Gordon’s Restaurant, Graaff-Reinet
Karoo slow-food chef Gordon Wright only serves produce he has personally grown, hunted or sourced around Graaff-Reinet. And if you’ve ever wanted to taste true slow food Karoo terroir, then Gordon’s Restaurant, is the place to do it.
Gordon has his roots in the Karoo and is a great storyteller (he’s just written a wonderful cookbook, Veld to Fork). We heard about what we were eating, where it had come from, who had raised it, how he’d sourced it or hunted it. The only ingredients that come from further than 50km away are the wines.
There is no menu, because the ingredients change all the time. Instead, there is a choice of two starters, two main courses and two desserts and, if you like, Gordon will recommend complementary wines. The three courses come to R300 per person excluding wine.
We sampled his Earth Soup – beetroot, garlic and onion, harvested that very morning from his garden, with cream lightly spiced. The other choice was wild hare (springhaas) spring roll, something of a Gordon signature dish; a delicate flavour in light phyllo, served with spicy Muscadel and raisin sauce on rabbit food (lettuce). Delightful. For mains, there were spiced medallions of impala flambéed in brandy, and a roulade of free-range chicken, stuffed with fresh spinach.
Thrown in during the meal was a witty amuse-bouche (a delicious mouthful inspired by pap en sous), and a palate cleanser of hanepoot with lemon zest. Most people share the courses and then swap halfway through. But you may want to bypass that system with the nougat crème, if Gordon has it available for dessert. It’s a mine-all-mine kind of a dish.