On Thursday I was one of a number of writers invited to the launch of the new The Bakery @ Jordan, on a picture perfect winter’s day, allowing us to sit outside and enjoy the view over the farm dam and onto the Stellenbosch mountains.
The Bakery at Jordan Winery was previously owned by Chef George Jardine, but closed in May for a few days when the winery took over the running of it. We wrote at the time that the operating hours of the bakery were not suitable for the breakfast requirements of the guests which are accommodated in the reasonably new luxury suites on the wine estate.
Visually the Bakery does not look very different to before, with breads (sourdough R30, ciabatta in two sizes costing R10 and R25, seed loaf R35, rye R25, brioche R35, and baguette R20), displayed against a wall, and glass cases displaying a host of treats, including chocolate brownies (R35), caramel slices, carrot cake and citrus mascarpone cupcakes (R25), lemon and vanilla cheesecake, lemon tart (R30), fudge (R25), chocolate truffles (R15), and mushroom, and Camembert and tomato quiches (R35). A refrigerated display unit contains cold drinks, and Anker Brew Belgian Ale, which Jordan proudly sells, and pairs with one of its dishes, made by Boston Breweries for Den Anker. We were told that Den Anker was the first restaurant to carry the full range of Jordan wines by the glass when the restaurant opened in the Waterfront 21 years ago. To reciprocate, The Bakery @ Jordan is carrying the Anker Brew Belgian Ale. At the display unit one can see Jordan olives in jars, reflecting co-owner Kathy Jordan’s Greek roots, the olives coming from Jordan.
We were welcomed with a glass of Jordan Chameleon Rosé 2015, a blend of Shiraz and Merlot. Jordan is home to the Cape Dwarf Chameleon, and was chosen as the name to signify the ‘changing flavours of the component varieties of these fruit-driven blends‘ for the wine range. Clever is the use of the chameleon as the @ sign in the Bakery brand name.
The Rosé theme was taken through in colour with red proteas at the welcome table and on the long table at which we were seated. I was lucky to sit at one end of the table, with talented photographer and blogger Hein van Tonder, Easy Cooking writer Nina Timm, The Kate Tin blogger Katelyn Williams, Rooi Rose food writer Vickie de Beer, and Mark Wijsman of The Dine Guy, whom I had not met previously. Platters of sourdough, ciabatta and seed loaf breads, with chipotle butter (made with smoked jalapeños) and Kathy Jordan’s olive oil were brought to the table.
Jordan Sales Director Jacques Steyn showed me around inside the Bakery, and emphasised that the benefit for Jordan in taking over the Bakery is that they can now regulate the breakfast times. He showed me the space outside which they want to open up from the Bakery, creating a bar counter at which one can sit outside to enjoy the Bakery menu. He told me that they had five weeks in which to assemble the new Bakery team, and the biggest challenge was to find a new baker. He was delighted that Schoon de Companje gave him the name of Hartley, who had worked for them in the past, and who was available to work at Jordan. Jacques said that they would focus on baking excellent classic breads. Flammkuchen was mentioned, but we did not receive any further information about it.
We were introduced to Nicole Brink, the Bakery Manager, who had previously worked at Ernie Els and Guardian Peak wineries. Thea van der Merwe, the very switched-on Marketing executive at Jordan, shared Jacques’ background, impressive in its diversity of having trained as a chef, and having worked as a sommelier at Singita. Thea told me that she had to create new Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts for The Bakery @ Jordan.
We thought that we had been invited to a Breakfast with a 10h00 start, but stayed until about 12h30 for what became a five course Brunch, serving dishes on their launch menu. We were introduced to new Chef Honey Nieuwoudt, who trained under Chef George Jardine and worked in his restaurant. She also previously worked at Woolworths as a product developer and quality supervisor.
The first course was an unusual pressed winter vegetables one, with aged cheese gratin and tomato emulsion. A first was seeing ‘potato glass‘ chips, made from potato stock, potato starch, and slow-dried gel (R80). Impressive was that the media pack contained recipes of some of the dishes we enjoyed, and one of them was for this dish. Vegetables which were included were celeriac, butternut, carrots, and sweet potato. Place on a baking tray once sliced, in layers with thyme and garlic oil. Vegetable stock is poured over the bake, and baked at 160º C for an hour. Refrigerate overnight, and cut into slices the following day.
The second course of Anker Ale battered hake and tartar sauce, which was paired with Anker Ale, was brought to the table on wooden platters, from which we could help ourselves (R95). The batter was crispy and tasty, and the hake excellent. Recipe cards were offered for the batter and tartar sauce: the beer batter being a mix of cake flour, yeast, milk, Anker Ale, and soda water. A recipe for Tartar sauce was provided too: mayonnaise, gherkins, capers, shallots, lemon zest and juice, finely chopped parsley, and finely chopped chives.
The third course was a Prospector hamburger, with lettuce, Shiraz onions, streaky bacon, mature Boerenkaas, pickled gherkins, and a brioche and potato bun (R90). I left the bun to one side, having already enjoyed two courses, and knowing from the menu that two more were to come. The patty was thick and on the rare side, and had a pronounced taste. The Burger was served with triple-cooked chips, and was paired with Jordan Prospector Syrah 2014. The wine was named after the public support which Jordan Winery received in a campaign to save the Cape Winelands from an application to prospect and mine various minerals.
The fourth course was skipped by some writers, feeling the pressure of the generous menu. It was unusual in offering Paarl camembert (supplied by Madame Fromage, Thea informed when I asked her) on fig biscotti, which was paired with Jordan Mellifera 2014, a Noble Late Harvest sweet wine named after the Cape Honey Bee.
Last but not least was the dessert course, which was apricot and thyme cheesecake served with guava and Mellifera sorbet (made with 1000g guava purée, 200g castor sugar, and 200ml Mellifera). Our coffee orders were taken too, and my dry cappuccino was perfect.
I received copies of their menus. On Mondays to Fridays they serve cooked breakfasts until 10h30, costing R90, a choice of scrambled egg and smoked trout; and eggs, sausage, bacon, and baked beans. Avocado, halloumi cheese, potato and kale bake, baked beans, and poached egg cost R80. A continental breakfast option costs R75. On weekends the dishes are available on the Brunch menu too, but some carry a surcharge of R5. The lunch menu remains the same on weekdays and weekends. The prices are indicated above. Chalmar sirloin steak with triple cooked chips is also a lunch dish, at R150. Cheese (R180) and mezze (R220) platters can also be ordered to share.
We had an enjoyable morning, with beautiful weather, a lovely Brunch and wines (but too early for some of us to drink wine and beer), and it was lovely to connect with fellow writers, many of whom we had not seen for a while.
Disclosure: We received a chocolate tart with sunflower seeds (the recipe we received specified 500g dark chocolate, four eggs, 200ml milk, and 350 ml cream, baked in a blind pastry case at 180º C for about 35 minutes), and a packet of fudge, with our media pack.
The Bakery @ Jordan, Jordan Wines, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 881-3004. www.thebakery.co.za Twitter: @bakery_jordan @jordanwines Monday – Sunday, from 9h00, no lunch service on Monday and Tuesday until the end of August, but platters available.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein