To Cavalli or Not Cavalli

  • Good for: Fine Dining
  • Cost: R400-500/pp
  • Rating: 4/5

Last night was another gorgeous evening in the Winelands and we ended up dining at Equus, the restaurant at Cavalli Wine & Stud Farm. Turning off the busy R44 you enter a quiet world of indigenous plants framing the long and impressive driveway up to the restaurant. The building that greets you is very striking, with a beautiful living wall and magnificent views of the mountains. We decided to sit outside on the deck overlooking the dam and have a drink before taking our seats inside. Equus really has some amazing views and I fully intend to return for lunch to enjoy the view again.

I’m never sure how well known Equus is as I don’t often hear people mention it when talking about great or even good restaurants, but the restaurant was fairly busy, with many foreign accents to be heard, so it must be well known by a certain demographic. I couldn’t manage to look at the menus or prices online as the website doesn’t seem to work quite right at the moment, so we all looked forward to seeing the food and drinks on offer. When our waiter came over to take our drinks order, he seemed a bit confused when I ordered a Martini as it isn’t on the cocktail menu and that must have rattled him enough that he forgot to take the others’ drinks orders and rushed off, only taking the rest of the drinks order when he returned with my Martini. Despite this slightly odd start to the evening we were happy enough sitting outside for a while until it became cool enough that we decided we’d rather be inside. The drinks menu at Equus is very extensive and we tried some very nice wines – though rather too much of it as we waited for our food for a long time!
The menu is very enticing though maybe descriptions could be better, and I could easily have had any of the dishes as they all sounded great. We ended up ordering most of the options from the starters and mains between 4 of us so we could try as much as possible! As it was another dinner where I didn’t want to use the flash too much I don’t have many pictures, but the food was divine! Bread with a variety of interesting butters was shortly followed by an amuse bouche of steak tartare. Starters arrived quickly as well and we were all more than happy. Starters included scallops, guinea fowl, marron and compressed apple salad. Mains on the other hand took a very, very long time, with no explanation or reassurance given. When the mains arrived they were very good and worth the wait (though the young member of our party had gone to sleep by then!). I had the beef short rib, while the others had hake, venison and pork belly. Each dish was presented with care and attention and we really appreciated the detail that went into the dishes. Below are some pictures I managed to take though I don’t think they do the presentation justice.

The portions look deceptively small, but despite already being extremely full after a starter and a main each, we managed to squeeze in a couple of desserts between us. Again they were beautifully presented and tasted very good. Had we known petit fours would follow we may not have bothered with dessert as they were a good finish to the meal. By that point it was rather late already (and we’d had quite a lot of wine already!) so instead of having some dessert wine or an after dinner drink we merrily made our way back down the amazing driveway and back into the real world again. The restaurant at Cavalli shows some very accomplished and professional cooking; unfortunately not matched by the service. This is a fine dining restaurant and I would expect much better service in most respects; from explaining the menu and dishes as they arrive, to being more attentive to empty glasses, to just being on hand when you want to place your order or ask for anything. The Equus dining experience is very good already but with some minor tweaks could be really excellent and much better known.
Ambience – 5/5
Service – 2/5
Food – 4/5
Value – 3/5

2 thoughts on “To Cavalli or Not Cavalli

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s