegan and separate vegetarian menu. There really is so much choice for every dietary requirement.
As full and content as we were; who could resist Chef Kerry’s sweet merriment. Again the options all seemed too delightful and a close your eyes and point seemed the most diplomatic method of choice. I lucked out with her “Carrot Cake” – whipped caramel, cream cheese, spiced pecan ice cream, thyme and blueberry compote. And Mr T consummated the meal with the warm chocolate and strawberry sphere; strawberry salsa, basil ice cream, strawberry coulis, chocolate dentelle and the ultimate juvenile excitement – popping candy.
All in all we had the most perfect evening; with beaming and intuitive service, impeccable and innovative dining in the most sublime of interiors. The wine list was a gracious reflection of South Africa; obviously incorporating Steenberg’s portfolio and generously filling the gaps with their favourite allies. If you feel like a little mid week or weekend escape but don’t want to pack a bag then Tryn will welcome you with open doors, and send you home with a full heart and bulging tummy.