World Environment Day Garden Menuon May 24, 2011
The World Environment Day menu being served at the Conservatory Restaurant is a part of a new farm-to-table hospitality trend, with the emphasis on reducing our carbon footprint and providing a ‘greener’ choice for diners. A number of South African chefs grow their own ingredients, as do our talented chefs; as you might already know. Our executive chef, Dallas Orr, can often be seen in his herb garden collecting samples of flavour for his latest dish.
In addition to a wide variety of herbs, some vegetables including lemon grass and eggplant are also grown in the Table Bay gardens. The fertile ground on the property is further enhanced by some of the organic kitchen waste which is used to compost the plants.
Ingredients For The Fusion Flavoured Feast
Chef Myers has created a fusion-flavoured natural menu for diners of the Conservatory Restaurant that will be offered from 3 – 6 June. The menu has been created in honour and celebration of World Environment Day which falls on 5 June.
While the garden at the Table Bay Hotel provides dozens of varieties of herbs and edible vegetables, the menu is supplemented with naturally raised poultry, grass fed beef and duck eggs sourced from Cape Town’s most renowned naturalists. Included in some of the feature dishes on the menu are 3 different Fynbos plants: buchu, honeybush and wild dagga (or lions ear). Fynbos are indigenous plants found in the Cape Floral Kingdom (South-Western and Southern Cape) and are completely unique to South Africa.
The Table Bay’s Executive Sous Chef, Adrian Schreuder, is a Fynbox expert and has been avidly interested in cooking with Fynbos for over a decade. Schreuder uses Fynbos to create unique South African dishes. He picks the Fynbos ingredients himself and now offers guests the opportunity of accompanying him on his jaunts. “Of the 300 different species of Fynbos, there are about 8 plants that are edible”, says Schreuder.
The Delectable Garden Menu
The ‘garden menu’ is suitably complemented with organic wines from Elgin Ridge, whose philosophy of ‘wine made naturally’ lends itself perfectly to environmental awareness. Elgin Ridge produces only small volumes of wine from organically grown grapes. In addition, the duck eggs found on the menu are also sourced from the Elgin Ridge farm. Our resident sommelier, Dominic Bowers, has made sure that the wine is perfectly suited to the occasion, as well as to the food.
Starter dishes found on this specially created a la carte dinner menu include: vine ripened tomato, garden basil and shaved fennel salad with a garden chilli and avocado vinaigrette; organic poached duck eggs with garden chard, grilled asparagus, wild mushroom and garden tarragon béarnaise sauce and; free range chicken liver parfait, vine ripened grape, wild dagga and port compote with fresh micro greens and Tuscan melba toast. Although wild dagga has been used for centuries in Africa for its medicinal properties, it does not share the narcotic properties of cannabis but belongs to the mint family of plants. So you may safely enjoy using it in your cooking.
The healthy and satisfying main course dishes include: poached fish of the day with caramelised garden celery and fennel served with vine ripened tomatoes; farm butter and buchu beurre blanc. Buchu is a small plant with tiny leaves. It tastes similar to liquorice and is excellent with fish.
The free range roast chicken with organic garlic and garden thyme, crushed extra virgin olive oil with lemon potatoes, calamata olives and fine beans is indescribably tasty. The grass-fed organic beef sirloin with wild rocket, wild mushroom, roasted green garden peppers and crispy pancetta risotto and a sprinkling of shaved Parmigiano reggiano is also just to die for.
The country style desserts, while satisfying and filling, are almost contradictorily urbane: blueberry and country bread pudding with Madagascan vanilla free range clotted cream and real Canadian maple syrup; apple tart tatin with honeybush and garden rosemary ice cream and spiced pear tempura. Honeybush is similar to rooibos but is a little sweeter and the honey taste wonderfully flavours the ice-cream. The baked blue cheese with shaved garden celery and grilled apple petit salad and spiced quince coulis rounds off the meal perfectly.
To book a table and experience the Garden Menu at the Conservatory Restaurant from 3 – 6 June please call: 021 406 5918.