Food and wine pairing delight

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Diners revel in scrumptious offerings

BRINGING OUT THE FLAVOUR: The home-smoked meats starter was paired with Vrede en Lust Cote de Savoy Picture: JON HOUZET
BRINGING OUT THE FLAVOUR: The home-smoked meats starter was paired with Vrede en Lust Cote de Savoy Picture: JON HOUZET

JON HOUZET

PATRONS at Graze by the River’s food and wine pairing last Friday night were treated to a smorgasbord of tastes and textures accompanied by expert wine choices.

Graze owner Nick Howard welcomed diners to the restaurant’s inaugural food and wine pairing event and said the plan was to hold it every two months.

“It’s a chance to sample a few new dishes and wines by Winezani, and a have a very fun evening,” he said.

Winezani specialises in boutique wines.

RED-BLOODED: A full-bodied red, Raka Petit Verdot, was paired with the griddle-roasted lamb rib chops served with cabbage, leek, celery and lardon mash Picture: JON HOUZET
RED-BLOODED: A full-bodied red, Raka Petit Verdot, was paired with the griddle-roasted lamb rib chops served with cabbage, leek, celery and lardon mash Picture: JON HOUZET

The generously portioned starter was home-smoked meats – bush pig, duck and chicken breast  served with a chilli marmalade and fresh garden salad leaves.

It was paired with a glass of Vrede en Lust Cote de Savoy, a Rhone-style blend of Syrah (49%), Grenache (45%), Viognier (6%).

It is a light red that tastes more like a white wine, but the full flavour came out with the food, especially the spicy chutney, and diners sang its praises.

Next was smoked salmon pasta – strips of smoked salmon in mushroom, capers, oregano and fresh cream and white wine sauce, served with penne pasta. Howard said he had learned from an Italian chef that “it’s not in the pasta, it’s in the sauce”.

It was paired with Dombeya Chardonnay, a wooded wine with lemongrass and smoky undertones.

The pasta was very filling, but there was a lot more to come.

Howard described the linefish as Graze’s signature dish. A selection of kob, gurnard and Miss Lucy, the succulent fish was served with a thermidor sauce on a bed of sweet potato, carrot and pumpkin mash, and seasonable vegetables.

It was excellent with the Mariaan Sauvignon blanc, an older than usual vintage for white wine from 2014. It was described as very tropical and fruity. The boutique estate has only 30ha of vineyard.

DECADENT DESSERT: Chocolate ganache sponge topped with fresh fruit, crushed meringue and cream was accompanied by a Riebeek port Picture: JON HOUZET
DECADENT DESSERT: Chocolate ganache sponge topped with fresh fruit, crushed meringue and cream was accompanied by a Riebeek port Picture: JON HOUZET

By this stage patrons were wondering how they would fit in the next course, let alone dessert.

But no-one could resist the griddle-roasted lamb rib chops served with cabbage, leek, celery and lardon mash, and a juniper and red wine reduction.

It was paired with my favourite wine from the evening, a Raka Petit Verdot, a smooth, full-bodied red that is great by itself but wonderful with a good meal. Patrons had a choice of chilled or room temperature wine.

Riebeek port, with 80% Tinta Barocca, was served with dessert, a decadent chocolate ganache sponge topped with fresh fruit, crushed meringue and cream, and served with a berry coulis.

Diners were highly complimentary, but told Howard the feast was just too large. Portions could be made smaller with no loss to quality and value for money.

Patrons also had the opportunity to purchase the selected wines from Winezani at trade prices if they ordered a case.

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