- Set seating times (Tuesday to Saturday 19:00 and 19:30 only)
- A set nine-course menu using seasonable produce, that guests can actually see growing, where it was sourced and how it was grown.
- An additional option of an affordable and unusual wine pairing with the courses makes this option a must-have with EVERY meal.
We arrived to a rather dark Roots nursery (as expected at night when it is closed) in the Karoo yard and parked outside. We then followed the sandy pathway to the front of the restaurant which is in effect, a wooden shed.
What we found inside? A simple, yet functional wooden shed complete with handmade mismatching crockery, tables and chairs and an inviting fireplace to one side.
Our meal was an absolute culinary journey with so much attention to detail that it was hard not to be impressed so I will let last nights menu (and the attached photos) speak for themselves...
Bread & Canapes paired with Tanzanite Brut MCC.
OCTOPUS: Masala, Aubergine & Tomato paired with Fledge & Co Pretty Pink.
SCALLOP: Broccoli, Radish & Turnip paired with Chamonix Sauvignon Blanc.
KABELJOU: Artichoke, Fennel & Grapefruit paired with Mount Abora Chenin Blanc.
DUCK: Egg, Bone Marrow & Pearl Onions paired with B Vintners Pinot Noir.
BEEF 1st Serving: Black Garlic, Baked Milk & Truffle paired with Spice Route Grenache.
BEEF 2nd Serving: Celeriac, Red Cabbage & Rhubarb paired with Newton & Johnson Full Stop Rock.
CHEESE: Huguenot & Pear Slices paired with Cederburg Bukettraube.
APPLE: Almonds, Burnt Butter Ice Cream & Raisins paired with Keermont Fleurfontein.
All in all - What an outstanding take on sustainable fine dining and complete attention to details with some ingredients taking up to three days to prepare.
Sadly, the one downside of last night was that due to the lack of ventilation and all that beautiful cooking in the open plan kitchen, I left smelling like I'd been sitting around a braai all evening and my eyes watered for quite a bit of the last four dishes due to the smoke. Still - worth it and I would definitely return.
*Recommendation: This is affordable fine dining with all the benefits of actually aiming to promote sustainable cooking and eating. I highly recommend the experience!
"Bijou" is the French word for gem and what a gem this eighty seater at Toadbury Hall is!! The latest offering from Chef Philippe Wagenfuhrer encompasses all of his rich history and knowledge from all of his travels into one restaurant, creating dishes that have touched him as a child growing up in a family of Chefs and Restauranteurs! But, first a bit about the Chef himself.
Philippe, I met and got to know many years ago and have followed closely ever since. Over the years, he has become a friend but he is also one of the BEST chefs in South Africa (in my humble opinion) and is set to change the face of Toadbury Hall this year with BIJOU!! Philippe was a fully qualified Chef by the age of 17 and he went on to complete a degree in hospitality and another in cooking, working with, and gaining experience with Uni7 (A group of Michelin star restaurants). Chef Philippe was able to travel the globe developing his own unique cooking style which led to him becoming an executive Chef at the age of 25, taking charge of three kitchens and sixty personnel. His travels to Scotland saw him gaining a Michelin star and he earned a reputation as a 'funghi' (pronounced fun guy) due to his love for wild mushrooms... this man is a guru in the industry! Bijou's menu is in French (with an English translation for those of us whose high school French isn't quite up to scratch). He has a wine cellar offering a great selection of SA wines, and some French options thrown in, but Philippe is adamant "why choose French wines if our terroir in South Africa is just as good." (and I am inclined to agree)!
Onto the food (and boy did we have a feast):
1. Tomato fondue with swordfish Provençal and Goat's cheese.
2. Tabouleh with babaganoush, and peperade, crushed avocado, blood orange reduction and lime.
3. Pressed Terrine of maize fed chicken with pomegranate, onion chutney.
4. Cold-served Caribbean curry with baby carrot and lentils.
5. Char-grilled Angus mature sirloin with roasted beetroot, forestiere split sauce.
6. Caramelized pear with homemade cheese and walnut, brioche soil and grain mustard sauce.
7. Marquis de Chocolat Valrhona with berry compote and vanilla double cream.
Bijou is currently undergoing a renovation, but is still open to the public for incredible fine dining experiences and wine pairings in the meantime. What a countryside gem! Full review and pics to follow, but I could not resist sharing this first glance at what is one of my favourite restaurants of 2017..
What an absolutely stunning evening getting a first look (and taste) at J Something's delicious food.
J Something has really come full circle with this new offering and it is hard not to catch the passion that he has for his tried and tested favourites!
Onto the food:
Pork Belly: Ramen, smoked pork belly and aromatics.
Heirloom Tomato & Beetroot Salad: Heirloom tomatoes, beet variations, chevin, hazelnut. This Heirloom tomato for me was incredibly special - well presented - beautifully plated and deliciously healthy whilst also managing to be tasty!
Pollo: Baby chicken, Piri Piri, Pineapple.
The Catch: White fish, matcha, pistachio. Also a favorite on this first visit! Good texture, cooked to perfection and a wonderful yet unlikely combination of different flavors.
A Lamb Feast: confit lamb, hummus, red onion, aubergine.
The Afroguese: rice pudding, milk tart, milk ice cream, blood orange.
Death by Coco: Flourless chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, blonde creme brule, and passion fruit sorbet.
*Recommendation: J Something has kept his concept simple taking all his favorite tried and tested dishes from home and sharing them with us.. It is a concept that I personally love and this menu seems to just have something for everyone!