I was one of the fortunate few to be invited to a Zomato meet-up at this gorgeous eatery. I don’t do reviews on every single establishment that I frequent, so suffice to say that this was definitely one for the books! With a celebrity head chef, a breathtakingly scenic setting, brilliant service and food that is to die for, why wouldn’t I want to share my experience with you all?! The occasion of visiting Bistro 13 begins with the drive to the wine farm on which the restaurant is situated. Stellenbosch is particularly beautiful no matter the season, so you will find it a most pleasant journey that calms your senses.
The restaurant does not disappoint in this regard. There are traces of light and earthy tones spread throughout the seating areas, which feel like a breath of fresh air – especially when compared to the décor of the otherwise characteristically vintage restaurants in the wine lands. I loved the use of wood and South African elements to highlight the décor, and the pond with ducks hanging about is a most delightful sight to behold in the outdoors area! I quite imagine that enjoying a summer lunch at the Bistro 13 will definitely not disappoint on any level!
The menu, as one would expect, is a degustation designed to satisfy only the fussiest culinary senses. You can thank chef and owner, Nic van Wyk, for imparting his knowledge, passion and insight to develop the wonderful seasonal menus that Bistro 13 churns out. I can’t say that there is a single course which I did not love and respect, and I left the eatery in awe of how perfectly balanced all of the dishes were!
My favourite items from the Bistro 13 menu included:
I really enjoyed the starter of celeriac, truffle and parsnip soup, accompanied by a wild mushroom brioche toast.
This was a symphony of rich, umami sensation and the brioche test added a deliciously crisp finishing touch to the dish. Who doesn’t look forward to the extra crunch provided by our croutons or toasts for soup? This soup was smooth and creamy with warm, robust flavours that came from each element in it. I would recommend this as the ideal starter to sample at Bistro 13 before the last of winter is behind us.
Tempura prawn, smoked padron chilli, aubergine and tomato compoté, avocado, aïoli.
The dish itself boasted an amazing mixture of textures and tastes. There was some lovely smoky, spicy flavour from the padron chilli. However, I especially loved that the aubergine and tomato compoté was not too harsh or acidic, thereby playing up well with the creamy avocado and aïoli.
The talk of this dish was definitely the perfectly cooked tempura prawns crowning the plate. They were mouth-watering!
Curry dusted linefish, pilau rice, fragrant Malay curry sauce.
The fish du jour was cooked so well that the flesh was flaky and tender. I really enjoyed the seasoning, although it might be a bit too much for those who don’t enjoy spices. Of course, being a South African by birth and Indian by culture, I surely have seen my fair share of spices and this was not a problem for me! The Malay curry sauce seemed too concentrated with turmeric for my tastebuds, but it did lend a subtle creaminess to the dish, which I appreciated. I really liked this one because my soul identified with its flavours and I can’t resist a perfectly cooked piece of fish!
Roasted pumpkin, barley, harissa ‘risotto’.
This risotto was the deciding factor for me in concluding that I will surely be returning to Bistro 13. It was a vibrant take on the risotto dish that has now grown tired with usual suspects like beetroot, porcini and truffles (even though I do love them so)…
Apple & sultana strudel, with ginger and maple syrup ice cream to end off.
A quaint version of the Austrian favourite, this little strudel packed a serious punch in sugar and spice. Very exquisite plating. I suggest you pick the strudel up and eat it with your hands, but first make sure nobody’s watching you! 😀
Bistro13 Contact Details: –
Telephone: +27 21 881 3044