Prepared with great attention to detail. Showing sophisticated elegance, carefully or elegantly done.
The guiding principle of Foxcroft Restaurant.
If living in Cape Town, it is hard not to know what's happening in the food scene. Who is trending and where you should be eating. When the name Foxcroft came about, I was intrigued. I had heard that it was related to La Colombe, and the pastry mastermind Glenn Foxcroft Williams was behind the greatness of it all. Living in Stellenbosh offers me many benefits, some of which are wine farms on my doorstep and not much traffic, but unfortunately doesn't allow me frequent access to the hotspots in Cape Town. Therefore I have a list which is continually growing of all the places I need to discover, Foxcroft had definitely made it onto this list! So when the invitation was extended to me to celebrate my closest friends birthday at Foxcroft, there was no doubt in my mind that I would clear my calendar.
Arriving at the venue I was immediately transported to a place of happiness, any time I'm surrounded by trees I'm content, especially grand old oaks. The facade of the building was striking, I liked the clear and simple branding of the black-and-white, the lovely wooden table and chairs under the oaks it was welcoming and appealing. I made a beeline for the patisserie display, as I had heard such amazing things of their delights. Knowing by the time I completed my lunch the sweets that I had coveted would most probably be gone, I made a rather impulsive necessary order of pastries and some breads. The choices were overwhelming, in a good way and I felt as though I had been transported back in time to Dominic Ansel's iconic Patisserie in Soho, New York. My heart was pounding, as I derive complete happiness in the perfection which is the art of Patisserie. Eventually I stopped myself, and with one foul swipe of my Visa, they were all mine. The damage was futile in the larger scheme of things, as I understand the thought, process, time and energy put into each of those pastries and breads, it is a sacred practice. I tore myself away to head to our allocated table near the fountain, as my shoes crunched on the stones and heard the sound of the fountain splash I knew that this was going to be a lunch to remember.
Now seated and the ice cold champagne being poured, we were greeted by the most charming young waitress, who welcomed us and explained how the menu would run. After a few cheers and catching up, all our heads bowed down to the menu to begin the hard task of deciding what we would devour. Instinctively my eyes were drawn towards the squid, since I was about five years old, squid has always been one of my favourites and when done well can win me over immediately. Before I could make a decision, a beautiful wooden platter of oysters was served to the table and explained as; Oysters with crispy onion, yuzu compressed watermelon and jalapeño. Now the first thing that comes to mind when I see an oyster is shucking hundreds of them during my time as student chef and to add, my first oyster encounter when I was young did not bring back the fondest of memories, but the combination of accompaniments to this oyster and the bubbles dancing in my champagne glass made it necessary to give this dish a whirl. I was beyond pleasantly surprised as all the flavours merged perfectly in my mouth and I was far from offended by this oyster.
The attention to details regarding the decor and touches did not go unnoticed. The menus were crisp and clean, easily legible and clear to understand for even the most beginner foodie. The glassware, crockery and cutlery are impeccable and as for the raw wooden boards, they worked beautifully with the perfectly white linen napkins. As I was sitting outside I wasn't able to completely absorb the beauty of the interior decor, although a quick peak was enough to realise it was carefully and thoughtfully put together, and showed clearly Foxcroft's mantra of SOI·GNÉ, as everything from the food and to the service was elegantly done, sophisticated with great attention to detail.
My squid dish arrived and what I had just been served did not lack in any account, perfectly crispy and balanced, paired with Chorizo, Ajo Blanco and wild garlic. I was definitely saddened as I popped the last crunchy squid into my mouth. Others at the table began with the Spring tempura served with fermented chilli mayo and house-made Ponzu and the Tuna Crudo with green olives, chicory, roasted pork for dressing and preserved lemons - all equally delicious.
