We started our culinary journey in South Africa with the “Estate Experience” at Rust en Vrede Restaurant.

The Rust en Vrede restaurant is run by John Shuttleworth (Head Chef) and his wife Andrea (Front of House). John joined as sous chef in 2009 and took over as Head Chef in 2011. Only having opened in 2008, Rust en Vrede was almost immediately internationally lauded and included in the San Pellegrino Top 100 Restaurants in the World (highest ranking 61st in 2011) and ever-present in the top 10 of the Eat Out Magazine best restaurants in South Africa (winner in 2011). That is until last year’s edition where Rust en Vrede was nominated but didn’t make the top 10 of the Eat Out Magazine Awards.

Does that mean that they dropped the ball? As you can see below, I think they have certainly not. We had an excellent dinner with impeccable – quite formal – service (not surprising as they won the Eat Out Excellence in Service Award for 4 consecutive years: 2010-2013). It does, however, give a good reflection of the fierce completion in fine dining in South Africa!

Chantal already enjoyed the Estate Experience with Erica when we were in South Africa in 2013 (Koen and I got to go to The Test Kitchen, so nobody felt left out), and the ladies were so enthusiastic about it, that we put Rust en Vrede on our itinerary again.

This Estate Experience is their 10-course all-inclusive food & wine pairing surprise menu that is a unique creation for that day, that cannot be re-created in its entirety because of the limited quantities of the products used for the food and the scarcity of the wines selected. They indicated that it this “journey” will take an average of four to five hours to complete (which is indeed correct, we were the first to arrive and one of the last to leave).

The Experience already starts with the majestic twilight views from the road leading to the restaurant, being greeted outside and once ushered inside we were in for many treats (👍 = favorite dish of the evening):

The canapés: olive butter and goat’s milk butter spreads that came with the bread, pea purée and chicken liver paté in the little weck pots, melba toasts, beetroot tortellini filled with goat’s cheese and cheese croquettes
The canapés were accompanied by a glass of MCC bubbly for Chantal and a G&T made with Inverroche Verdant Gin for me. Inverroche is a South African distillery from Still Bay, that infuses their Verdant gin with the more traditional European and East Asian spices, but also with the local fynbos, which gives the gin very refined and fresh flavors with floral touches. Definitely, one of the best G&Ts I have ever had! 🙌
1a. Vanilla Butter Poached and Tempura Crayfish Baby Gem, Avocado, Sauce Choron
2014 Journey’s End Destination Chardonnay
Potato and Herb Soup
1b. Potato and Herb Soup Charred Corn, Spring Onion
2015 Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc
Rooibos Smoked Sea Bass
2a. Rooibos Smoked Sea Bass Mackerel, Potato, Grapefruit, Truffle
2014 Villa Wolf Gewürztraminer
We were so enchanted by Chantal’s 2013 Bloemendal Suider Terras Sauvignon Blanc that we forgot to take a pic of her Baby Gem Avocado, Dehydrated Tomato, Sauce Choron. The presentation was similar to dish 1a though.
3a. Pan-Seared Scallop Sweetcorn Panna Cotta, Spring Onion, Smoked Haddock Velouté
2014 Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc
3b. Mango and Mushroom “Ravioli” Salad of Cashews, Mint, and Sprouts
2015 Oak Valley Steele and Stone Riesling
4a. Crown Roasted Duck Breast Pomegranate, Quince, Pommes Boulangère
2013 Super Single Vineyards Pella Ou Kliprand Malbec
4b. Jerusalem Artichoke Pickled Chantrelle, Walnuts and Jerusalem Artichoke crisps
2014 Craven Claret Blanche
5a. Braised Oxtail Braising Juice Espuma, Celeriac
2010 Talamonti Tre Saggi
Broccoli Pearl Barley Risotto
👍5b. Broccoli Pearl Barley “Risotto” Broccolini, Celeriac
2011 Luciano Sandrone Valmaggiore Nebbiolo d’Alba
👍6a. Impala Loin Mustard Pomme Purée, Apricot, Turnip, Caramelised Onion
2013 Rust en Vrede Estate Syrah
For the Syrah they brought in a huge glass…
6b. Basil Linguini Chicken of the Woods Mushroom, Parsnip, Sun-dried Tomatoes
2015 Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Sauvignon Blanc[/captio 

[caption id="attachment_36054" align="alignnone" width="2448"]IMG_3055 7a. Thyme Butter Sous Vide Loin of Veal Braised Rib Sweetbread, Hubbard Squash, Pine Nuts, Parmesan
2012 Rust en Vrede Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Boulangère Potato
7b. Boulangère Potato Hubbard Squash, Pinenuts, Beluga Lentils, Quince
2012 Rust en Vrede Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Lots to cheese from…. 😋
8. A Fine Selection of Cheese from the Trolley 
2011 Boplaats Cape Vintage Private Reserve
White Chocolate and Pomegranate Mousse
9. White Chocolate and Pomegranate Mousse Raspberry Candy Floss, Vanilla Ice Cream
2012 Ken Forrester Vineyards Noble T
10. “Lemon Merengue Pie” Lemon Marmalade Sorbet, Coconut Crumble
NV Lourensford Winemakers Selection Honey Liqueur
The sealed bill

This Estate Experience will set you back R2000 (€115 / $130) per person but is truly all-in: all food and drinks, coffee/tee and gratuity. Furthermore, it came with a complimentary bottle of 2013 Rust en Vrede Estate Wine (their Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot blend that we have seen in the shops for R400+) when we left the restaurant.

Although Chantal’s 2013 Experience was even more elaborate (cigars and digestifs also included) and extravagant in the wine pairings (a 1939 Maury Vin Doux Naturel from Domain Pla Del Fount and 1993 Rust en Vrede Estate Wine were among the ones served!), this is a great deal and definitely a once in your lifetime experience. However, a light lunch and drinking a lot of water in between to cope with 10 glasses of wine is highly recommended!

One thought on “Around the World – Rust en Vrede Restaurant – Stellenbosch, South Africa (April 2016)

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