The Kleine Zalze Restaurant recently opened its doors in the space previously home to Terroir restaurant. Over nearly 16 years of operation Terroir proved hugely successful, but the new tourism landscape and safety concerns and regulations prompted Kleine Zalze to rethink – and reboot – the farm’s food and wine offering.
“At the heart of our thinking is really to create and offer a holistic Kleine Zalze integrated food and wine experience for the summer,” explains Kobus Basson, Managing Director and Owner of Kleine Zalze. “And, of course, across both the new restaurant and wine tasting centre we put enormous effort into staff training to ensure strict compliance with all of the latest Covid-19 hygiene protocols.”
Chef Nic van Wyk has been brought in as culinary consultant, coming full circle. “In many ways Kleine Zalze is where everything started for me,” reminisces Van Wyk, who opened Terroir with chef Michael Broughton in 2004. “But over my years of cooking across the winelands I’ve always had a soft spot for Kleine Zalze, so I was thrilled when Kobus asked me to be involved and advise on this new chapter for the estate.”
“The food I like to cook is quite timeless,” says Van Wyk. “My approach has always been about being honest, authentic and generous in my cooking. That is what we want to offer at the Kleine Zalze Restaurant. Not necessarily fine dining but certainly top-quality delicious food.”
The menu at the Kleine Zalze Restaurant will change regularly and offers a compact selection of classically-influenced dishes, such as a bowl of West Coast mussels steamed in white wine, beef fillet with a classic béarnaise, or fresh line fish served with simple lemon butter sauce. “These are timeless dishes; their flavours never go out of fashion,” says Van Wyk.
Alongside these dishes, Nic has created a small selection of tapas plates, either for a light meal or to complement a wine tasting. “These tapas plates are a chance for the chefs to get a little more creative, a bit more playful in contrast to the straightforward plats du jour,” adds van Wyk.
The new culinary approach is also designed to ensure seamless integration of the food and wine experience on the estate. “I believe that the wines of Kleine Zalze need to become the focus again,” explains Van Wyk. “The food is there to help us linger longer, but on a wine estate it should be there primarily to support and shine a spotlight on the wines.”