When it comes to food, what might be labeled “exotic” for one person is just plain-old dinner for someone else. Still, for Capetonian foodies who feel jaded by the sameness of many restaurant offerings, Catharina’s Restaurant at Steenberg offers plenty of culinary dishes to excite diners looking to try something new.
Last month the restaurant’s new Executive Chef Archie Maclean introduced a contemporary heritage menu that pays homage to Steenberg’s 17th century founder, Catharina Ras. The new menu is interwoven with fresh indigenous ingredients Catharina would have hunted, grown and prepared herself. By revealing hints of Catharina’s thrilling life in this sensory culinary narrative, Chef Archie brings the ‘contemporary heritage’ dictum to life.
“Catharina is the adventurous one and I need to follow in her shoes,” is how Chef Archie describes his role as new Executive Chef. “As a farm, Steenberg has such a deep and colourful history and we want our restaurant experience to bring the adventure of Catharina Ras to life. This is the crux of our contemporary heritage food.”
The menu centres on simplicity, and lets the finest quality ingredients do the talking. As a seasoned huntswoman of hippo and lion, warthog, ostrich, crocodile and zebra served with indigenous veld food would have been regular fare at Steenberg in her day. Experimenting with these ingredients took Chef Archie on his own journey of discovery creating some wonderful umami flavours by incorporating traditional staples such as chakalaka, maize meal and sour figs, making dining at Catharina’s a true culinary adventure.
“We want to take people outside their comfort zones, to try something new when they dine with us. Our guests need to leave in awe, having experienced something absolutely amazing,” adds Chef Archie.
Catharina’s offers diners a 3-course à la carte menu as well as an 8-course tasting menu. Signature dishes include seared tuna wrapped in crisp salmon skin; salmon trout served with a horseradish and sour fig risotto; panfried crocodile tail; and grilled Zebra loin.
While the tasting menu at R1 100 per person including wines from leading estates, is interlaced with Archie’s more adventurous dishes, the à la carte menu also includes the more familiar for a quick lunch or informal dining.
Both menus are available for lunch and dinner and guests at the same table will be able to order from either menu.
Catharina’s Restaurant is open 7-days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For bookings contact +27 (0)21 7137178 or email@example.com.