Bistro13 and Stellenbosch Vineyards offer ‘a place to feel at home’

Nic van Wyk chatting to some of his guests.

It’s when one visits other wine producing countries that one realises how spoilt for choice we really are in South Africa. And it’s not only spoilt for choice with regard to our great diversity in wines and wine styles, but also with regard to the diversity in restaurants and accommodation on wine estates and at wineries.

With that diversity in mind, we try and never go back to the same restaurant, but every once in a while we have such an outstanding experience that another visit (or more) is warranted. This is what happened at Stellenbosch Vineyards and bistro13 on the Welmoed wine farm in Lynedoch near Stellenbosch!

Our first visit started with a wine tasting in Stellenbosch Vineyards’ stylish and comfortable tasting room next door to bistro13, where we (that’s the love of my life and I) had a luncheon appointment afterwards. We started the experience with the Infiniti MCC Brut, followed by a number of wines from this winery’s extensive portfolio. The fact that I chose a bottle of 2010 Credo Chenin Blanc (which sells for R100 in the tasting room) to join me afterwards for lunch and that I bought a bottle of their flagship 2010 Petit Verdot and a case of MCC while my wife reminded me that we did not have any place left to store wine, speaks volumes!

 

 

ABOVE: The beautiful and relaxing tasting venue at Stellenbosch Vineyards!

And then it was time for lunch. The name Nic van Wyk is synonymous with food, and this well-known chef has had a hand in many of our top restaurants in the winelands. The name of his restaurant at Stellenbosch Vineyards, bistro13, ...

Well, let him tell the story himself: “As a coming of age tradition in our family, on each child’s 13th birthday they would choose a restaurant to celebrate it in. It was at my 13th that I started seeing food in my future. At bistro13 we want to open your heart to honest food, made by a group of people that are passionate about eating food that tastes good and that is clasically prepared to bring out the flavours.”

 

And Nic is true to his word! Sharon started with lamb rib, crispy potatoe, green beans, red onion and sweet and sour dressing (R65) and I settled for artichoke, courgette, aubergine, peas with minted yoghurt dressing and flatbread (R70). Mains were beef steak, black pepper and brandy sauce, onion rings and cheese stuffed mushrooms for her (R130) and flash-fried prawns, chili, garlic, basil, tomato and risoni for me (R110). We ended this delicious feast with brandy pudding, vanilla butter sauce and prune ice cream for her (R50) and macerated spring fruit, meringue and yoghurt mousse for yours truly (R40).

ABOVE, LEFT & BELOW: bistro13's food is not only a feast for the eyes, but also for the tongue!

 

Although the service was a bit slow initially, it was very friendly and professional and picked up speed soon enough to leave us without complaints.

 

And just to prove how much we enjoyed the first experience, we invited two friends, both very knowledgable foodies and wine lovers, to join us for a Sunday lunch three weeks later. Again we started with a wine tasting before we moved next door for lunch (and again wine was purchased by the case, but this time I was not the only culprit!). And again Stellenbosch Vineyards’ superb 2010 Credo Chenin Blanc joined us for lunch, three bottles nogal!

 

The menu had changed slightly from our previous visit (Brilliant idea, Nic!) and three ordered cep, snails, garlic and thyme cream and ciabatta (R65) for starters and one mussels, chorizo and gnocchi (R65). The main meal consisted of two orders of onglet steak salad, avocado, blue cheese, baby potatoe, pearl onions, lemon and spring onion dressing (R110), one prawn risotto (R120) and one lamb ribeye, soft polenta, asparagus and lemon origanum jus (R120). As all good things come to an end (I still wonder why!), we decided to make it sweet with three orders of poached peaches, almond ice cream and biscotti (R50) and one chocolate cake and caramel praline (R50).

Here’s Nic again: “At bistro13 we’re about creating a place where people love to eat, drink and share moments. A place to feel at home and where every meal makes you want to come back to do it all again.”

We all were in agreement afterwards, when textures and flavours come together in such a beautiful, elegant ballad on the tongue, it simply is a case of la dolce vita! And, in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, we’ll be back, and that’s probably the biggest compliment we can pay Nic and his staff.

To book at bistro13, call 021-881-3044 or send an email to reservations@bistro13.co.za. Visit www.bistro13.co.za for more information.

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