{eat} Rediscovering the art of eating: Foxcroft’s lunch tasting menu

A joyous afternoon spent under the dappled shade of the plane trees that frame the home of Foxcroft Restaurant in Constantia left me with a few too little adjectives. I finally found a place where food comes first, and where I could devote all my attention to the simple pleasure of eating.

Introduction

We all have our bucket lists and to-do daydreams. Foxcroft Restaurant has been at the top of mine since they opened in the leafy valley of Constantia a few years ago.  Always fascinated by the pretty things, colours and textures fine dining presents one with, I somehow instinctively knew this one was going to be different.

I was childishly excited when an invite to review Foxcroft’s Spring lunch menu and standard tasting menu finally crossed my desk. Summer was just about peeking its head around the corner, and my mom has been visiting me. I couldn’t think of a better time or place to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Background

“At Foxcroft, we aim to cook with the same intensity and thoughtfulness as fine dining but in a more casual and approachable format. As a cook, deliciousness must come first and anything not actively contributing to that must be removed.

Working together with the best local farmers and the finest international suppliers, every ingredient is selected for seasonality, quality and flavour before entering the kitchen at Foxcroft. With a commitment to quality and flavour, our team of chefs believe in treating simple ingredients with the same care, attention and respect as those of rarity.” – Glen Foxcroft Williams, Chef Proprietor (https://www.foxcroft.co.za/about-us)

The venue

We arrived on a leisurely Sunday afternoon, early in November. The little shopping village was pleasantly busy with diners trying to make the most of the first summer sunshine of the season. I was secretly hoping to dine al-fresco, as it was lush and green under the plane trees, without a breath of wind. We were greeted and received by Dane, who seated us at a gorgeous little table outside on the patio, as if he could read my hedonistic little thoughts. Taking cues from nature, the tables and table décor were layered in different hues and types of rustic wood, with sparkly glasses on parade that caught the sun in crystal shimmers.

Amelia attended to us that afternoon, and we couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to Foxcroft. Super attentive, knowledgeable and ridiculously personable, she made us feel comfortable, at home and immediately at ease.

After a glass of bubbles and an array of delightful snacks from the kitchen, it was time to sit back and let the food do all the talking. I couldn’t wait to get to know Foxcroft better through its plates.

Spring lunch menu

For the full spring lunch menu, click here.

My mom chose to try out Foxcroft’s spring lunch menu, whilst The Tall Hedonist and I opted for their standard lunch tasting menu. With just about 10 days left over to indulge in their Spring lunch menu special, I will include some of the highlights for you to peek at. For the rest of the review, I’ll focus on the all-but-standard tasting menu.

The first course of carrot hummus stood out in all the right ways. Also available as an option on the standard tasting menu, this dish is a delectable start to a dining experience that promises to focus all your attention on the almost-holy act of eating, tasting, and enjoying the fruits of Foxcroft’s labours.

Served with roasted feta, shaved carrot, Baharat and lavash, it’s unassuming and humble in name, but bold and surprising in taste. We loved the earthy wholesomeness of this dish and cleaned our plates in sheer satisfaction.


Another option available on both menus is the sailfish. Delicate rounds of perfectly seared sailfish, served with salsa macha, whipped avocado, jalapeno and tostada, I simply couldn’t get enough. Beautifully plated in their signature earthy palette of crockery, this dish begged to be admired and enjoyed for the celebration of the sea it was. Between the creamy whipped avocado and the slight hum of the jalapeno, my taste-buds were in overdrive, only to be gently calmed by the bites of more-ish sailfish.

For mains, my mom had the sustainable line fish, and the yoghurt dessert to round off her meal. I’ll touch on the dessert showstopper towards the end of the blog. 

Lunch tasting menu

For the full lunch tasting menu, click here.

Instead of the West Coast mussels, Foxcroft kindly organised for us to rather have the beef shin, due to my shellfish allergy. This dish ended up being my biggest delight of the afternoon.

Served with indulgently creamy polenta and a burnt rosemary velouté, I delighted in every spoonful. Never have I experienced the intense, yet delicate flavour of the underused cut of beef shin in this way. Braised morsels of ridiculously tender beef compliment the rich, textured polenta, and the whole dish is brought together by the woody smokiness of the rosemary velouté. A stunning dish that got three big thumbs-up from our table.

Foxcroft’s Karoo lamb pays homage to home-grown, quality South African produce. Two interpretations of lamb served with spiced apricot, burnt onion, shimeji and buckwheat, it’s pure art. I can’t even begin to describe the smorgasbord of flavours, textures and general prettiness that this humble plate held. Without the frills or fancies, this was the essence of food right here. My heart was joyfully happy, and all my senses were feasting on this Sunday afternoon experience.

Dessert was a showstopper and the most perfect last hurrah before the curtain fell on our lunch. Simply called “Yoghurt,” it’s so much more. A fragrant summer basket of green apple, litchi, geranium and elderflower, served with Sauvignon Blanc pearls to complement the recommended wine pairing with one of my favourite wines, Strydom Wines’ “The Freshman” Sauvignon Blanc 2019. I’ll touch on the wine tasting in a bit.

But there was more. An encore brought out dainty plates of petit fours, served with strong, aromatic cups of coffee, as we soaked up the last of the afternoon sun, our shoulders wrapped warmly in what I know recognise as genuine Foxcroft hospitality.

Wine pairing

We didn’t do the full wine pairing with our lunch – we left it in Amelia’s very capable hands to recommend and pair our wines as she thought best. The best decision of my life – ever; maybe only second to my decision to accept Foxcroft’s invitation to lunch. Her wine pairing choices were impeccable, carefully thought out and considered for what would work best with each course. I strongly, highly and unequivocally recommend a wine pairing with the lunch tasting menu.

In conclusion

If Foxcroft taught me anything that Sunday afternoon, it’s that fine dining absolutely doesn’t need all the bells and whistles. It doesn’t have to sparkle, smoke or sizzle to be considered fine dining. Chef Glen’s dishes tell humble stories in bold and confident voices, because their foundations are built on quality, integrity, elegance, and above all, attention to detail.

A sophisticated affair without the starched linens. A showcase of craftsmanship that allows you to throw everything you thought you knew about food out the window and start again. Everything that distracts from the art and pleasure of eating has been removed, so that your Foxcroft experience is as authentic, as real and as delicious as possible.

Thank you to Chef Glen and his sterling Foxcroft team, not only for an absolute education in food, but also for allowing us to create such lasting memories under the shade of your plane trees.

Second photographer: The Tall Hedonist, aka Timothy P. Gibson

The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.

The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.

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