The energy in Cape Town does a complete 180º when summer arrives. Even at the inkling of spring, suddenly the wet, dreary days of winter have a note of optimism. The streets are busier, people embrace the outdoors and on a clear, sunny Saturday you can be sure everyone is out and about. A place in the Cape that caters to balmy summer celebrations (but equally caters to Cape Town’s rather tempestuous weather bureau) is Spier Wine Farm. Multifaceted and producing world-class wine, year-long it offers something for visitors.
This summer, its biggest catch is the addition of shared plates and farm-to-plate tapas from Eight Restaurant. I dined with fellow foodies and experienced the joy, flavour and variety of Chef Charl Coetzee’s menu, paired of course with Spier’s Creative Block wines…
Inspired by the philosophy of farm-to-table, Coetzee uses produce sourced fresh off the farm on Spier’s newly restored Werf — one of the oldest farmyards in the country. Lovingly tended by farmer John and his team, the greens and veggies are grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertiliser.
The restaurant’s beef comes from grass-fed cattle reared on Spier’s pastures (which are also home to the happily free-roaming chickens that supply Eight’s eggs). Both the chickens and cattle are raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones. All the meat is processed on the land, ensuring that the care taken in raising the animals on Spier’s pastures is maintained until it reaches your plate.
‘Our food embodies simplicity and honesty; we creatively combine the freshest, best quality ingredients to make memorable dishes,’ Coetzee says. ‘This is farm-style food, with an emphasis on natural flavours.’
Eight isn’t just about food: the restaurant’s décor embodies its ethos of balance, cycles, harmony and abundance. Artist Heath Nash was responsible for the beautiful ceiling on the terrace. He meticulously handcrafted 10 000 flowers using recycled white plastic milk bottles, and lit with low voltage LEDs. The light fittings in the main part of the restaurant were made from recycled plastic bottles, echoing the farm’s sustainability values.
Our meal included a taste of the varied small plates, including oxtail croquettes with almond skordalia, sustainable fish with ginger and chili, grilled flank and chimichurri with potato wontons, charred asparagus, sticky pork belly and Karoo lamb riblets. Dessert was a parsnip cake with grapefruit, almonds and meringue.
With a choice of wine that included Spier 21 Gables Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Creative Block 2, 3 and 5, it was a food and wine match made in heaven. And that fact that it’s sustainably and environmentally focussed? That much better.
Reservations: 021 809 1100 / via firstname.lastname@example.org
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 16.30. Open for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Eight is available for private functions and is the ideal place to hold your year-end celebrations. There are special opening hours during the festive season: give us a ring to find out more.