Dining Review: Tokara Wine Estate – Stellenbosch, South Africa
Our dinner this evening was at Tokara Wine Estate. At the time of booking it was an al la carte menu but upon our arrival it was changed to a prefixe. This typically would not be an issue but we did so much eating already today that a multicourse meal felt risky. While we were nervous about the food, we dove in to enjoy our four courses. When we pulled up, we were stunned by the sunset.
And our table could not have been a better view as we sat and watched the sun set and the sky transform through various colors into night.
We were pretty wined out so we opted to just go with glasses instead of the full wine pairings. Once the sun set, our dining experience began.
Snack and breads
A sampling board of various items appeared including spreads for homemade focaccia and two other chef creations that highlighted a merger of flavors and textures. This was a fun way to start!
Cremezola creme brulee with roasted red pepper, rocket, balsamic, toasted hazelnut, and leek
We were both concerned about this dish … I was not sure how we would survive this meal with a heavy cheese and when the plate arrived it was a huge piece of cheese! But once we took our first bite, it completely changed our tune. This dish was pretty brilliant – to creme brulee the top of the cremezola wow it was so delicious. And it shockingly was not heavy either – just creamy and light. Definitely a dark horse dish – so good!
West Coast mussels with white wine, cream, chorizo, charred sweet corn, and “Lynette se mielie brood”
I was so excited to see this dish as it sounded so amazing – mussels and white wine cream sauce with sweet corn? Yes please! This was an extremely generous portion and I could already tell I was going to be in trouble after this dish from a stomach storage point. But that was for worry after this dish and I could not stop eating it up. The mussels were a great size and the sauce was just wonderfully sweet and creamy – sweet corn really can be an unsung hero. Speaking of sweet corn, there was also a size of corn bread to accompany this dish.
It happened – nothing crazy to add!
Bonsmara beef rib-eye with Jerusalem artichoke, salsa verde, caramelized onion, mushroom and kapokbos jus
The rib-eye was well prepared but was a bit heavy for the prefixe menu, particularly the portion size – though it was tasty. The Jerusalem artichoke, salsa verde, caramelized onion, mushroom and kapokbos jus was amazing! I could have ate an entire bowl of this – combination of these ingredients was very well done.
Pan-seared line fish with baby marrow and bean ragout, celeriac, baby spinach, spring onion, and beurre blanc
I was a bit of a pain because I really did not want to waste a dish – if I was able I would have skipped this course altogether cause I was so darn full. Based on the portion sizes, I knew this was going to be a large meat portion so I asked the server if there was a vegetarian alternative in an attempt to lighten things up – I just hate to waste food. The alternative was a curried sweet potato which I was game for if they were able to hold the curry but that was not possible. I was then offered the fish dish from the six course menu so I accepted that accommodation. As expected, a giant piece of fish arrived among a very full plate. I did what I could to make a dent but I was just so darn full. Everything was tasty but it was a heavy dish.
Pear and salted caramel with roasted pecan nut, browned butter ice cream, and white chocolate mousse
What a beautiful presentation! This was delightful – the salted caramel spread was thick like that on a candy apple. The brown butter ice cream and the white chocolate mousse were so delicious and the pear was perfectly roasted. Every element was great on its own and even better together. Great dessert dish to top off the night!
I could not believe more food appeared but thankfully it only required two more bites. A fruit gummy and a blue macaroon to conclude the meal – the macaroon was amazing.
What an incredible way to complete our stay in Stellenbosch! Tokara has prime real estate for an epic sunset that I feel so fortunate to have seen. The food, wine and service were all excellent. I personally could have done without one of the courses or less food in each dish but you certainly get a good value. While we did not participate in the wine tasting, I am sure it is well done as we really enjoyed the glasses we selected to try with our meal. Highly recommend!