This time last year, most of us wanted to avoid the commercial folly of Valentines Day's so often associated with exorbitant prices for a romantic meal. A year later, we cannot wait to get out of the house to support our local restaurants. It helps that Oak Valley's elegant new restaurant called The Melting Pot, setamongst magnificentold oak trees, awaits you on a spacious wine estate. Nothing beats the idea of enjoying a leisurely lunch alongside a pool on a hot summer's day, and driving through the avenue of oaks certainly sets the scene.
With our country's borders being closed and everyone suffering substantial cabin-fever, you are in for a treat when you glance over The Melting Pot menu. Chef John van Zyl, previously Head Chef at Thali and Chef's Warehouse before starting up The Melting Pot Cafeteria in Cape Town, draws his inspiration from his global travels and food experiences.
The Yellowtail Sashimi with a fermented black bean dressing is the perfect dish to start the meal accompanied with a glass of the Oak Valley Fountain of Youth Sauvignon Blanc 2020. Yellowtail has a robust texture, and the persistence of the Sauvignon Blanc meets that density. Aromas of vivid lime and granadilla fruit complement the toasted coconut sprinkled over the fish, and the yogurt adds a creaminess which tames the brisk acidity. The addition of mint is always a winner when it comes to Sauvignon Blanc, completing the whole experience.
The Bún thịt nướng – Vietnamese pork skewers and rice noodle salad is another explosion of flavour, and the elegant Oak Valley Stone & Steel Riesling 2019 has all the aromatics to complement this expressive dish. This is a go-to combination for those seeking exciting taste sensations with just enough heat in the Nuac Cham sauce to make you reach for another glass of wine. Archetypal Riesling aromatics of litchi, stone fruit, and melon adds so much to this dish, with a hint of sweetness adding more length to the taste.
One of the most popular dishes, fried chicken with a miso soy emulsion, didn't get the same reaction when it arrived at the table. All eyes were on the Oak Valley Groenlandberg Chardonnay, and as you nose the aromas in your glass, you get lost in an exotic world of pineapple, cling peaches, and roasted pine nuts, hemmed with notes of bay leaf and citrus peel. Only when you put that first humble strip of chicken in your mouth, it unleashes this fuzzy feeling of utter deliciousness that only comfort food can bring.
A fragrant Lamb Rib Biryani arrived at the table, complete with a glass of the Sounds of Silence Pinot Noir 2019. There will undoubtedly be a silent moment at the table as guests tuck in to enjoy these together. Although they don't necessarily offer food and wine pairing, the biryani's medium spiciness accentuates the fruit in the wine, and its natural earthiness complements the aromatics of the dish.
So yes, if you wish to melt your lover's heart, the Melting Pot will score you serious points. They are open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday, 12h00-16h00. Bookings can be made through our website using Dineplan:
Other Oak Valley Activities
- For the not-so-hungry, wine tasting is a must to discover these cool-climate gems.
- The MTB trails are open, and riders can now book and pay for their permits online before: https://oakvalley.co.za/mtb/. Paul Cluver trails are closed, so all permits are strictly for Oak Valley trails only.
- The Discovery Café is open on Saturday & Sunday mornings, specifically aimed at mountain bikers. Balance Coffee Roastery sells freshly roasted coffee, light snacks, and cold drinks. Cyclists buy their permits and do their indemnities here.
- The Melting Pot offers garden picnics under the trees. Menu and bookings available on website: https://oakvalley.co.za/restaurant/These must be booked 24 hours in advance, and one picnic box serves two people.
Words and photos: Samarie Smith.