Cape Town Foodie Escapades: Norval Foundation Review

There is such a profound awareness to Nina Simone having said that it is “an artist’s duty to reflect the times.”

Today’s foodie escapade, is beholden to a huge and new South African cultural offering: The Norval Foundation.

Image courtesy of Norval Foundation

Considering the sum of its parts, The Norval Foundation can be summed up as a relatively new visual art gallery, with museum & environmental conservation sensibilities. They make art, which would have remained locked up from the world, accessible to locals, and their international visitors.

“We are dedicated to the research and exhibition of 20th- and 21st-century visual art from South Africa and beyond…We aim to create high-quality exhibitions and public programming to broaden our understanding of the visual arts.” – Norval Foundation

The building, described by their design company DHK, as: “a simple, sculptural longitudinal form, with two parallel off shutter concrete walls” is heralded to be one of the most cardinal spaces globally, for fine art. Herein lies one of the largest privately owned collections of South African contemporary art…and what a collection it is.

Gallery artwork includes those of pioneering and acclaimed artist, like: Sydney Khumalo, Serge Alain Nitegeka, Anton van Wouw, and Ezram Legae.

So grand is the architecture & landscape design, as well as the expansive nature of the interiors, that Norval plays host to a carefully curated number of local and international artist exhibits, across its double volume sculpture gallery, wetland sculpture park, and enclosed gallery spaces.

…But where does the restaurant fall in?

My Meal

Did you know: Becoming a member of the Norval Foundation (which relies, quite a bit, on donations to secure the foundation for future generations) gets you 10% off on all food at The Skotnes.

Two Course Winter Special: R185.00c per person (Starter & Main Course)

Three Course Winter Special: R215.00c per person

The name of Norval Foundation’s restaurant, is as carefully chosen as the contemporary SA art the gallery hosts. Welcome to: The Skotnes Restaurant, so named after the now celebrated artist & teacher Cecil Skotnes.

The chefs at Skotnes restaurant understand culinary artistry depends on human nature, and so they deliver a menu that synthesizes a unique dining journey: marrying the acerbic visual art one is faced with throughout the premises, to plated dining perfection. The strategy employed by the chefs, is designed to result in odes to sinful flavors and a transcendent cultural experience… after all: there is no divide between food, people and art.

While the Winter Special looked divine, with options ranging from fire-roasted pumpkin soup, to chicken curry, my well-informed server had a few suggestions on the regular menu which I just could not pass up.

We began with the Grilled Calamari a personal favorite – with their crispy tentacles, some radish and chakalaka for a bit of a kick, and creme fraishe for balance.

The excess oil may have had me scrunching up my nose a bit, but you’ve got to put everything together to experience the dish’s joy.

The other starter I had to try, was the Linefish Crudo with cucumber, tahini, lemon atchar and avocado.

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I am legitimately lying in bed, reminiscing on today's lunch at @theskotnes_at_norvalfoundation, with fondness. Have you ever had Linefish Crisp, with avocado, lemon atchar, cucumber & tahini? 🙄You should probably try this, for the sake of your food sensibilities. They deserve a treat. They deserve a taste | texture experience. · · · Full review coming soon, to the blog(link in bio), so stay tuned…probably for more of me gushing. 😒 · · · · · · · · · · · · #food #foodporn #yum #instafood #photography #instapic #yummy #amazing #instagood #photooftheday #sweet #dinner #lunch #breakfast #fresh #tasty #food #delish #delicious #eating #foodpic #foodpics #eat #hungry #foodgasm #hot #foods

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As far as starters go, this one is enjoyable and fulfilling – fortifying you for a walk through the galleries.

Pork Belly with turnip, mustard, soetwortels and carrot cake pangritata, was my main.

I actually took a moment to savor my good fortune, after taking the first bite. Put simply: this is a perfect lunch dish for anyone with a mouth – but even better for foodies!

I matched my tender pork belly with a side of fire-roasted sweet potato, feta, spring onion and coriander. The side dish only made this experience even better. It’s almost unbearable when you near the end of your meal, and realize there is no next bite.

Arguably in the top 3 of best prepared Free Range Beef Ribeye/Fillet in Cape Town, this tender main is made in such a way as to preserve the meats flavors.

This isn’t a surprise considering the Executive Chef is Chef Phil de Villiers, whose past exploits at Primal Eatery resulted in the eatery being named Eat Out’s 2017 Best Steakhouse.

The dish’s accompanying bone marrow, parsley pesto, amabuthu cheese and tomato braai broodjie, are team players to a great taste-fest, as they elevate the wholesomeness of the ribeye.

The side situation for the ribeye, was sautéed winter greens, Karoo crumble cheese and crispy onions. You may get veggie haters to do a double take with this one. It’s a really good bowl of greens & taste.

Skotnes Restaurants’ chefs basically did the damn thing with this meal!

Dessert

Dessert was a ball of happiness for me: Peppermint Caramel Tart, while my friend had the Lemon  Tart with cremora tart sorbet and raspberries.

Don’t like sweet things?

Still order these!

Yeah, they’re in that nebulous in-between when those who are frequented by the tooth fairy, and those with a hate-on for sweet delight, can both have their preferences met, with something just straight up good for the soul.

Verdict?

Skotnes food is at home, in this serene artscape.

While everything from the decor to the design of the building screams aloof sophistication – as galleries have a tendency to do – the fantastic food, impeccable and efficient service, curation of poignant historical artifacts, and contemporary preservation and marketing strategy’s, are a warm invite to immerse yourself in the world of art.

“The menu pays homage to classical South African cuisine, while updating its flavours and distilling its ingredients to their simplest possible presentation. All ingredients are sourced from local, small-batch suppliers, with the intention of supporting and uplifting local communities.” – Skotnes Restaurant

What about the health nuts & vegetarians?

You’re not an afterthought at Skotnes, my dear.

While the menus veer on the more meaty side of life, you’ll get a gourmet dining experience too – at a table, or even with Norval Foundation’s picnics.

Try the cheese platters, fire roasted Sweet potato Agnolotti, with sourbise, leeks and Karoo crumble…or better yet, try the Sweetcorn Risotto with basil and karoobossie cheese.

Substitutions and dietary restrictions need to be articulated in advance though folks, so ensure you’re vocal about your needs to the helpful servers.

What of the drinks & booze?

A carafe of wine comes with your Winter Special Meal, at just R100. I suggest heeding the recommendations of Skotnes’ sommelier, because the Petit Verdot we had, was fantastic with the food we ordered.

You also have the choice of craft beers, other renowned local wines, some kiddies drinks, and soft drinks for those in dire need of non-alcoholic beverages.

Skotnes Restaurant get’s an all-round 9/10

Skotnes Restaurant

1 Ou Kaapse Road, C/O Steenberg Road, Opposite US Embassy, Tokai, Cape Town, 7945, South Africa
Opening Hours
Wednesday to Monday (closed on Tuesdays)
Pastries & coffee: 10 am – 12 pm
Lunch: 12 pm – 3 pm
Platters & drinks: 3 pm – 5:30 pm
Dinner: 6 pm – 10:30 pm
Saturdays
Brunch: 8 am – 3 pm
Platters & drinks: 3 pm – 5:30 pm
Dinner: 6 pm – 10:30 pm
Sundays
Brunch: 8 am – 4 pm
Dinner: Closed
Tel: (+27) 87 654 5902

Email: info@norvalfoundation.org

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