Cavalli – Stud farm, wine estate, and food experience like no other

by Karisa

Cavalli is a wine & stud farm situated on the R44 oustide Somerset West.  The name Cavalli actually links back to the Italian term “i Cavalli” which means “the horses”, and echoes their love for and dedication to these beautiful animals.

The Cavalli estate stretches over 110 hectares of land which supports their vineyards and olive groves along with their newly introduced indigenous landscaping and over 400 newly planted mature trees.   Along with all of this greenery their state of the art horse training facility also features an indoor training arena which is connected no less than 20 stables.  Here I’m told the horses listen to classical music and they have a special floor covering which ensures that their hooves don’t get dusty.  Don’t believe me?  Then have a look at what their home looks like:

You ever seen stables that look like that?

Now I wasn’t there because I happen to own a magnificent race horse or anything like that.  I was there to try out their Equus Restaurant – the 1st green-star rated restaurant in South Africa.

And with so much care given to their stud farm, it’s gotta leave you wondering:  How amazing would their food & wine be??

Well the short answer is:  incredibly amazing.  But let me tell you more…

The front entrance to Equus…

Equus was designed to capitalise on their beautiful surroundings, hence you’ll notice the floor to ceiling windows, their outside dining deck and all the natural elements incorporated into the overall design.

And where did that green-star rating come from?  Well a geoexchange system situated in the dam heats and cools the space in an energy efficient manner.  They use this along with solar energy and a waste water treatment plant to recycle 93% of the estate’s water.  But things don’t stop there.  Their kitchen waste is also treated in a biodigester or their earthworm farm, the by-product of which is used on their vineyards.

They live by the philosophy “It’s not only what’s on your plate that matters” & I must say I really love that.  Here’s a few photos of the restaurant interior & exterior:

You may be asking “But why didn’t you sit outside?”  Well it was super windy that day, so we had to take cover inside.  But with such a beautiful indoor space, I really didn’t mind.

The menu, which I understand changes seasonally based on what’s freshly available, consists of 5 starter options, 5 mains options, and 5 desserts. But before you delve into these, their bread selection and chef’s choice of amuse-bouche will give you a good idea of the level of quality you’re in for:

On the day the amuse-bouche was a deconstructed bobotie… #Delicious

When it came to choosing our starters, mains & desserts, it was really tough for me to choose just one of each, so I bullied my dining partner, Dieter, into ordering everything that was second on my list so that I could taste everything my heart desired. 😉  (And you thought being my date would be an easy job)

For starters, I went for the “Cape Stream” (R95) – citrus cured trout, pine nut verjus butter, fennel panna cotta.  Then I chose the “Guinea in the vines” (R110) for Dieter – roast guinea breast, smoked butter confit, parfait macaron:

Then for mains I went for the “Wildplaas” (R175) – coriander cured venison, chakalaka, mieliepap.  And then my other choise, I mean Dieter’s choice, was “Karoo” (R190) – rooibos smoked lamb, soutribbetjie, curried sweetbreads:

Finally for dessert, I had the “Walk in the woods” (R85) – num-num marshmallow, chocolate textures, pear gluhwein sorbet.  And I actually did let Dieter choose his own dessert… He went for the “Cup of tea” (R75) – rooibos melktert, geranium ice-cream, popcorn melkkos:

The verdict?  It’s actually hard for me to pick standouts, because everything was exquisite.  I also felt that the pricing is very reasonable, particularly when you compare their pricing to fine dining restaurants back here in Cape Town. Therefore my feeling is that you’ll leave here on a total foodie high.

As far as the wines go – we paired our dishes with their 2014 Cremello as well as their 2009 Warlord.  Not only are these two beautiful wines, but I also fell completely in love with their label design.  It took me back to my childhood when I was completely obsessed with My Little Ponies & Black Beauty.  Let me show you what I mean:

Love, love, love…

But on the day their sommelier was also walking around doing wine tastings at your table, so by the end of our meal our table actually looked like this:

That’s not all mine… I promise… OK OK it is…

I do, however, recommend that you also visit their wine tasting room downstairs if you’re looking to make a purchase.  I think the boys will agree with me on this one – the tasting room kinda feels like the ultimate man cave, large screen TV and all:

Their wines – I also really loved their 2010 Rogue Horse which is being replaced, so you soon won’t be able to purchase it anymore. That’s why I decided to take a bottle home with me for safe keeping…

And while you’re at it, pop in at their gorgeous art gallery too.  You can use the time to give yourselves a little break between mains & dessert (that’s what we did).

Cavalli is truly the complete experience.  From the setting, the food, and the wine, to their green ideologies and their impeccable service, you really can’t ask for anything more.   It’s for all of these reasons that Equus (and the Cavalli estate) scores a top score of  kiss5 on the  Miss K Kiss-o-Meter scale.

If you’ve been looking for an extra special restaurant to try, I highly recommend that you give them a shout.

For restaurant bookings, you can contact them on:

  • 021 855 3218 (choose option 1)
  • Or

I’m hoping that I can make my way back there soon again, particularly as the summer months come rolling in.  That deck on a non-windy day, can you even imagine?? #PureBliss


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