Bread and Wine

Moreson Farm, Happy Valley Road, Franschhoek, 7690, South Africa

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Moreson is a family-run 32-acre wine estate in Franschoek with a restaurant called Bread and Wine attached. This is blessed with a beautiful courtyard setting looking out over the vineyard. It is owned by Susan Huxter, who also had the nearby and well-known Quartier Francais property until she sold the latter in 2015. The head chef of Bread and Wine is an Englishman, Neil Jewell, who has worked here since 1999 after training with Richard Corrigan and Stephen Bull. He makes his own charcuterie, served here and sold to other restaurants in the area.

The wines served are, naturally enough, those of the vineyard itself. These include the excellent and complex Chardonnay FYM 2012 at a modest ZAR 555 (£26) cellar door price, as well as several other wines at less than half this price.  

To start, a salad of asparagus and fennel with salsa verde and brioche croutons with capers was nice enough.  The shaved fennel was good, goats curd adding flavour, a slightly odd meringue (sweet flavour with salad?) rather unnecessary, the salsa a bit tentative but decent overall (12/20). This was considerably better than a deep-fried squid with a sweet potato curry, which suffered from very soggy batter, which I was unable to eat. They swapped this without demur for a very pleasant tagliatelle with fine beans, goats cheese and lemon oil. The pasta was properly cooked, the lemon a touch too dominant, but a perfectly respectable dish (12/20).

Risotto with celery and pine kernels came with Gorgonzola ice cream with pine nuts and a smeared beetroot with martini. The texture was quite creamy, the celery crunchy (12/20). On the side, what the menu described as sugar snaps were actually mange tout that were very well cooked, with finely diced onions and olives and what was supposed to be lemon oil turned out to be an excessive volume of oil that we ended up pouring onto a side plate. Once we had removed the miniature swimming pool of oil the vegetables were lightly cooked and al dente (12/20).   

My springbok loin was served very rare yet still had a slightly chewy consistency, though decent flavour. This came with braised celeriac, curried parsnip and apple relish. The meat needed more seasoning, and the accompaniments lacked flavour (11/20).

For dessert, vanilla panna cotta was surrounded by pieces of poached peach and foam of sparkling wine. The peaches were seasonal and had good flavour, the panna cotta having good texture, with plenty of vanilla flavour (13/20).  My "soufflé" was really a pancake stuffed with apple soufflé filling, which sounded lovely yet almost entirely lacked apple flavour. The pancake itself was overly crisp and too sweet (barely 11/20).

Coffee was excellent, from a local company called Terbodore. Petit fours comprised a cube of Bakewell tart, an Oreo, soft and chewy nougat and a pleasant caramel macaron. With the coffee came a pleasant flapjack biscuit.

Service was very good, the waitresses friendly and attentive. The bill came to ZAR 1,330 for two (£31 per head) including a bottle of their best wine. Overall Bread and Wine was a touch erratic but was redeemed by the charming service and the picturesque setting.

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