Tucked away at Delaire Graff’s Lodges and Spa, Indochine Restaurant specialises in Indo-Asian cuisine in an airy, double-volume space that leads outdoors onto a terrace with Stellenbosch views. Exquisite attention to detail and fine craftsmanship, evident throughout the mountaintop estate, sets the scene for a nine-course dinner menu – a journey of discovery – alive with fresh, fragrant flavours anchored by exceptional farm-to-fork provenance. Virgil Kahn, head chef of the intimately scaled 40-seater restaurant, has also introduced Asian grill dishes to the a la carte menu, inspired by the live-fire cooking of Cambodia, Thailand, India and Japan.
Kahn always enjoys researching authentic flavours on his travels and sourcing original recipes. He is respectful of staying true to different cuisines and cultures but understands that his customers desire modern, clean and fresh dishes. ‘I’m striving to produce lighter, fresher food more than ever, taking into consideration the growing number of millennials dining with us, who are not only health conscious but are often following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle,’ says Kahn. ‘
The nine-course tasting menu is a light, healthy experience – a journey of discovery through Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and beyond – and comprises about 30 little plates from start to finish. It’s not overwhelming, though, and guests don’t feel as if they’ve overindulged afterwards.’
The underlying principles in Kahn’s kitchen are organic, seasonal and homemade. Making the most of fresh, seasonal, ethically sourced and sustainable ingredients are key to the light, superbly balanced flavours and textures on the plate. Vegetables, salad leaves and herbs, including Thai basil and Vietnamese coriander, are grown especially for Indochine on the estate and picked daily from the bio-dynamically run gardens and greenhouse.In summer, the kitchen uses lots of peas and broad beans, as well as pea shoots.
Surplus chillies, lemons, limes and other fruits are pickled preserved, or fermented. Fermented shiitake mushrooms and chillies add umami clout to homemade sausages cooked on the grill. Many of the dishes include authentic curry pastes, all made in the kitchen using freshly ground and roasted spices and chillies grown on the Delaire Graff Estate.
Indochine’s menu also incorporates modern techniques and Cape Malay spicing. ‘It’s about using a subtle blend of spices well known in Cape Malay cooking, like cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. A touch of these spices provides a pop of sweet, sour and fragrantly spicy flavours. Add a homemade pickle, and a dish can take on a whole different dimension. We make curried noodles, and add to a laksa flavoured with salt-cured beef sirloin and spiced with a Cape Malay marsala.’ Kahn is inspired by design in nature, architecture and art, by his family, his Cape Malay heritage, the excellent restaurants and wineries that surround him, doing what he loves, and watching the chefs who have trained under him aspiring to leadership roles in some of the best kitchens in the world.
For further information please contact:
Tanja von Arnim – Delaire Graff Estate Marketing & PR Manager
T: +27 21 885 8160 | E: email@example.com