Tea on a wine farm, why not?

Posted by Lauren Dold on 6 March 2020

In the heart of the Stellenbosch Winelands, the last thing one expects at a tasting experience is tea. But it’s not just a vehicle for milk and sugar, or something to dunk your Ouma rusk into. Paired with a gourmet menu expertly prepared by the team at Gåte at Quoin Rock, chilled teas were a wonderful addition to our lunch, and a wonderful addition to Quoin Rock’s repertoire.

The six-course menu was presented as a journey around the world, and each course was paired with a different tea.

The first course kicked off a series of surprises. We were served a neat cigar, complete with gold trim. It took me a second to convince myself I should bite into it. On the side was an ashtray under a small glass dome full of ash, which turned out to be activated charcoal on a black-garlic-and-smoked-tomato mousse. I should have known then that the coffee served with the cigar would of course not be coffee, but I was nonetheless pleasantly surprised when I tasted a sharp tomato consommé.

Five courses were to follow, each to be paired with a carefully selected tea that The Tea Chest’s Leva Tomase would talk us through, the same way a sommelier would do with wine.

Not one for oysters, I was served a vegan version of cheese for my second course, beautifully presented on a bed of seaweed, complete with a dry ice flare and the smell of the ocean.

Up next was a familiar dish that turned out to be unrecognisable. The Gåte chefs managed to turn the humble caprese salad into an exquisite melting dome, which revealed cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and tiny pearls of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, all soaked up by a basil sponge.

Two more delicious savoury dishes followed, both beautifully and carefully plated. Finally it was dessert time, a dish certainly worth waiting for. Piña Colada inspired, the panna cotta was served in the hollowed-out shell of a coconut with a cinnamon tuile and pineapple glass, surrounded by fragrant petals and finished off with dry ice and liquid nitrogen, the perfect dramatic finale.

The teas paired with each of these dishes complemented the flavours of each course so well. They were served chilled in a different vessel at each course, from shot glasses to glass pipes.

I left with the same feeling one has after a long and lazy Wineland’s lunch, but without having had any wine and not missing it a bit.

Cost: ‘Journey around the world’ six-course set menu R800. R1,100 with wine pairing.

For more information vist quoinrock.co.za/gate-restaurant/

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