There’s something refreshingly down to earth about the new menu at Makaron Restaurant – it’s fine dining for sure, but firmly rooted in local, seasonal flavours. Chef Lucas Carstens, previously of Cuvée at Simonsig, took over the kitchen in December, with Pete Goffe-Wood as consultant chef, devising a style that is approachable enough for a neighbourhood eatery and special enough for an occasion. “For me the ingredients lead the way. When you have really good ingredients they make the dish and you don’t have to do a lot with them.”
New menu at Makaron restaurant
Certainly every dish showcases individual ingredients in a way that allows each one, delicate or vibrant, to reveal its true colours. Sitting outside on the Moroccan-tiled terrace on a balmy summer evening, we started with a sophisticated ceviche of yellowtail with sea lettuce, sweet balls of melon and caviar, harmonious flavours with the contrast of crispy fish skin crackling. Our other starter was a simple pork terrine reminiscent of a French country auberge, with sweetly crunchy pickled cauliflower and toasted brioche, all in generous portions, which, with the selection of home-made breads and tomato chutney made from the fruits of the vegetable garden, would have made a satisfying lunch on its own.
Pork belly on celeriac puree with pops of apple was pure comfort food, while the simplicity of springbok, kale puree and butternut ravioli was lifted by a spiced jus and a sprinkle of crispy kale, beautifully plated against the luscious glaze of the gorgeous David Walters dishes.
The menu comes with suggested wine pairings, and expert sommelier, Esmé Groenewald, is a delightful host, chatting vividly about wine, weather and life, with a special enthusiasm for interesting single variety wines. On her recommendation I went for the 2013 Super Single Vineyards Pella Malbec: pure berries and beautifully smooth for a warm Stellenbosch summer evening under the stars.
Dessert at Majeka
We chose two desserts. For subtle shades of flavour I loved the sesame panna cotta, with miso ice cream and nectarines, while the lemon tart with raspberry sorbet was vibrant with fruit, finishing with a flourish. Throughout the meal we cast covetous glimpses at the beautiful copper and wood James Mudge tables in the dining room; the signature Majeka House quirky decor mixing understated wood and glitzy Kartell Louis Ghost chairs makes a visually stimulating setting for a meal equally satisfying and full of contrasts.
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Words: Kit Heathcock