Last night, hubby and I went to DW eleven-13, situated on the corner of Jan Smuts and Bompas Road in Dunkeld West to celebrate another special occasion. We decided to try out Chef Marthinus Ferreira’s Degustation menu. So, as you know by now, I’m not a big wine drinker, so I opted for the non-alcoholic pairing; my husband selected the alcoholic pairing.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by our server for the evening, seated at a lovely table and offered some still water.
The nomming commenced with a selection of breads; cranberry-nut and cornbread paired with sweet fig butter and normal salted butter. If you love nuts, you’ll love the cranberry-nut bread. It’s a savoury bread with just a hint of sweetness from the cranberry. The cornbread was deliciously moist.
Our server was very attentive. If our waterglasses were nearing empty, she would fill them. If our plates were empty, she would clear them. If we got up from our table to go to the bathroom, she would neatly fold our napkins and place them back on the table.
The first course was a deliciously seared salmon with cucumber ketchup (prepared exactly like normal ketchup), thin slices of Grannysmith apples, adding a nice tartness to the dish, salmon roe and a smooth oyster coulis (essentially a thin puree used as a sauce). Paired with the dish was a refreshing cucumber and lime juice for me and an NV Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne for my husband. I must admit, I was a tad disappointed at the explanation of the wine pairing. There was no Sommelier and our server did not go into any detail as to why the champagne was selected; what part of the dish it best complimented, where it originated from, etc.
Nevertheless, mine was delicious.
Now, I am not a huge mint fan; not a herb fan in general to be honest. I find it to be quite overpowering, but my cucumber and lime juice had just a few mint leaves added to the mix and it made for a fantastic combination. The freshness of the mint paired with the coolness of the cucumber made for a drink so delicious, I plan on taking a stab at making it at home over the December holidays.
The second course was polenta with cauliflower espuma (also known as froth or foam) with sultanas, pine nuts, crispy kale and brown butter. The dish was presented in a beautiful wooden bowl paired with non-alcoholic Bavaria Apple Beer for me and Oak Valley Mountain Reserve Sauvignon Blanc for hubby.
Upon reading the menu, I was a bit hesitant, but the explosion of flavours on my first bite were amazing and complimented each other so well – the slight sweetness of the sultana worked perfectly with the nuttiness of the pine nuts and brown butter. Truly a match made in heaven. My husband and I are not big white wine fans, but the Bavaria beer was the perfect accompaniment for this dish.
The third course makes for an interesting story. I am not an organ fan. I can tolerate chicken livers, but ox liver, tripe, the kidney in steak and kidney pie, etc.; not so much, so naturally when I read the menu, my first reaction was not as positive as one would have hoped. Veal sweetbreads with langoustine, bacon, peas and mint. I wasn’t excited to try it, but I like experiencing new things and wasn’t about to turn my back on this experience now, so… I went ahead.
Now, for those of you that don’t know, sweetbread is the thymus gland or pancreas of the veal. You get now why it didn’t excite me…
Anyway, I went in for my first bite; stacked my spoon with a piece of the fried sweetbread, langoustine, a pea or two and some of the gravy, and man was I…
So firstly: I am sure all foodies will bite my head off for this next statement, and I do apologise in advance, but most organs taste like rubber to me, and this tasted no different. Fried rubber. Secondly: the Chef might have overestimated the required seasoning. My gravy tasted like the ocean.
This dish was paired with a thyme and fruits of paradise iced tea, which, in all honesty, tasted like good old “Jannie-verjaar-aanmaak-koeldrank” with a sprig of thyme in it. Hubby’s pair was a 2014 Cape Rock Rose which he quite enjoyed.
I managed to finish about a quarter of the dish before I had to stop. I didn’t manage to get any more down.
The appetiser round was now done and our server presented a delicious Pimms palate cleanser prior to entrees being served.
The fourth course excited hubby quite a bit – he is quite the carnivore and loves lamb. On the menu was lamb belly, croquette (small fried lamb roll), kidney, peas, champ (an Irish dish consisting of mashed potatoes and chopped spring onion), beetroot, herb gremolata (a chopped herb condiment) and a lamb jus (basically concentrated lamb juices/gravy). Mine was paired with a beetroot and cranberry cocktail (bloody delicious, might I add) and hubby got a glass of 2009 Iona One Man Band, a red blend wine.
So, as excited as hubby was, we were a tad disappointed. The lamb belly was quite tough, and seeing as I’ve already mentioned my general dislike of organs, I’m sure you know what my feedback would be on the kidney. The beetroot and cranberry cocktail was interesting though – deliciously refreshing with a slight kick from the raw beetroot.
Then came the desserts – and oh how I love those!
The fifth course was Brie ice cream with a poached pear, peppermint crumble, rocket and port gel. Now I had quite a bad experience with Brie once and I’ve never really recovered from it, but the ice cream was surprisingly delightful. The combination of the sweet, warm poached pear with the slightly bitter, cold ice cream and the fresh peppermint crumble and rocket really made for something special – an explosion of flavours in my mouth. The port gel though was quite overpowering.
Mine was paired with warm apple and morgentau tea; a rather bitter-tasting tea. It complimented the dish well, but I sent more than half the glass back. It was really just too much. Hubby’s was paired with Orpen’s Apple Cider. He quite enjoyed the slightly tart pairing with the sweet pear and bitter ice cream.
The sixth course was not listed on the menu. A lovely lady dropped the dishes off at our table as a surprise, and what a surprise it was! A lovely berry sorbet served with a mascarpone quenelle, delicious crumble, a few fresh berries and a berry coulis. Now, I am quite the berry fan, so I was of course in seventh heaven.
The tartness of the berries cut perfectly through the richness of the mascarpone cheese, and there was just enough of everything to make for a really delicious little dessert.
The seventh and final course was a delicious dark chocolate sorbet served with dulce cream, peppermint dust and hot fudge sauce. Mine was paired with a lovely, light tropical shake and hubby’s was paired with a sweet dessert wine – NV Tierhoek. This one was luscious; a great way to end off a meal.
Even though portions of the entire menu were delicious, I do find the price quite expensive for a six course degustation menu: we paid R950 paired with the wine and R750 for the non-alcoholic pairing.
Overall, I give DW eleven-13 3 noms out of 5.
Have you been to DW eleven-13? What was your experience like? I would love to hear.