Good food and fine wine combine at Idiom Restaurant

Impressive from the outside, and the views are equally impressive.

One can dine in a different restaurant at a winery in the Cape winelands every month for years without having to visit the same eatery twice! And your choice of food is as diverse as your choice of wine, and varies from simple and wholesome regional dishes to fancy haute cuisine.

We’ve had the pleasure and privilege over the years to have enjoyed meals at many of these restaurants, and every time a new one opens at a winery, we give it a few months to sort out any “teething problems” ... and then try it out.

So, when foodie friends of ours suggested we try Idiom Restaurant at De Capo Vineyards, the home of Bottega Family Wines above Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, we immediately accepted. Following the winding road up to the restaurant with its spectacular views of the Helderberg Mountain and False Bay as far as Cape Point and then reaching the impressive structure with its Roman arches and stone clad porticos which support a contemporary timber pavilion and concrete wine tasting “cube”, one immediately understands why people rave about a visit to Idiom.

The restaurant opened in June 2016, and the venue offers a casual fine-dining restaurant and a wine tasting centre that showcases Idiom’s flagship blends, signature Italian varietal wines and rare, limited release 900 Series wines. The family-friendly venue now also offers a selection of Fynbos Walks & Bike Trails and an Idiom Sensory Science Centre with a wine and perfume laboratory capturing the sensory profiles of the wines.

But we were here to taste and enjoy Idiom’s wines and food! We started our gastronomic journey in the Idiom Tasting Cube or Quadro next to the fine-dining restaurant, which is a square room where guests and tour groups can experience a selection of wines from the Idiom portfolio.  We introduced our palates to Idiom via its 2014 Semillon and Viognier, both priced at R145 per bottle, then moved on to their Italian Heritage Series’ Bianco di Stellenbosch 2016 and Rosso di Stellenbosch 2014, both priced at R100 per bottle, and then ended the purely liquid part of our journey with Idiom’s Limited Release 900 Series. The 900 Series Nebbiolo 2011 and the 900 Series Syrah 2007, both priced at R450 per bottle, heralded the end of part 1 of our visit.

Incidentally, the service in the “cube” was excellent!

From here we were escorted to our table in the restaurant. Enjoy the Idiom Signature experience: a haute cuisine menu degustation paired with the exclusive Idiom Collection or a selection of Italian wines from the Vinotria portfolio of imported Italian wines. This exclusive 40-seater restaurant offers a fusion of Italian and South African cuisine in a modern vernacular,” claims the website.

ABOVE: Panko Prawns.

After finally getting a waitor’s attention for something to drink, we started our culinary journey with freshly baked herb bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, enjoyed with the 2016 Bianco di Stellenbosch, a delightful pinot grigio. For starters, two ordered Panko Prawns (R95) and two Ravioli Foresta (R95), a vegetarian dish.

The Panko Prawns consists of panko crusted Mozambican prawns served with crushed wasabi avocado, aioli and a coriander and pine kernel pesto. It was served with a glass of the 2014 Idiom Viognier, as suggested on the menu. Not only was the dish sublime, the wine suggestion was spot-on!

The ravioli dish, which got the green light from both ladies, is paired with the Idiom Sangiovese 2013, but because the love of my life does not drink wine, I had the bonus of enjoying hers after my starter ... just to “cleanse” my palate!

Our friends raved about the South African Game Reserve (R105), which appears right under the list of starters, so I decided to give it a shot ... as a sort of “intermediate” dish! The dish consists of zinfandel salt-cured springbok loin with beet and buchu emulsion, charcoal seared kudu carpaccio with chestnut puree and smoked gemsbok tartar with quail yolk. Although it is paired with Idiom’s Rhône Blend from the 2009 vintage, I decided to have it with their 2009 Bordeaux Blend instead. The dish was good, but nothing to write home about! The wine, however, made up for it.

RIGHT: The South African Game Reserve.

For mains each of us chose a different dish off the menu. My better half decided on the Cape lamb dish (R185) and I went for the Flamed Beef Fillet (R195), while our friends respectively chose the Seared Salmon (R195) and the Braised Pork Belly (R210). With my mains I ordered the 2009 Rhône Blend although the Bordeaux Blend was suggested. Both blends actually work perfectly with both dishes.

ABOVE: Unfortunately my main dish came medium prepared instead of very rare, as requested.

As usual I ordered my beef very rare. Unfortunately it arrived “medium” done, and that spoiled the whole experience for me somewhat. The wine, however, went some way in making up for the disappointment. The other three had more luck with their mains and agreed that Idiom was to be recommended although we all agreed that the main course prices were quite high.

My taste buds were lifted out of their slight depression by the dessert which was accompanied by the Idiom Imperium White Gold, a natural sweet wine. This decadently delicious combination nearly made me forget about my main course disappointment, but, in the famous words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, I will be back! Even if it’s only to get that beef fillet as rare as I prefer it because I think it will make for a superb main course.

The Idiom Restaurant is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Their Fine Dining paired 2, 3 and 4 course lunch options are available from Wednesday through to Sunday from 11am to 5pm.
Wine tasting is available 7 days a week between 10am and 5pm.

For more information or to book, contact Idiom at 021 858 1088 or