Defined as one of the most exciting dining destinations of the South African Western Cape Winelands, Makaron was on my list for some time. Even more so after the restaurant launched its new small plates tasting menu last year. Created by Head chef Lucas Carstens, the new menu immediately received the highest accolades, making me really looking forward to try it myself.
The restaurant is located at Majeka House, tucked away in a quite residential neighbourhood of Stellenbosch. This beautiful small luxury hotel won the Conde Nast Best Design Hotel in Africa and the Middle East 2017 award. In fact, it features a number of exquisite design and art installations throughout the whole property with an extensive attention to design and detail.
The stylish Makaron restaurant with its quirky yet laid-back elegance perfectly complements the hotels overall mood whilst boasting a very comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
The main idea behind the small plates menu – according to head chef Lukas Carstens – is to give its guests the highest flexibility choosing and sampling different dishes.
You can compile your menu from four to six small plates, choosing from 18 different dishes, with the menu changing seasonally.
And whilst the menu is officially divided into four main sections – suggested start, followed up by, the serious choice and to finish – this is by no means meant to be followed. Go and pick whatever you want, in the order you want it, is the restaurants credo.
Be prepared for a hard choice though. Everything on the menu looks mouth-watering and you will most likely want to have a bite of it all.
I very much like the subtle tweaks to traditional flavour combinations and the mixture of internationally inspired cuisine (slightly leaning towards Asian flavours) and the decidedly South African influence throughout.
The menu also offers a good balance of vegetarian, fish and meat choices.
The evening kicked off with a complimentary starter: A garden salad from Majeka’s own vegetable garden. The crisp, fresh leaves were topped with homemade rooibos vinegar and accompanied by smoked snoek doughnut and trout roe and a selection of fresh bread and melted herb butter, which was an interesting variation to plain butter or olive oil.
The first course was a zucchini risotto that was served with cured egg yolk shavings, raw mushroom and truffle. It was all a risotto should be: smooth, rich and creamy and it was perhaps my favourite dish of the evening although all were excellent and well presented.
Next came a roasted langoustine served with celery mayo, grilled cucumber and a glaze of reduced langoustine head. It was cooked to the point and the celery and cucumber perfectly supported the slight sweetness of the langoustine.
From the serious choice section we than had seared sea bass with leeks, burnt butter, ginger, black garlic and aubergine. Again, the sea bass was cooked perfectly, leaving the delicate meat just in the right juicy condition.
The next course was duck with barbequed beets, Chinese cabbage and carrots. The texture and flavour of the duck was absolutely perfect and I liked the slight hint of Asian flavours in the dish.
We finished our evening with a desert combination of cherries and chocolate an another one of pear, parsnip, coffee and dark chocolate. Both had a very smooth texture and brilliantly brought out the different flavour combinations.
I really could not recommend the small plates dinner at Makaron enough. It was a perfect evening and one that I would love to repeat anytime soon.
Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House is located at 26-32 Houtkapper Street, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch, 7600 Western Cape
Tel: +27 21 880 1549
Plase note: This is not a sponsored post and we paid for our visit at Makaron restaurant ourselves.