Next up I opted for the Korean fried chicken with buttermilk espuma. Personally I believe I have a great knack for choosing the best things on the menu:) As my second tapas course was equally as good as my first! The sticky and sweet but yet spicy chicken wings were extraordinary, sprinkled in black and white sesame seeds finished off with chopped spring onion. I gladly dipped them into the buttermilk espuma and tried very hard not to get the entirety of the sauce on my face. I succeeded partially with this, but my napkin came off second best. Others opted for the lamb rib with Harissa smoked garlic and aubergine, also the Grass-fed beef Tatare seaweed pickles and puffed rice.
Our waitress was ever so attentive, yet not overbearing as she cleared the plates and prepared the table for our main course, she then disappeared returning with a tray full of more treasures. Beautiful ceramic dishes and wooden boards and bowls, filled with Charcuterie, home-made bread by Foxcroft Bakery, cauliflower pickle, marinated olives, onion marmalade and house-made milk solid zesty butter. Although we knew we had two more courses to come, the pure beauty of the presentation and freshness of all that was on offer was irresistible, so we all got stuck in and snacked away on our "halftime" miniature feast.
The champagne kept flowing, but thankfully so did the sparking water! We were given the option from our waitress to have a break, before our main arrived. This was welcomed and some of us had a quick walk to make space for the next two courses.
Pork neck steak, glazed jowl and smoked fillets with sweet potato, roast stone fruit and kimchi baby gem was my choice for the main course. I have a strong need to swear as I have no words how els to explain the epic magnitude of this dish, but do not fear I'll keep it kosher here (nope I didn't intend for that to rhyme). The tastes where overwhelming, I don't think I said one word during this course. Each and every element fitted together like a puzzle. To be honest I'm not a fan of pork, but thought I'd give this dish a try as I loved the combination of the sweet potato, stone fruit and kimchi baby gem with the richness of pork. I did not want it to end! This definitely ranked in my top 10 meat dishes of all time. Bravo.
Other main courses ordered included the Chalmar Beef, duck fat chips, carrot, brussels, café au lait; The seven day dry aged duck breast with turnips, fermented plum, gem squash, kale and the Panseared line fish, salsa verde, cauliflower, muscle chowder - all of which was sublime. Luckily extra duck fat chips were ordered for the table as they were so delectable and moreish!
The final order of business, dessert. This was a tough one for me as I honestly could not decide. I was torn between the Roast pineapple parfait, mango, coconut and the Rose and Coconut Pana Cotta with cashew & lime. Finally after much deliberation and the others promising a taste of their plates, I settled on the Pana Cotta. I quickly learnt this was not the wrong decision, as the beautiful plate was placed down in front of me, my eyes lit up. Perfectly pink and delicate I did not want my spoon to break apart this piece of art, but my sweet tooth said otherwise. Once again the perfect amalgamation of texture, colour and flavour - a dessert that will not be quickly forgotten. Luckily the others keep their promise, and I was able to sink my spoon into the pineapple parfait, as well as the gypsy tart with citrus salt and passionfruit sorbet. I adored the pineapple for it's freshness and clarity, the gypsy tart is for one with an extreme infinity for rather sweet things but the passionfruit sorbet and citrus salt cut through the sweetness amicably.
Coffee orders were taken and this was when I realised it was all over, my heart was saddened but my tummy relieved, it was time to throw in the towel no more could be devoured. As we sipped on our Tribe Coffee and tried not to be rude as our eyes became heavy, there was a complete sense of satisfaction surrounding the table. A long afternoon spent under the oaks at Foxcroft with good company is just about the best meditation one could ask for. As with any place that makes you feel content, there is no choice but to return again very soon.
My top tip would be to book for an early lunch, and plan tea with some friends late afternoon, that gives you the perfect excuse to purchase at least one of each pastry to take home with you, some fresh sourdough or rye for avocado toast for breakfast the next morning wouldn't hurt either.
Be sure to check out #MACARONMONDAYS new to Foxcroft!
To find out more about Foxcroft visit their beautiful website here.