I check out the much talked about Indochine at Delaire Graff for lunch

by Karisa

A couple of weeks ago my friend Werner, who had been raving about this restaurant for months on end, claiming it would be the best meal of my life, dragged me kicking & screaming (jokes – I was super excited) to Indochine, situated on the beautiful Delaire Graff Estate, for lunch.

I had obviously heard of Indochine before he started raving about it & it was already on my “must do” list.  So was interested to see whether it would live up to the hype.  At this year’s Eat Out Awards, Indochine was a top 30 finalist.  It didn’t make the top 20 or top 10, but still a very impressive achievement if you consider how many restaurants there are across SA.

From the moment you walk in, you know you’re in for something special.  This is because the restaurant’s interior is truly breathtaking.  Let me show you what I mean:

It was tempting to linger here, but because it was a beautiful summer’s day, we opted to sit outside on the deck:

Not too shabby either…

Something I can also highly recommend is a quick stroll in the garden to check out the estate’s incredible sculptures:

Now let’s talk food… While perusing the Asian-inspired menu, we really enjoyed nibbling on this intricate bread course:

I think it set the scene for the attention to detail that would carry through all the dishes…

Our waiter warned us that seeing as this is an Asian-inspired menu, we should expect most dishes to come with some spice.  This made me extremely happy to hear because I really love spicy food, especially Thai curries and the like.  He noted that pretty much all the dishes would come with some level of spice apart from the rib eye steak & noted that the spiciest dish on the menu was the Seafood Madras which he rated as a 7 out of 10 on the spiciness scale.  I immediate knew that I was going to order that.

It’s not a very big menu.  It’s broken down into appetizers, soups, grills, curries, sides & dessert – with approx. 4 items in each section.  Prices are on the high end with appetizers ranging from R205 to R225, grills & curries from R335 to R450 and desserts from R165 to R215.

I also found the wine list very pricey.   Chardonnay options for example jumped from the R400 range to R1500 plus.  We stuck to the lower range & ordered a bottle of their Banghoek Reserve Chardonnay.  There’s just no way I’m spending crazy amounts on wine on a wine farm where you’re supposed to be benefiting from cellar door prices.  (to be honest, I didn’t double check if these were in fact cellar door prices, so they could have been, but it really didn’t feel like it)

The wine was lovely though…

For starters I went for the Chili pickled tuna appetizer (R225) while Werner opted for the Gochujang pork appetizer (R215):

The Chili pickled tuna is served with watermelon, ginger salmon floss, Thai basil, coriander, caramelised onions & garlic, and roe.

The Gochujang pork is served with white kimchi, lacto-fermented apple & burned endive.

Both were beautiful dishes, with the pork I think winning slightly.  For mains I went for the Seafood Madras (R450) thanks to our waiter’s note that this was the spiciest dish on the menu, while Werner went for the Beef Rendang (R385):

Although the Seafood Madras really is a beautiful dish with the freshest seafood you could ask for (in the mix you have some prawns, a langoustine, some linefish, mussels, squid & clams) … my problem with this dish was that there was absolutely no spiciness at all. Like zero. After being told that this was the spiciest dish on the menu, this was very disappointing.

The Beef Rendang which was brisket with lemongrass, coconut & cinnamon curry, was also not spicy, but had slightly stronger flavours. I would actually rather other this dish next time.

For dessert, we decided to just share one dish between us.  We went for the Green Curry & Rice:

I mean seriously… how freakin’ beautiful is that presentation? The Green Curry & Rice description is as follows: white chocolate green curry pana cotta, puffed sago, chocolate soil, Asian pear, sticky coconut rice. Although the green curry flavour was almost not noticeable at all, the dish was really interesting & a great way to end off the meal.

In summary I’m going to say:  Gorgeous restaurant, faultless service, impressive attention to detail, with the only two niggly bits being the price point that’s a bit high (compared to some of my other favourite fine dining restaurants) and the fact that the dishes lacked that oomph that one would expect from Asian flavours.

I’m going to give Indochine on my Miss K Kiss-o-Meter scale.   I can see why they made it into the top 30, but I also understand why they didn’t quite make it into the top 10/20.  A lovely experience, just not quite a 5 out of 5.

That said, it’s of course still a must try if you haven’t already been.  The restaurant is open daily for lunch from 12:00 to 14:15 and dinner from 18:30 to 21:00.

For reservations, contact them on 021 885 8160 or guest.relations@delaire.co.za, or you can make use of their online booking enquiry form over here.


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