Overture Restaurant – a hidden gem in a hidden valley

Overture Restaurant – a hidden gem in a hidden valley

Ok – so the local Capetonians are reading my headline and saying – it is not so hidden – we have found it!!  And no doubt many others have too, as it has consistently been rated as one of the Top 10 restaurants in the country for the last three years!  It however remains one of my personal favourites and I return regularly.

We must however not forget that fellow “foodies” visit us from other parts of the country and the world and it is important that we share our local gems.    Overture is owned by Bertus Basson and Craig Cormack.  Bertus is the head chef in Overture, while Craig looks after the other joint restaurant that they own – Sophia’s on Morgenster estate.  The drive from Cape Town to overture only takes about 40 minutes – and it transports you to another world!

Overture would work even if the food was lousy!   The restaurant is on a wine estate called Hidden Valley – which is located on top of a mountain.  The restaurant and cellar boast amazing panoramic views of the valley.  The building itself is worth visiting as it is a wonderful example of modern architecture and is made from local stone.

But the food is anything but lousy.  The menu is presented as a tasting menu and relies on seasonal fresh produce for inspiration.  It must be quite a challenge to change the menu daily in any kitchen.  However, one can tell that Bertus and his team thrive on it as no day is the same, they are all allowed to play with flavour combinations and to come up with inspired creations.   Hallmarks of all of the dishes is a basis in simplicity in order to not lose the flavours of the ingredients.  Another consistent trade mark is how beautifully each dish is plated.  You can tell that a lot of thought goes into presentation.  This is combined with a very knowledgeable service team that are unobtrusive and make sure that your every wish is catered for. In addition Bertus’s passion for great ingredients shines through – everytime he finds a new source of fresh ingredients in the area – we have a half an hour chat about it!  He is always looking and recently has started to use organic vegetables from Spier wine estate around the corner from the restaurant.  As a result of his conscientious sourcing, the flavours are enhanced in every dish presented.  I would highly recommend that you do the pairing of the wines to each dish.  This way you get to experience a food and wine journey while you are there.  Make sure you take a group of friends – this way you can get to experience and taste most of the menu.   As such – try to chose friends that are foodies and love to share!

It is really important for you to know that this experience cannot be rushed.  As locals we love to go to places where we can spend the whole afternoon relaxing, enjoying the view, eating, drinking and laughing with our friends.  So whatever you do, do not make plans for the afternoon!

However, you can make plans for the morning!  You are in an extremely good wine region, and it would almost be a sin if you did not plan to do some wine tasting in the morning! Bare in mind that you will be doing a food and wine experience for the afternoon – so despite how good the wine is in the morning – keep trying to repeat to yourself “Spit – do not swallow!”  Recommendations for the morning would include: Rust-en-Vrede which is at the bottom of the mountain pass, Ernie Els Wines which is 2/3 up the mountain pass and Uva Mira Estate which is just past Overture.   Rust en Vrede boast one of the best red blends in the country called the estate wine – this has been rated many times by US Wine Spectator magazine as one of the best 100 wines in the world.  Ernie Els is also excellent for reds and red blends – they win a 5* rating in the John Platters wine guide every year.  Uva Mira is well known for its chardonnay – however it is so popular that it is rarely available for tasting as it sells out almost as it is released each year.  But despite the fact that you may not get to taste the chardonnay – a visit to Uva Mira is worth it for the views – it is an amazing drive through to the tasting room.  I think it is the prettiest estate in the Stellenbosch region.  The views extend to the ocean.  Make sure you pop in to check this one out!

Overture Restaurant is located on Hidden Valley Wine Estate, Stellenbosch.  Click here for a map and directions. To book call +27 21 880 2721   or e-mail: info@dineatoverture.co.za  Note that the secret is out!! Book well in advance for November – end Feb.