Author: Graeme Lund
Hussar Grill in 6th Ave, Walmer, Port Elizabeth held their first food and wine pairing on Monday, 2 December.
I am a regular visitor to Hussar Grill and enjoy their food, particularly their steaks. The service is always very good and the setting, a mix of formal and informal dinning, makes for a pleasant meal.
I am wine lover and enthusiast too and so it was with anticipation that my partner and I arrived at Hussar Grill.
The wine was supplied by Mt Vernon which is located in the Klapmuts region, between Paarl and Stellenbosch. This is a family owned vineyard that has won numerous awards for their wine.
A pleasant welcome
On arrival we were served with the delicious Andiamo Bitter Orange Aperitivo with a slice of Grapefruit. This was perhaps the hottest day of summer to date and so this very refreshing spritz went down a treat.
My partner and I took a table outside and enjoyed our aperitif, each other’s company and the glorious weather until the event began.
Stephan Smit, one of the partners and the manager of Hussar Grill, hosted the evening and he opened with a short speech about his future plans for more evenings of this nature.
Stephan has been in the restaurant business for many years and is a natural restaurateur. He ensured that evening ran smoothly and that everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable time.
Chantal Schoonbee represented Mt Vernon and was also an excellent hostess. She welcomed each guest personally and ensured that they were comfortably seated.
Stephan got the show on the road and Chantal gave a presentation on each of the wines served and why they paired well with each plate.
There were a large group from a local wine club and Chantal had their rapt attention and answered their questions and responded to their comments adeptly.
The Food and Wine Pairing
Mt Vernon currently produces three wines, a Malbec, a Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Chantal said that she and Stephan spent some time experimenting until they had the pairing that best expressed the wine and the food.
The starter was grilled Kingklip served on a bed of crisp green beans. As one would expect, this was paired with the Chardonnay. The fish was lightly flavoured with herbs and the unique Kingklip flavour was allowed to shine through. The Chardonnay was full bodied and fruity and an excellent match.
The main course was Kudu Steak. Game meat usually has a powerful and wild taste but this steak had been well matured and less exotic. It was deliciously enhanced with a tangy berry coulis and salty fries.
To my mind the Cabernet Sauvignon with which the steak was paired, was magnificent. Of 2014 vintage, this is one of the better Cabernet Sauvignons that I have tasted. I enjoyed every mouthful of steak and every sip of wine.
Hussar Grill certainly knows how to prepare indulgent desserts and their Chocolate Fondant tops my list of favourites. This rich and darkly powerful dessert was cleverly paired with a Mt Vernon’s dry and earthy Malbec. The contrasting tastes enhanced each mouthful and brought out the best of both the food and wine.
I look forward to the next wine pairing. Thank you Stefan and Chantal for a well thought out pairing and a very enjoyable evening.