Food24 eats at Café Blanc de Noir at Brenaissance

Our wine editor pays a visit to Devon Valley's new wine estate, Brenaissance.

by: Cathy Marston
avo pizza

Just opened up in the Devon Valley, new winery Brenaissance is making a black and white splash with its range of wines, snazzy new restaurant and stud farm of gorgeous Boran cows. Owners Tom and Hayley Breytenbach left behind the world of finance in Johannesburg to revitalise a neglected ‘rubbish dump’ of a farm – an eyesore according to other locals!

But they recognised the massive potential behind the rubbish and have spent three years cleaning up, smartening up, building new facilities and making wine. The key to their plan is diversity, and if it was the wine bit which got them hooked on the Cape in the first place, it will be their plum trees, their elegant function facilities and their now-much-beloved cows which will probably end up paying the bills.

The Place

Very picturesque, with lawns, lots of white buildings and shady trees. The chapel and accommodation are to the right with the main building and function room linking them all together. To the left of the entrance is the café with possibly the smartest jungle gym I’ve ever seen, all in black and white and perfect for designer tots.

It’s in full view of the restaurant, but there is an open stream in between which will probably freak parents out a bit and means they can’t sit and eat whilst littler kids play. Still – that’s one of the penalties of of being a parent, right?! The café interior is really very pretty indeed with lots of pictures on the walls, a long open kitchen counter, comfy chairs and a shady stoep out front.

The food

Pizza – the trendy winery offering for 2013! And very good they are as well, and well priced. They’re thin, crispy, rectanglular and cut into squares, so great for sharing. Also served are a few nice fresh salads and a wrap or sarmie of the day. Lovely combos such as caramalised onions, olives and feta or chorizo, chicken and chilli are all very good value at R75 each.

Only let-down was the dessert with the brownies being a bit sweet and they were accompanied by ice cream that frankly was not good enough. I would be surprised if any part of it ever saw the inside of a cow’s udder.  All the other ingredients were fresh and of excellent quality so hopefully they can find another ice cream supplier, or make their own before my next visit!

The wine

Tom and Hayley have taken an interesting approach which is to outsource all winemaking to industry-acknowledged experts such as Nico Grobler from Eikendal and Jasper Raats of Longridge. There are two ranges, the everyday drinkers Lord Tom and Lady H, and the ‘Pack of Cards’ range featuring a Chardonnay, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and a Bordeaux blend.

I particularly enjoyed the Lord Tom, the Bordeaux blend and the Chardonnay and more than anything, I relished the zero mark-up on cellar-door prices in the restaurant - plus free delivery of wines anywhere in SA.

Perfect for

Families, ladies lunch, sunny Sundays, big groups who love to share.

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