Let’s be honest, ouma’s pickled fish and Malva pudding don’t exactly scream fine dining. While these kinds of dishes have a special place in the hearts of South Africans, we don’t haul them out when we’re tying to impress dinner guests. But, chef Marvin Robyn of The Restaurant at Grande Provence is turning that notion on its head with his new Heritage Tasting Menu. Using fresh local ingredients and a generous helping of creativity, the passionate young head chef and his team have created an innovative menu that turns every notion you have about traditional South African dishes on its head.
Available exclusively to dinner guests at The Restaurant at Grande Provence, the Heritage menu puts a refined twist on South African heirloom recipes perfected by moms, grannies, and aunts across South Africa. The menu offers a wide selection of fresh, local ingredients expertly prepared by Chef Marvin Robyn and his team. Featuring dishes such as Malay onions, smoked snoek & fish kaiings to start, Ox tongue with sweet mustard & pickled butternut for mains, and Malva ice cream with cheesecake mousse, plum jelly, and nut marzipan for dessert, the menu is a collection of true South African heritage food.
After graduating with distinction from the acclaimed Institute of Culinary Arts (ICA) in Stellenbosch, Chef Marvin cut his culinary teeth working alongside leading chefs in a number of top winelands restaurants including Delaire Graff, Cuvée at Simonsig, Equus at Cavalli and finally Makaron at Majeka House. He joined the Grande Provence team towards the end of 2018, taking up the position of head chef for the fist time. Despite his young age, Marvin’s dishes are packed with flavour and have the finesse of a seasoned head chef with years of heading up kitchens under his belt.
Highlights from the tasting menu include the Catch of the Day, with celeriac purée, sea lettuces, & white grapes as well as the Springbok Rump with mielie pap, chakalaka, buchu & honey jus. Mielie pap can be boring and bland but when paired with the clever combination of chakalaka, buchu & honey jus, it becomes the star of the plate. The bitterness of the buchu, sticky sweetness of the honey, and spice of the chakalaka work so well together and elevate the humble mielie pap to new levels of deliciousness.
Those with a sweet tooth will adore the Milktart with naartjie ice cream, citrus tweel, and curried praline with gold dust. A sophisticated take on a classic Sunday roast dessert, this dessert goes way beyond your mamma’s melktert. The subtle spice of the curried praline with the burst of citrus from the naartjie ice cream are the perfect match to the creamy milktart, turning this basic dessert into a fine dining delight.
While this might not be the first time a chef has put a new twist on South African dishes, chef Marvin’s clever flavour combinations make this menu a true standout on the local restaurant scene. Unexpected flavour combinations come together to create dishes that will surprise your palate while still being wonderfully familiar. Chef Marvin and his team have done an incredible job of creating dishes that not only respect the flavours and ingredients of our childhoods but elevate them to new heights.
The Restaurant at Grande Provence in Franschhoek is open daily for lunch and dinner. The new dinner Heritage Tasting Menu is priced at R495, R595 and R695 for 3, 4 and 5 courses respectively without wines, and from R780 to R980 with an elegant Grande Provence wine paired with each dish. Both menus offer pairing suggestions for every dish from the wide range of elegant Grande Provence wines. View the full menu here.
For more information visit the Grande Provence website.