My anxiety quickly faded. It's difficult not to relax with a glass of the farm's Sauvignon Blanc in hand, looking out over the dam dotted with ducks, its central fountain spouting jets of water. Cassia is all about fresh seasonal ingredients and an unfussy approach to food and the new winter warmer menu is also hearty and reassuring. Packed with comfort foods like Minestrone Soup with Herbed Croutons, Braised Osso Bucco served with Pearl Barley Risotto and the Good ol’ Cassia Fish and Chips served with Hand-cut Potato Wedges and Zingy Homemade Tartar Sauce, there a good balance of full-bodied and lighter dishes.
Arriving at Cassia, the restaurant on the award winning Ntida wine estate in Durbanville, I was a bit nervous. My hubby and I were meeting my sister and three year old niece for lunch and I was sporting a five month old with hearty lungs and heartier bowels on my hip. I'd always been determined that a child wouldn't keep me away from good food served in pretty places, but since the cherub had arrived, my resolve had been a bit more wobbly than steely.
I was soon lost in delightful indecision. To start with Lamb Sosaties with Pumpkin “Stampkoring”, Cumin Sauce and Pickle or Crispy Prawns with Sweet Potato Cake and Ginger, Lime Yoghurt? Or perhaps the Chorizo and Oven-dried Cherry Tomato Risotto, Pea Puree and Crispy Pancetta? After making sure the other starters were represented around the table (such a pity five month olds can't eat chorizo) I settled on the prawns, followed by a Slow-grilled Fillet of Beef served with Rosti Potatoes, Duxelle Ravioli and Vegetables. Some stealthy slight of hand meant I also sampled the Lamb Shank with Minted Cous Cous, Butter Bean and Chick Pea Ragout and the Asian Crispy Duck Salad.
Cassia is a popular wedding and function venue and while we lunched chairs were being set out for an evening wedding on the expansive deck. This delighted the kids in the restaurant who kept stealing away from their seats to watch the flowers arriving and the staff putting up fairy lights.
It was just as I put down my fork after a final stolen mouthful of lamb shank, that the cherub decided it was time to explore the ablution facilities. One of my initial fears had been realised, but as I carried the soiled one to the bathroom, my niece in tow for the grand show, I was calm. Cassia had worked its magic. I remained serene as I put the changing station through its paces and wrangled my niece who lost interest in nappy changing 101 and wanted to escape to explore the dam.
Pristine baby in hand, we followed the path around the dam to the little jetty after lunch. As I watched the ducks dive down, their rumps wriggling in the air, my wobbly cuisine adventurer resolve became a little steelier.
Cassia restaurant is situated in Nitida Wine Farm, Tygervalley Road (M13)
Durbanville. Open Mondays to Fridays for lunch and dinner, Saturdays for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sundays for breakfast and lunch and it is closed on Sunday evenings, but available for private functions. For bookings call 021 976 0640 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This blog post was written by Jacqui Latimer on behalf of Good Taste magazine.
Jacqui is currently a technical writer for a cloud computing company that's doing kickass stuff in the tech stratosphere. She has worked as a software developer, researcher and freelance lifestyle journalist. When not describing non-rain clouds, she eats and drinks semi-professionally (not from a table manners perspective) and sometimes writes about her wanderings. If she believed in reincarnation she'd swear she'd been a truffle hound in a previous life. Seeing as she doesn't, she takes every opportunity to snuffle out everything truffle in the here and now.