16 November 2009

Lunch and Pinotage at Seidelberg Estate

Torrential rain of the past view days clears and so to Seidelberg Estate near Paarl for lunch. It’s too cool to sit outside but indoors there are open wood fires to take away the chill. And through the glass there is a terrific view over the valley.

Restaurant staff are friendly as is the menu with a range of traditional dishes each with an explanation of their construction and sometimes their history.

I plump for the Cape Malay chicken and yoghurt curry, my partner for the lamb curry (both 78R/£6.50/$13) and we share a starter of delicious delicate vegetable samosas (35R/£3/$6). The curries come in a bowl on a plate with a bowl of rice and a sambal of chopped tomato and cucumber. The waitron removes the very hot curry bowl with her bare hands and places it by the plate then the rice and raita so I can move spoonfuls of each onto the now empty plate as I wish.

Each dish has a recommended wine; Chardonnay is suggested for the chicken but I have a much better idea and order a glass of Pinotage.

The wine arrives cool, which is excellent as too many red wines are served too hot. On a hot day the wine would quickly warm up but today I cup it a little in my hands because the wine is not offering much at first.

This is not an ‘in-your-face’ wine, it’s serious and restrained with black cherry flavours at first then developing layers of complexity revealing seams of pepper and spices and some tannins. One glass is not enough and a second is ordered.

The curry comprises boneless chicken pieces in a thick red tomato based sauce with delicate spices but no chilli heat to speak of. The lamb curry also has potato chunks of which I am envious and I’d have liked some veggies in mine.

An excellent lunch and I call into the cellar burrowed into the valley side to buy a bottle of the Pinotage 2008 I have just drunk (30R/£2.50/$5 a glass, 95 R a bottle in the restaurant, 71R/£6/$12 a bottle ex-cellar) plus a bottle of the Roland’s Reserve 2007 Pinotage (123R/£10/$20 ex-cellar). Both wines are Estate Wine of Origin Paarl

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