Second lunch in as many days at Bistro Bizerca and an observation on how dishes go viral. We started with yellow tail tartare seared with Van Ryn 12 year old brandy and then moved on to ostrich tartare with Van Ryn 15 year old followed by fillet Americain with Van Ryn 20 year old and rounded off with fallow deer with 20 YO again, shown below. My least favourite was the beef as the Van Ryn seemed to amplify the Tabasco while the smoothness of the deer with a Gallic twist of mayonnaise was well complimented by the velvety 20 YO.
Seated in the courtyard by the entrance (or the foz with HQ as a passing Portuguese navigator might dub it) it was amazing how many orders of tartare emerged from the kitchen for other lunchers, encouraged by our example. Lesson two was how brandy as an ingredient “cures” the raw meat and how the spirit lifts the flavours of the other ingredients and compliments the texture of the whole dish. With brandies like Van Ryn and Oude Molen trousering trophies last year for best brandy in the world at international tourneys, how long before a definitive SA tartare emerges? Heck, we have enough world beating ingredients like peppadews and Cape gooseberries to make a unique dish to rival the best from Bruxelles.
But would the punters buy it? Our neighbour table was drinking Veuve Clicquot Chamapagne. Too stylish to be WOSA apparatchiks, we hoped they were local as what a pity for tourists to miss out on the chance to drink MCC. Perhaps they developed a taste for Veuve at the ANC’s recent Mangaung makiti where Veuve at R800 a bottle displaced Moet as gravy train house bubbly.
The real reason for Mangaung has finally emerged – launch pad for Johnnie Walker’s new blingful blend, Platinum. A product so prized my promised sample has yet to materialize. And there I was thinking Cyril and the comrades were drinking Platinum in solidarity with the miners they sorted out last year. That Brandhouse paid a rumoured R850K to launch at Mangaung was a tasty cherry on the top.
Of course I made my name kak at the outset by greeting Cape Point supremo Sybrand van der Spuy. I only managed to shake his index finger as he had his hands full, drinking diet Coke without any brandy at all. But I completely ignored his companion, Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkywyk. Perhaps it was because he was wearing long pants.