Kevin Grobler returns to Delaire Graff Restaurant and brings his sophisticated seasonal approach to the menu
After three years as head chef at JAN in Nice, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen’s award-winning eponymously named eatery, before which he worked at other illustrious venues such as Cavalli and Terroir, Kevin Grobler has returned to SA (and Delaire Graff) as Executive Chef. Also celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the restaurant looks back in celebration of a decade of excellence as it simultaneously plans for the future in debuting Grobler’s maiden menu at the establishment.
A contemporary bistro, whose food is an expression of the farm supplied in large part by the estate’s gardens and greenhouse, the starting point of each dish is the best ingredients. The kitchen also works with a network of small-scale local farmers, each chosen for their sustainable, ethical practices. ‘Our food is very local, earthy and real. It’s about allowing the purity of flavour, local provenance and sheer beauty of the ingredients to shine,’ says Grobler.
Elegant flavour combinations form the basis of Grobler’s new sustainably focused à la carte lunch and dinner menus (as well as a new nine-course tasting menu in the evenings). From the simple fresh symphony of gravlax, smoked tomato, lemon gel and crispy capers, to the rich comfort of braised beef short rib offset by Jerusalem artichoke purée, charred onions and braised mustard seeds, and the ultimately satisfying combination of dark chocolate cake with roasted guavas, port gel and Dulcey crémeux, the menu’s classic combinations, non-fussy execution, excellent technique and beautiful plating make it a sophisticated but modern take on dining.
In recognition of Delaire Graff cellar master Morne Vrey’s 10-year journey developing the brand, the menu is wine-driven (with each paired wine featuring in the dish itself). ‘I started with the tasting notes for each of the wines, then worked backwards to come up with the dishes, brainstorming each step with my team,’ he explains. ‘This is not a one-man show,’ he says.