Cool Spaces: Beyond at Buitenverwachting

WORDS Steve Smith PHOTOS Bruce Tuck

We sampled Beyond, celebrated chef Peter Tempelhoff’s new restaurant at Buitenverwachting wine farm in Cape Town.

Sustainable, seasonal produce cooked simply is how Peter Tempelhoff describes the philosophy of his latest restaurant. That said, anyone who has experienced Peter’s sublime Japanese-fusion fare at FYN will take that with just the tiniest pinch of salt. Simpler, yes – but Beyond is more about a fresh take on tradition than “cooked simply”.

“We’re going back to the roots of the restaurant,” Peter says, “and simultaneously redefining the meaning of ‘restaurant’ as a place of restauration.” That, for the linguists, is the archaic form of “restoration” – a feeling you’re likely to experience just sitting in this restaurant with glass walls that overlook Buitenverwachting’s vineyards on the slopes of the Constantiaberg.

We arrived just as the sun was setting, the floor-to- ceiling glass casting a soft light over an interior designed by Tristan du Plessis. He was behind the interior at FYN that perfectly mirrored the innovative Japanese/African menu – the beautiful Japanese abacus-inspired ceiling installation being the standout. And once again, his treatment here is sympathetic to the subject matter.

Far from the sumptuous decadence of his award- winning Alice & Fifth in Sandton, Beyond sees Tristan applying a lighter touch. Raw umber, green and rich olive-upholstered seating works with patinaed brass detailing and light woods to create an ambience of simple elegance that changes to a cosier mood as twilight turns to night.

Turning our attention to an ingredient-centric menu that revolves around free-range, extra-matured rare-breed cattle, site-specific Karoo lamb, heirloom organic vegetables and sustainable small fish, we chose the truffle- filled burrata cheese (R147) and the Durban prawns (R140) as our two starters. Both were light and intensely flavourful; the burrata cheese was served with organic beets, charred peach and hazelnut crumble, while the prawns came on a bed of tandoori cauliflower steak, sultanas and almonds, with a coconut bisque.

The main course of ancient-grain risotto with wood- fired butternut, pumpkin oil, crispy sesame kale, romesco sauce and pickled Cape May honey (R175) lost me at kale – but my veggie-fan partner loved it. I went for the 60-day- aged Limousin beef (R250). The tender cut was perfectly cooked and enhanced by the accompanying brandy cream mushrooms, ponzu onions and a sourdough crouton jus.

“Ingredients are the soul of this restaurant,” says Peter. “If I could choose a quote to sum up the philosophy behind the food at Beyond, it would be something Marco Pierre White said: ‘Mother Nature is the true artist; we are just cooks.’”

I reckon you’re underselling yourself a little there, Pete.

Looking for more? Here are 14 tasting rooms in the Western Cape you should visit.