Flanked by the majestic Twelve Apostles mountain range and offering splendid views of the seemingly endless Atlantic Ocean, the 5-star 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa is well known for its exquisite hospitality and superb service. Their wide range of offers not only includes spa treatments, their own cinema, picnic among proteas and numerous other fun activities, but also two restaurants and the famous Leopard bar.
In charge of all of them is down-to-earth Executive Chef, Christo Pretorius, who loves to experiment with food and keeps up with the latest nutritional developments. Both, the relaxed Grill Café as well as the fine dining Azure Restaurant have always offered vegetarian options in addition to their seafood and meat dishes, but now he decided to add a vegan option to the array of available tasting menus and meals and we had the pleasure to join the Azure Restaurant for that feast!
The restaurant is located on the first floor of the 12 Apostles Hotel and as soon as you enter the elegantly decorated room overlooking the sea, you can’t help but look around in awe. The shell-themed design with blue highlights compliments the ocean beautifully.
We were led to a table near the warm fireplace that was suitably decorated with flowers and vegetables. Just like with everything at the Azure Restaurant, you could tell that someone put a lot of love and talent into that arrangement.
As a starter, we were served a Cauliflower Panna Cotta with Grapes and Hazelnuts that was accompanied by a glass of Oldenberg Chenin Blanc 2015. Gregory Mutambe, the Head Sommelier, had selected a suitable wine for every course and even took the time to explain to us how the wine complements the meal. Not all of the wines used for the vegan tasting menu pairing are vegan, but the majority of them are certified organic. All I can say is that Gregory knows what he is doing – especially the Corn and Chives Velouté with Puffed Corn and a Coconut and Corn Custard paired with the Hughes Family Nativo White 2015 was a match par excellence!
However, your taste buds are not the only senses that will get spoilt on your visit to the Azure Restaurant. The food was plated in such an artistic way that, at first, I was hesitant to dip my spoon into it the panna cotta. The chefs could easily impress even seasoned art connoisseurs. The courses that followed were equally mouth-watering and creative – Barbequed Beetroot with Burnt Orange and Crispy Rice Puffs, Roasted Shiitake with Mushroom Ketchup; and Roast Butternut Tofu with Pear Purée and Wilted Baby Spinach. Using only fresh ingredients in season, Christo really understands how to turn simple, every-day vegetables into a true feast. And even the meat eater at our table complimented the chef by saying that they did not miss the meat once.
Dessert was created by Gina Marziani, the Pastry Chef, who puts just as much love and talent into her creations. Have you ever heard of Banana Caviar? Me neither – until now. And they accompanied the Chocolate-filled Doughnut so deliciously. But everyone’s favourite was the Caramelised Pineapple Salad with Piña Colada Sorbet and Nuts.
I enjoy cooking and love to experiment with whatever I got at home, but the food creations at Azure Restaurant are on a whole new level and every bite is an experience, where flavours slowly unfold und mix and mingle in the most unexpected ways. This experience is rounded off by the elegant surroundings, excellent service (and I mean excellent!!! service) and the splendid sea view. The place has everything you’d expect from a 5-star restaurant, yet it doesn’t feel pompous or pretentious and you will feel comfortable (and spoilt), even you don’t frequent fine dining restaurants too often.
For those, who can’t live without their animal proteins, the restaurant offers a total of four different tasting menus including a meaty one and a seafood-inspired one, plus their seasonal a la carte menu, of course.
Make sure you book a table and come a bit earlier for sunset. You want to sit in the Leopard bar and enjoy a glass of wine or one of their creative cocktails while watching the glowing sun disappear behind the ocean, before you treat yourself to a sensuous feast or to put it in the words of Executive Chef, Christo:
“Engaging all the senses is what creates truly special memories that guests will cherish forever.”