Overture at Hidden Valley review

After my fantastic experience with a food and wine pairing at Rust en Vrede, I’m suddenly excited to try more pairings. I read some rave reviews about Overture and was very impressed with the value on offer. The tasting menu is R205 for 3 courses, R250 for 4 and R300 for 5. With wine it becomes R260, R310 and R365. These prices are very reasonable compared to other restaurants and especially reasonable when you consider that Overture is in the Eat Out top 10 as well as being an American Express Platinum Fine Dining Partner.

I sold the idea of a lunch at Overture to a few friends and we made our way out there, but not before booking well in advance. I’ve never been to Hidden Valley wine estate before, maybe because it is a little hidden. It’s just past Ernie Els estate, further up the hill. In fact, Hidden Valley is really high up which results in spectacular views. It’s a very modern estate, but done tastefully. The mixture of stone, wood and steel has been done tastefully and softened with plants and creeping vines.

There is plenty of space for al fresco dining on warm days, when we went it wasn’t warm enough for that. Sitting inside doesn’t deprive you of the views as the two sides of the restaurant are all glass doors, providing good visibility of the view. If you have your back to the view, you can enjoy the entertainment provided by the open kitchen.

The menu changes daily as they use seasonal and local produce as much as possible. This means you won’t get the same menu as we had but I’ll share it with you nonetheless, as it will give you an idea of the calibre of food. We went for the 4 course option with paired wines. The items we selected were:

– Lentil soup with bread fritter, thyme and chives – paired with 2008 Hidden Valley sauvignon blanc (not bad but lacked flavour)
– Quail ballontine with Jerusalem artichoke and hoodia – paired with 2006 Waterkloof Peacock Ridge chardonnay (a little under done for my liking)
– Angelfish wrapped in prosciutto served with tomato and olive – paired with 2008 Lands End sauvignon blanc (I didn’t try this)
– Chalmar rib eye with brisket frikkadel, roots and pomme fondant – paired with 2005 Hidden Valley shiraz (the frikkadel was amazing)
– Confit Pork Belly with pomme puree and fennel salad – paired with 2006 Hidden Valley Pinotage (this was the best dish)
– Creme caramel with guava and guava sorbet – paired with 2008 unfiltered chenin blanc noble late harvest (I was disappointed with this dessert, the creme caramel offered little resistance as it was overpowered by the guava)

The pairings were appropriate, but not brilliant enough to hold my attention. In fact, that was my impression of the meal. Apart from the pork belly and the frikkadel, I found myself easily distracted by the view, the kitchen and conversation. This does not mean it wasn’t an enjoyable dining experience, it was a most enjoyable experience, as a whole. Without the spectacular view and interesting kitchen, it might not have been as enjoyable.

Overture
Hidden Valley Estate, off Annandale Road, Stellenbosch
021 880 2646
http://www.hiddenvalley.co.za/overture.htm

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5 Responses

  1. Michael Forsdale says:

    Overture is by far the very very best restaurant in the winelands! Bertie Basson is a master! Eating there is a series of flavour burst and combination heaven. Service is sensational with all the staff extremely well versed. By very far the best culinary experience that we and everyone I have spoken to has experienced. My only gripe is that if you dont book a week in advance you dont stand a chance of getting a table.

  2. Marie Freeman says:

    Have only had amazing meals here. I find no one even compares to Chef Basson in the area. This is real food made fresh. Big man keep doing your thing, because without you I would have no place to eat out on my day off.

  3. Bazil says:

    Overture is the unofficial number one restaurant in SA – food doesn’t get better or more personal than this on SA soil – Bertus Basson does us all proud !!

  4. darren says:

    Agree that this place is the number one for food however the service is just not good enough, same old story we get time and time again in this city.

    I have been here 4 times and just have had enough and wont go back, sloppy service, no one in charge, asking for the table to be cleared, asking 2-3 times for wine and asking 2-3 times for coffee.

    These guys should go to Terroir where the service reflects the food, 100%.

  5. daz says:

    Very impressed, after my comemnt on the website above Bertus the owner and chef tracked me down and wanted to find out where the problems where and wanted to reassure me.

    An invite to the restuarant was offerred which unfortunatley i couldnt make but i am back there for lunch soon and looking forward to it.

    Its great to see an owner and chef taking such pride in their business to personally chase all complaints.

    well done