Fine-dining is a concept which was, until recently, completely foreign to me. I had nothing to go on except for images of chandeliers, rows of wine-glasses squashed onto a single table and giant plates of tiny portions – all garnered from television programmes and movies. The fine-dining experience at Bosman’s Restaurant is very similar it turns out, although experiencing it in the flesh is a whole other ball game.
At Bosman’s, the Grande Roche Hotel’s signature restaurant, the three pillars of fine-dining are studiously adhered to. Special attention is given to the menu, service and atmosphere… and it shows.
Entering the restaurant, one is greeted by all things twinkly – chandeliers hang, equally spaced from each other along the length of the ceiling, champagne flutes sparkle with golden bubbly and everywhere you look eyes are lighting up at the suggestion of another canapé.
As someone who doesn’t do an awful lot of fine-dining, the food revelations started early on in the night and to my surprise, my canapé prize went to the beef tartare – raw meat finely diced and in this case, served with espuma (similar to mousse) in a vessel resembling a shot glass.
An hour or so later, a chair was being pulled out for me, a starched serviette was placed on my lap and a glass of the most delicious chardonnay found its way into my glass, assisted of course by a waitron in a white shirt and long black apron.
Our first course wine was the 2012 Finesse Chardonnay from De Wetshof – the featured winery for the evening. That is, featured at Bosman’s Culinary Innovation evenings, on which a 4 course meal is served with appropriate wine-pairings and a representative from the winery is there to tell the wine’s story.
Johan De Wetshof was our amusing guide to the De Wetshof wines and added not only an informative aspect but also a wonderfully informal, entertaining one to the evening.
The first course was aptly named Duo of Quail – two small portions of quail, prepared in two distinct ways were served with char-grilled sweet corn parfait, pea salad, herb mayonnaise and (I was delighted to note) aroma spiced popcorn. This was the first time since learning about the fine dining principle of the garnish being directly related to the dish, that I had seen it put into action, and in a way I would not have expected.
My favourite part of the second course, a Butter Confit Kingklip Medallion, was the red cabbage-chestnut ragout. The 2009 Bateleur Chardonnay paired nicely with the dish and before I knew it another course came to an end.
At this point, South African crime-writer Mike Nicol took to the stage with some insights into his trade (a brief talk by a South African author is another feature of the Culinary Innovations evenings). It provided a nice interlude between courses, allowing the food to settle and a little gap before the next round of wine-tasting.
When the main course arrived, I was ready for it and the Sous Vide Springbok Loin was so delicious that I soon forgot about everything else I’d eaten throughout the evening! Served with a beetroot-raspberry purée, almond croquette and szechuan-manjari chocolate jus, the flavours, textures and colours conspired to create a treat for all the senses, which is of course part of the joy of fine-dining. A 2009 De Wetshof Thibault was served with the main course, and while it was indeed delicious too, I was far more taken with the food.
Pudding was an interpretation of Bratapfel with an apple consommé, sago, kumquat compote and sour crème ice-cream, served with a 2005 Edelhoes. I enjoyed this course because I loved the sensation of switching between the very sweet wine and the sour pudding.
The evening was rounded off with a cup of coffee, a glass of mineral water and a nibble of chocolate back at home.
Overall, Bosman’s Restaurant provided a wonderful experience and provides a solid example of a fine-dining establishment. The service was friendly and attentive, the food and wine was excellent and the ambience was classy but relaxed. I had an exceptionally good time and there and I’m sure you will too.
The Culinary Innovations evenings happen on one Saturday a month until November. You will be treated to a specially designed menu and wine pairing, a representative from the featured winery will take you through the wines and a South African author will entertain you with insights into their world.