Food24 eats at... Makaron

Cathy Marston celebrates her wedding anniversary in style at Majeka House.

by: Cathy Marston | 18 Nov 2011
 
Makaron restauant

 “It’s MY turn!” “No, you got to go to La Colombe so it’s mine” “Yes, but you were at Terroir last week as well” – squabbles you can often hear reverberating around the Food24 offices on a Monday morning. It’s true – our lives do stink, and no more so than when we receive an offer of a fabulous dinner from an award-winning chef combined with a stayover in a larney guesthouse.

Luckily for me, it was my wedding anniversary, so last weekend saw me and husband staying at Majeka House in Stellenbosch and eating at Makaron restaurant.

The Place

Majeka House is far bigger than I expected, occupying 5 plots on a quiet residential estate in Paradyskloof. The restaurant, Makaron, has recently acquired a new chef – Tanja Kruger – who was the winner of the Chaine de Rotisseurs Young Chef of the Year in 2008 and is a member of the SA Culinary Olympic team.

The restaurant itself was quiet, but we didn’t feel in any way awkward – perhaps the wine and a delicious amuse-bouche of quail leg in the bar beforehand had something to do with that. The music is eclectic to say the least – over the weekend we ranged from Abba and Michael Buble to Boney M – but not intrusive.

My only complaint was that I kept sliding down on the smart, modern, clear plastic chair I had chosen – but I was too lazy to change it and anyway, then the food started coming. Lovely bespoke crockery by potter David Walters and excellent service by Phelisa completed the scene.

The Food

Tanja had only just taken over so, although she had tweaked many of the dishes and re-styled them all, the whole menu is likely to change over the coming months. They have a special of four courses of your choice from the a la carte menu for R325 (2 starters and 1 each of main and pud) but I doubt if anyone could manage it.

The portions are HUGE – seriously, I could have been full on just my starter of Duck Salad along with a portion of Triple-cooked chips! But of course I soldiered on to mains of Asian Pork Belly with Scallop, Pickled Radish, Cucumber Salad and Honey Jus whilst Kevin hoovered his way through Franschhoek Smoked Trout and Springbok Loin with Red Cabbage, Figs and Walnuts. Check out the gallery here for droolicious pics.

The food was excellently prepared – once or twice we added a little extra seasoning, but that’s a personal thing. We finished off – entirely gratuitously because we were so full – with a Tarte Tatin which was easily the biggest I’ve ever seen for one person and a Coffee Souffle. The Tarte came with almond paste under the apple slices which was unusual but tasty, and was so big, I could only manage less than a quarter which made me feel very guilty.

Tanja and ops manager Chrétien say that they have to cater for Stellenbosch appetites – well thank God I have a Cape Town one, as I could never afford to keep myself if I ate as much as that! Starters R55-R85, mains R95- R180, desserts R50-R55.

The Wine

If the food hasn’t already made you hungry to go to Makaron, then the wines will. Owner Lloyd has very strong feelings about wine mark-ups in restaurants and consequently, his list of interesting, well-chosen wines has some of the lowest mark-ups I’ve seen and certainly the absolute lowest in a fine dining restaurant. The Raats Cabernet Franc was R277 – 3 years ago we were charging R400 at The Nose!! Amazing prices and lots of good options by the glass as well, I was pleased to see.

Even more pleased was my husband with the range of craft beers available. Each dish was matched to both a wine by the glass and a craft beer, which was an unusual and interesting idea. I will definitely be trying that out next time!

Overall

This is a restaurant that deserves to do really well. It suffers – as do many hotel restaurants – from people thinking it’s not open to the public. Well it is, and the public should go along and give it a try. Lovely setting, excellent chef, unbelievably excellent wine prices – it’s a new addition to culinary capital Stellenbosch and is well worth a visit.

Cathy Marston and her husband were guests of Majeka House and Makaron restaurant.

 

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