Apple cobbler with fynbos honey, thyme and olive oil gelato. Pictures: Walter Hayward

We recently attended a fynbos and shiraz dinner event at the ON19 restaurant, on the 19th floor of the Foreshore hotel. 

Chef Stephen Mandes excelled at keeping the flavours familiar to the South African palate, but also catering to the hotel’s international guests.

The cultivar for the evening, a different vineyard for each course, was shiraz. The smoky and spicy notes complemented the earthy flavours of the night.

Our appetites were stimulated when the amuse-bouche arrived - Rooibos limoncello and puffed kingklip. The limoncello was frosty and refreshing with a citrus aftertaste that complimented the salty kingklip mousse.

The next course was a homely “snoek en patat” which piqued our interest when we spotted it on the menu. A colourful dish, the blended snoek was presented as a cigar with colourful sweet potato sauce and tiny sweet potato cubes adorning the plate.

The familiar flavours and Lamenshoek shiraz made this course a crowd favourite.

Mandes continued pleasing us with the main course - beautifully presented springbok.

The perfectly cooked meat (medium-raw) was served with a mouth-watering chocolate and num num jus, fermented cabbage and a garlic-y sweet potato croquet that made us scream “encore!”

Springbok with a chocolate and num num jus, fermented cabbage,and a garlic sweet potato croquet. Pictures: Walter Hayward

A delicious combination of flavours, it felt traditional and authentic on the tongue. The jus brought out the tenderness of the meat with the fermented cabbage adding a tangy taste to the mix.

Dessert was a mix of American history and South African themes. Apple cobbler with fynbos honey, thyme and an unbelievably creamy olive oil gelato.

Perched on top was a tiny toffee apple that reminded diners of familial pastimes. The cinnamon from the cobbler blended exquisitely with the spicy notes of the La Vierge “Anthelia” shiraz.

ON19 has acquired a gem of a chef. With his new menu inspired by South African favourites, chef Mandes has insured the restaurant will be filled with both locals and guests looking for something fancy yet homely.