A very long time ago I joined Makaron in Stellenbosch for dinner and we enjoyed a fine dining meal in the kitchen at the chef’s table with amazing food and incredible wine pairings. To date this meal stands out as one of the best I have ever had in Stellenbosch. Fast forward quite some time and there is a new chef in action and a completely different menu. I was anxious that a repeat visit would not live out to my memories. I am delighted to report back that the anxiety was for nothing and we were once again blown away with our dinner at Makaron.
Makaron is found in the five star Majeka House hotel in the heart of the Stellenbosch suburbs. We recently spent a night at their fabulous hotel and went for the full luxury experience by adding dinner with Makaron to the plan! The menu is made up of small plates– and you can order four, five or six plates from any section of the menu. In essence that means you can actually have five desserts, or one starter and four main courses! Seems kind of crazy but it really just works due to the small bites that each plate brings.
Compliments of the Chef
We decided to try the five plates tasting with the optional wine pairing. Whilst you are narrowing the menu down to your five plates compliments from the kitchen start arriving! I love when beautiful food starts arriving even before you have ordered!
First up was the prettiest salad of Majeka garden leaves with house made rooibos vinegar. From healthy we went straight to decadent with a smoked snoek doughnut and trout roe. These doughnuts were amazing- warm with a crispy shell and rich trout roe and mayonnaise to finish.
The next two dishes were a nod to a bread course in the form of ciabatta with melted herb butter and brioche served with boerenkaas and korrelkonfyt. The ciabatta with melted butter sounds like a non-event but it was actually one of the highlights of the meal. The fresh ciabatta with the warm fragrant herb butter was sensational and I ate much more than I should have!
Plates to start exploring the menu
I started with the rainbow beetroot with pickled leaves and goats milk mouse. Other dishes for round one included the ceviche with radish, red onion, saffron and lime and the lamb sweet breads with coriander, lamb bacon and salted chili. The ceviche was the winning dish of this round tucked away under radish petals. The flavours were fresh and bright and zesty. The lamb sweet breads would never have been my first order but they were rich and delicious and I loved the lamb bacon!
Next up was my beautiful Langoustine mi-cuit with sea butter, green curry juice and fermented cucumber. The presentation alone was wonderful with a bright green curry juice poured over the langoustine and fermented cucumber curls. The flavours were delicate and subtle and I really loved it.
Other dishes in this round included the roasted young carrots with house made ricotta, harissa, basil and hazelnuts and the trout with charred broccoli, pickled stems, wild garlic and crackling.
My top recommendation is to splurge and try the wine pairing with your small plates. The sommelier behind these pairings really knows what they are doing and every pairing was spot on. Some of the pairings complimented the dish and others challenged the flavours. The wines were top notch quality wines with favourites like the Stellenrust Chenin Blanc and Catherine Marshall Pinot Noir.
The serious plates start rolling out
If I see duck on the menu I have to order it – I actually cannot help myself! I tried the duck with barbeque beets, Chinese cabbage and carrots. This was a fantastic dish with perfectly cooked duck. Another favourite from this round was the seared sea bass with leeks, burnt butter, ginger, black garlic and aubergine. The sea bass was the most perfect piece of fish and worked well with the smokey flavours.
My last of the savoury dishes was the mushroom ravioli with parmesan and a house made malt vinegar emulsion. I ordered it as an after thought – I like mushrooms, sure I will try it. And thank goodness I did! Because this was actually my favourite dish of all 15 we tried!! Perfect little exotic mushrooms are cooked to perfect and tucked up in a clear ravioli. I don’t know the technicalities behind this dish but it was pure magic! The flavour! The texture! And the crispy Parmesan disk on top was just amazing!
How to end your night at Makaron in Stellenbosch
Dessert was our final course and I was sad to leave! Luckily the pairing is a generous glass of dessert wine which has you lingering a little longer. I loved my dessert of sour strawberries with wood sorrel, sweet juice and vanilla. It was definitely the safest choice on the menu but when it comes to dessert I don’t want anything to challenging! The strawberry based dessert was fruity, fresh and deliciously sweet. I was so happy with my final spoonfuls!
Jono tried the passion fruit, buchu, meringue, coconut and spekboom which was the most beautiful of the three desserts. What’s that expression about how real men order dessert with flowers ;).
The odd kid at the table was the guava, ponzu, sweet tomato and buffalo yoghurt dessert. This was just too weird for me with the salty ponzu and sweet guava. Out of all 15 dishes this was the only one which I didn’t love. Which is definitely a pretty good hit ratio! And a very cool dessert option for those wishing to challenge their palate/
We had an incredible dinner with Makaron and loved spending the weekend in Stellenbosch. If you’d like to read about what we got up to during the rest of the weekend just following the link over here!
- Location: 26-32 Houtkapper Street, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch
- Opening times: Dinner only from Monday to Sunday from 6:30pm til 9pm
- Contact details: 021 880 1549 or firstname.lastname@example.org