Chef’s Table – Mount Nelson
In 1805 Madame Clicquot Ponsardin known as the “Grand Dame of Champagne” inherited her husband’s wine business. When widowed at the age of 27 she took on the responsibility of running the company with gusto! In those days it was quite unusual for a woman to take charge and secondly she was so young. She turned out to be a great business woman and under her ownership the brand and her company Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin flourished and still to this day it bears her name – Veuve Clicquot!
Once again in winter, I would like to share one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets – the Chef’s Table at the Mount Nelson. My personal experience was one of the best I have ever had. The invite was to dine with Renaud Butel from Paris, the BDM (business development manager) from Veuve Clicquot on his first visit to Cape Town and Paul Auriol – Marketing Manger Sub-Saharan Africa who is based in Johannesburg.
Our evening started in the Planet Bar with aperitifs. We were then given white aprons and a little tour through a maze of doors which finally led us into the back buzz of where it all takes place. In the heart and soul of the Nellie, the chef’s table is set among the hustle and bustle the very hub in the kitchen.
The nine course phenomenal meal superbly executed by top chef Rudi Liebenberg, existed of bite size portions, which simply seduced our taste buds. Throughout this incredible experience; I was surprised by the subtle, elegant flavours that flowed over my pallet.
We started with the Brut Yellow Label N/V which accompanied the oysters and prawn salad. The spice salmon trout, married well with the Veuve Clicqout Brut Rosé N/V and at one point, I closed my eyes while savouring the smoked tomato hibiscus and toasted almonds as it exploded in my mouth, I was in heaven. The Kingklip mushroom crust and pine-ring ragout was out of this world, followed by Guinea-fowl with winter vegetables and finally, lamb tongue and cheeks that went well with the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Brut 2002. The cherry on top was the naartjie tart with lemon frozen yoghurt, accompanied by Veuve Clicquot, La Grande Dame 1998. In a haven of foodie bliss, I had died and gone to heaven.
So mes ami at this point, I would like to raise my glass and pay homage to Madame Clicquot. Thank you for being the driving force behind this empire and leaving a dynasty of French champagne and culture for us to enjoy. Over the centuries Veuve has flowed throughout the world and will continue to do so. Just imagine for the past 140 years Veuve Clicquot has been in South Africa.
I do appreciate the art of fine dining and was thrilled to have experienced this marvelous dinner avec Madame Clicquot in our Mother City. Thank you!
76 Orange Street,Cape Town,
Tel: +27 21 483 1000
Fax: +27 21 483 1001