REVIEW: World cup sausages and Bread & Wine

dsc_0013.jpg As a winter sunny Sunday lunch choice in Franschhoek, few venues beat Bread & Wine restaurant at Môreson winery. It rarely fails to tick the boxes as a restaurant serving flavoursome yet innovative country fare that is free of pretentions. Other pluses include views of orchards from outdoor tables, wine tasting next door on a Sunday, and chef Neil Jewell’s home-cured charcuterie and products at the Farm Grocer to tempt on your way out. dsc_0015.jpg

Our table of ten was a mix of local and visiting adults and children, and there were plenty of similar sized groups around us. Margherita pizzas were ordered for candidates under 12 while the rest focused on starters and mains.

A shared antipasto plate (R105) received plenty of satisfied smiles, farm-cured hams, mortadella, salami and lamb biltong attractively presented on a wooden stand stacked with crostini. Scotch egg segments, olives, yoghurt cheese balls and rocket salad made appropriate flavour friends, and even the Italians present felt the charcuterie was up to scratch. We picked at thin slices of Neil’s signature narrow pizza, a long thin-based version topped with mild Cape Malay-spiced lamb confit, baba ganoush, Alpine cheese, peppadews and fresh herbs (R55).

Being soccer fans, we felt obliged to support Neil’s World Cup of Sausages, a “battle” between eight or 10 sausages or sausage-inspired dishes representing some of the competing soccer nations. Dutch frikadellen sounded interesting, as did England’s pork and oyster terrine. Two shared portions of Greek turi sausage were served with rice-shaped orzo pasta and a tzatziki-inspired feta mould (R55). Sausage flavours seemed a touch too delicate perhaps, but the dish was a fun way to drum up fan fever all the same. dsc_0022.jpg

Main choices worth singling out include a hearty confit of pork belly with cassoulet and Provencal crumbs (R130). Less successful, seared tuna with creamy polenta (R130) was way overcooked. And a triumph, char-grilled octopus that looked as vibrant as it tasted with roast tomatoes on flavoursome risotto with chorizo (R125). A starter portion of potato and fontina cheese gnocchi (R55) with a runny centre hit the spot as a lighter vegetarian option, a smoked mushroom vinaigrette and crisped leek bits adding freshness and crunch to the dish.

We sipped Môreson Pink Brut Rose, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage, all with very moderate mark ups. The meal then tipped dangerously into red card territory when a waitress told us the chocolate fondant puddings were all sold out. Dessert alternatives were limited to poached rhubarb and custard, or plates of fudge and sweets. A dejected mood settled over the group.

But manageress Tina Jewell made a brilliant save - three portions of warm chocolate fondant (R50) were available after all! dsc_0028.jpg As with most dishes at Bread & Wine, it had a twist here and there. A salted caramel ice cream and caramel praline combined deliciously with the oozy-centred warm chocolate cake and coffee sauce drizzle. We left happy and full after enjoying the sunshine. The only criticism: there is a creative selection of starters to entice, but Bread & Wine could expand a bit on their main course and dessert options.

Spend: About R230 for three courses, excluding drinks. The fact that many starters can be shared reduces the group per head spend to around R200.

Value: Good. Flavour rating: Very good. Options for vegetarians.

BREAD & WINE, Happy Valley Road, Franschhoek. Tel 021 876 3692, Bread & Wine Open for lunch Mon to Sun.