Oh Hoppy Day

Words: Skye Forrester

Beer lovers can now stand tall amongst the cheese and wine crowd – finally, a gourmet experience that’s totally focussed on beer puts your favourite brew at the top of the connoisseur list

South African Breweries teamed up with award-winning chef Chantel Dartnall of Restaurant Mosaic. We spent an afternoon of pure indulgence at this extraordinary restaurant, experiencing a gourmet meal of note.

It’s pure alchemy the way the selected beers and the food were integrated – of course, specialist or craft beers open up a world of different flavours, giving Chef Chantel a lot to work with.

We were treated to a talk about each beer that we would taste, and each brewer told us about the unique characteristics of their beer. What’s clear about brewers is that they’re seriously passionate about what they do and there’s a lot more that goes into making a beer than just a few hops.

HEAVEN ON A PLATE

We were all salivating at the imminent five-course meal, especially after reading the menu. You’ll be salivating too after you read what we were treated to; just the name of each dish is enough:BLQ_Jewels of the Sea_Luderitz oyster with citrus foam_Served with Castle Lite Lime

First, there was a trio of breads made with different grains that had been hand-milled. Green olive Pilsner rye loaf, a Crystal Malt sourdough and an English Ale fruit and nut loaf were on offer, with three types of butter – salted farm butter, Mosaic’s signature anchovy butter and caper berry butter. Then the Amuse Bouché, “Jewels of the Sea”, was a succulent oyster which beautifully combined the fresh taste of the ocean with the tanginess of Castle Lite Lime, served as a foam on the dish as well as the accompanying refreshment.

The “Dancing Veils” first course of lobster, radish and grapefruit were served with Peroni Nastro Azzurro. Then we were treated to “Fungi on the Forest Floor”, wild mushrooms and queen quail terrine with Iberico cured ham, which was served with Newland’s Spring Jacob’s Pale Ale, a hoppy style beer with notes of caramelised toffee.

BLQ_Cochon de Lait_ Beer-braised pork belly, apple_served with Newlands Spring Mountain WeissA quick palate-cleansing Flying Fish Sorbet was a simple yet delicious pause before we moved on to a Newland’s Spring Mountain Weiss beer-braised pork belly, served with apple. The unfiltered beer’s traditional clove character was mellowed by the dish, while at the same time elevating the tender meat, attractively plated and served with a Weiss beer reduction.

If that’s not enough, we were then served the “Golden Goose” confit with vanilla glazed goose breast and fried goose liver, served with No 3 Fransen Street Irish Red Ale.

The cheese course was nothing short of inspired, comprising a 36-month matured French Comté cheese, served with honeycomb and passionfruit and paired with the Newland’s Spring Passionate Blond.

No fine dining experience would be complete without a chocolate course, and Chef Chantel’s “Little Black Number” did not disappoint with a dark chocolate, salted caramel and vanilla pear course, served with the creamy nitrogenated Chocolate Castle Milk Stout, specially made available in draught for the event.

BLQ_Little Black Number_Dark chocolate, salted caramel, vanilla pear_Served with Castle Milk Stout Chocolate

While the final course was enjoyed and mulled over, the “Alchemist’s Infusion” was put on the table – a coffee with a difference, brewed with amber, crystal, and Munich malt.

Needless to say, we all left with a belly full of respect and appreciation for Chef Chantel’s brilliance and the beer that inspired it all.