The incredible bio-dynamic wine estate Avondale, just outside of Paarl, has opened its new restaurant Faber, headed up by top chef Eric Bulpitt. “I’ve always believed that we as chefs are craftsmen,” says Bulpitt, explaining the meaning behind FABER, the Latin word for artisan, or craftsman. “We work with our hands, using produce from the land. It’s the perfect way to capture who we are and what we do.”
Both Eric and winemaker Johnathan Grieve share a passion for sustainability and craftsmanship: “We have very similar belief systems in our respect for nature and a natural approach,” says Bulpitt. “We’ll be working hand in hand together in telling the story of Avondale through the food at FABER.”
Johnathon utilises ground-breaking biodynamic and organic farming practices to create Avondale’s exceptional range of wines, which pay tribute to the terroir. This ethos will be echoed in Faber’s menu, where Eric will take inspiration from the seasons, the land, and the finest local produce.
“Seasonality will form the foundation of the menu: what’s in season, what’s available in the field, what’s on the farm, what’s good right now,” explains Bulpitt, who says a reflection of that approach is found in a dish that may be the simplest on the menu.
“It’s a salad of seasonal herbs and vegetables, everything that we can harvest from the fields or pick from the vegetable garden. Whatever’s in season on the day, we’ll bring that onto the plate and tell the story of where it comes from. It’s a dish that sums up exactly what FABER stands for.”
The menu will feature ingredients found on the restaurant’s doorstep as Avondale’s organic and biodynamic food garden has already been extended to produce
fresh vegetables and herbs for the restaurant, while stone fruits and citrus from the farm’s orchards arrive with the changing seasons. Eggs are harvested daily from the eco-friendly egg-mobile housing Avondale’s free range chickens, and in time the farm will provide a steady march of broiler chickens and pasture-reared organic beef to the kitchen.
“We’ve always done a bit of foraging, collecting what we know is edible, and we’ll definitely keep doing that on Avondale,” says Bulpitt. “We have a brand-new state-of-the-art kitchen, so we’re upping our game at FABER, putting more skill and creativity into each and every dish.”
However, that creativity is always tempered with the chef’s long-held ethos of embracing simplicity on the plate. “Not simple food, but simplicity,” he explains. “There are creative nuances throughout the menu and on every plate, but without ever overcomplicating the dish. There’s wonderful simplicity in working with a handful of ingredients, but complexity in the technique in bringing them to the dish, and in the flavour combinations.”
On the menu you’ll find pasture-reared beef sirloin served with spring garlic; roasted whole; and garnished with bitter mustard, and line-caught yellowtail cured in kombu and plated with amasi and compressed apples infused with local lemon verbena.
FABER restaurant is situated on the scenic Avondale wine estate near Paarl in the Western Cape winelands. The restaurant is open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday from 12h00 – 15h00 and for dinner from Friday to Saturday from 19h00 – 21h00. Reservations recommended. For bookings and more information phone 021 202 1219 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit FABER on Facebook and follow faber_sa on Instagram.