Brian Berkman: Dornier's New Chef

The view of the mountains from Dornier wine estate on the Blaauwklippen, Stellenbosch road is achingly beautiful and I’m pleased to say the food matches perfectly. I have always enjoyed what I’ve eaten at Dornier’s Bodega restaurant but after feasting with new chef Naas Pienaar (whom I stupidly called Morne throughout the meal) the restaurant could be in line for culinary awards. His emphasis is on sourcing farm-fresh ingredients and treating them respectfully with slow cooking that plays pied-piper with flavours drawing them out from the flesh’s deepest recesses. The lamb shoulder, for example is cooked for many hours in a wood-fed oven that it offers up its own scents on a garlic magic carpet. The accompanying carrots and potatoes look and taste beautiful, still glistening from being cooked in duck fat. Madagascan pepper steak is a winner while catch of the day is dressed with vanilla and lime butter reduction. Chef Naas, it seems, has affairs with ingredients. When we dined he’d added fresh porcini to many dishes. Unlike some restaurants where they work the same few ingredients into as many dishes as possible, here, buoyed by his culinary abundance, it reads as generous rather than money saving. He has an impressive CV with Londolozi and three of Cape Town’s five star hotel kitchen’s listed. The proof as always is in the eating and at Bodega you can do so with pleasure and confidence. Be sure to book first. I noticed at least five groups being turned away who arrived without reservations. Bodega at Dornier. 021-880-0557