The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa is one of those places in Cape Town that everyone knows about but most Capetonians haven’t been to. Which is odd because it’s quite possibly one of the best places to marvel at the Cape’s beauty and one of the most beautiful hotels in our city. Don’t get me wrong, plenty of people go there but it’s assumed that most of those people are foreigners or out of towners. So why is it that loads of Capetonians don’t take advantage of this absolute gem right on their doorstep? It’s probably because it’s assumed to be so fancy pants that it’s ‘out of reach’ for most of us commoners (heck, I review restaurants for a living and was intimidated by the spot myself!) It wasn’t until I was invited to attend a food and wine pairing evening at the hotel’s Azure Restaurant that I realised that the 12 Apostles isn’t as snooty as I assumed – in fact it’s quite warm and inviting and I can’t wait to go back! Here’s why you need to visit the hotel for their next Food and Wine Pairing evening !
We arrived at the 12 Apostles on a rather windy Friday evening and I was surprised to find that the hotel is quite welcoming to visitors. Most super fancy hotels I’ve been to practically ask you to give them a blood sample before allowing you through the gate but the 12 Apostles has nothing but warm greetings and friendly faces when you arrive – there’s even a hotel cat waiting to give you a snuggle! We were ushered into the hotel lobby where we took the elevator to the Azure Restaurant. Here we were once again greeted with nothing but smiles and delicious glass of wine from the wine sponsor for the evening, Jean Daneel (JD) Wines. After a short while chatting and enjoying the view from the restaurant’s massive balcony it was time to settle in and get ready for a full night of food and wine. We had a 4-course dinner and accompanying wines to get through but I was mentally prepared and I had made sure that I’d had the smallest lunch possibly that afternoon to make space for Chef Christo Pretorius’ food.
What followed was a night of epic proportions. Chef Pretorius and wine maker, Jean Pierre Daneel had put together a perfect combination of flavours for us to try and based on this experience I can only imagine that every food and wine dinner they host at the 12 Apostles is something quite special. The chef continued to surprise us throughout the evening with creative dishes such as the Early Autumn Garden (baby root vegetables, baked beetroot veloute, almond sour cream, and passion fruit), Western Cape Hake (hot smoked hake, green asparagus, beurre noisette vinaigrette, daikon radish and compressed apple) and the White Chocolate Mousse dessert (dark chocolate crumble, creme fraiche ice cream and orange gel).
Each dish was a work of art and a real feast for the eyes but for me first prize must go to the main course of Chalmar Beef Rib Eye which was cleverly served with a braised oxtail pot sticker, mushroom ragout, fennel cream, blueberries and a liquorice jus. The real test for the night was taking the boyfriend along for the ride – let’s just say he has very simple tastes in food and I thought he might find the whole thing a bit overwhelming but in the end I think he enjoyed it more than me! He gave the night a thumbs up and loved that he left the dinner feeling full and satisfied. He also polished off everything that was put in front of him – I’d call that a win!
But enough about the food, let’s talk about the wines – oh boy, what a discovery this was! As I mentioned the wines were supplied by Jean Daneel Wines, a boutique winery in Napier. I’d never heard of the winery before and was blown away by their incredible wines which were so easy drinking yet beautifully complex and full of flavour. I’m a huge fan of white wine so I loved the Jean Daneel Initial White Blend 2014 but surprisingly the Jean Daneel Signature Red 2011 also caught my fancy and I will definitely be looking out for it next time I’m shopping for wine.
The next 12 Apostles Food and Wine Pairing evening will take place on Friday 27 March and will feature wines from Stellenbosch’s Jordan Wine Estate and of course, more culinary delights from Chef Christo Pretorius and his team. The dinner as well as wine, bottled water, tea and coffee costs R545 per person.
Bookings are essential and guests can contact the 12 Apostles Azure Restaurant directly on 021 437 9029 or firstname.lastname@example.org to make a booking.
For more information on Jean Daneel wines visit their website.