With two years trading under its belt, the Idiom Restaurant & Tasting Centre has fast become a must-visit destination for those seeking a vineyard setting with 180 degree panoramic views of both sea and mountain with spectacular cuisine and a wide range of top wines to match.
Situated near Sir Lowry’s Pass, Idiom is one of the southern-most vineyards in the Stellenbosch appellation with a positioning on the upper slopes of the Helderberg Basin. The elevated vantage point offers a unique coastal perspective of the full profile of the Cape Peninsula across False Bay whilst having the green, windswept vineyards and rugged, fynbos-covered mountainside as a backdrop to this unique Cape Winelands’ destination.
The restaurant space acts as a theatre from where the beautiful landscape can be observed in its different moods. The interior design is reserved in its almost Scandinavian simplicity, offering a calming, sheltered place to taste Idiom’s superb range of wines and enjoy a leisurely afternoon with friends and family. The dining experience continues to ensure that clients get a wonderful balance of flavours, with a visual presentation showcasing the impeccable technique and the young talent being developed in the kitchen.
“Our focus is on contemporary cuisine bringing to life a fusion of our family’s Italian heritage as well as modern flavours and textures of the¬ Cape. We have seventeen different grapes varieties from all over the world planted at Idiom, giving us plenty of scope for inspiration”, notes Roberto Bottega, who has headed up the project of developing the signature Idiom Tasting Centre. “Over the last two years, we have been working to establish the identity and desired direction of our Restaurant and Tasting Centre. Our main trading window is lunch, to take advantage of the views. Our primary goal is to create a top class food offering to match the scenery and complement and showcase our Idiom wines. We offer a ‘Contemporary Dining’ experience, which is a 2- and 3-course seasonal menu, with a recommended wine pairing for each dish. We want customers to have a memorable visit to Idiom.”
“Each Idiom wine has its own unique character and flavour profile and we actively try and express those characters in the culinary offering, often using the colour spectrum as a guide,” adds Bottega. “Our current team in the kitchen, under the leadership of Calum Anderson, has a good understanding of this concept. The cured trout starter paired with Idiom Viognier and the lamb ragu paccheri paired with Idiom Zinfandel are two of my current favourites on our chef’s new menu.”
Guests can also request older vintages from Idiom’s library, and enjoy wines at close to cellar door prices, and which is an added benefit compared to eating in other top end establishments.
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ALBERTO AND ROBERTO BOTTEGA
The Idiom project is run by the Bottega Family. Family patriarch Alberto was born in Italy and immigrated to the Cape in the 1950s. After a successful career upcountry in computer programming, banking and finance, he returned to Cape Town to retire to the Cape Winelands. In 1999 the first vines were planted from scratch on his Da Capo Vineyards farm and the first commercial vintage of Idiom was made in 2004.
Alberto’ son Roberto joined Idiom after 12 years of trading financial markets in London and Johannesburg. He has spearheaded the development of the Tasting Centre and manages global sales for Bottega Family Wines. He has developed a passion for Italian wines and is also the co-founder of a specialist wine import and distribution project called Vinotria, which he manages together with Pedro Estrada Belli. Vinotria’s portfolio includes wines from internationally acclaimed wineries such as Donnafugata in Sicily, Ornellaia in Tuscany, and Livio Felluga in Friuli, to name a few.
CALUM ANDERSON AND TEAM
Calum Anderson is an established head chef with 17 years’ experience of working in top-end restaurants, hotels and game lodges in South Africa, England and Australia. He has worked at leading hotels including The Cape Grace and Singita. During his career, he has worked under some extremely gifted chefs including Gareth Collins, Giles Thompson, Chris Galvin, Peter Gordan, Bruce Robertson, Charles Le Febvre and Reuben Riffel. As a chef, Anderson has cooked for celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, the British royal family, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, Sheikha Al Mayassa of Qatar, Brad Pitt, Andrea Bocelli, Michel Roux Snr, Fran Drescher and William Shatner.
Anderson’s food philosophy is to ensure the integrity of the elements is upheld, that dishes are full of flavour, interesting and unusual. “Visually, dishes should be natural and beautiful to the eye but not overly complicated as I believe this is my expression of how I see and feel about food.”
He is assisted at Idiom by talented sous chefs Donovan Christian and Bronwyn Solomon, who also heads up the pastry section.
EXPLORE ITALY AT IDIOM
ITALIAN INSPIRATION AT IDIOM
Besides the contemporary dining offering at Idiom, there are other simpler Italian-inspired options to enjoy. Antipasto platters, with a selection of freshly sliced Italian cold meats such as prosciutto and salami, as well as cheese boards, with Italian and local soft and hard cheeses, are popular choices. The regional Italian pizza menu combines light thin crust bases with carefully chosen toppings using ingredients that transmit the tastes of the different regions of Italy.
“The regional pizzas are the first step to creating a dedicated Italian food offering, which in time, may require its own separate space,” adds Bottega. “Regional Italian pastas are also being added to complement the pizzas. We are planning a rotating regional Italian degustation menu in order to showcase the fantastic regional wines we import with appropriate food. Italian wines are designed for food, and we hope to have this concept ready for the end of the year.”
“Idiom is one of the leading producers of Italian varietal wines in South Africa, so it makes perfect sense for us to expand and take ownership of the Italian wine space in the country,” continues Bottega. “Visitors can taste Idiom’s locally produced Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Primitivo (Zinfandel) wines at the winebar or in the restaurant. We supply a number of leading Italian restaurants with both our locally made Idiom and imported Vinotria portfolio of Italian wines. Having access to the imported wines as reference points has been very important. Firstly, we have learnt a tremendous amount about the wines of Italy, and it has allowed us to monitor the progress, quality and style of the Italian varietal wines we produce locally, and to better understand the potential of our Cape terroir,” adds Bottega.
BOOK AN ITALIAN WINE EXPERIENCE AT IDIOM
The Vinotria showroom at Idiom, which is used for tutored and comparative wine tastings, now boasts 250 wines from more than 40 benchmark Italian wineries, including many wines made from obscure, regional varieties. All the imported wines are available for sale by the bottle or by the case at Idiom.
“Guests wanting to learn more about Italian wine can book for interactive group tastings in the Vinotria room. We really enjoy sharing what we have learnt in Italy, so if you can assemble a group of 10 to 15 friends who want to find out a bit more about Italian grape varieties or wines, booking for a guided tasting is one of the best experiences you can have in the Winelands. Many guests have really benefitted from doing this tasting before going on a wine tour of Tuscany or Piedmont.” continues Bottega.
Enquiries for Italian tastings can be made by contacting Idiom.
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VENUE AT IDIOM
IDIOM: A DESTINATION FOR WORLD-CLASS EVENTS IN THE CAPE WINELANDS
Since opening in June 2016, Idiom has hosted some wonderful events. The venue was used to celebrate a number of special high-end weddings and birthday parties as well as corporate off-sites, conferences and year-end functions, and of course the annual Italian Festival at Idiom during harvest time.
The last year has seen the motoring world, in particular, take a shine to Idiom. In late January, Idiom became Audi Germany’s Cape headquarters for almost a month as the venue was used for the global launch of the German luxury carmaker’s A7 model. Motoring journalists from all over the world made their way to and from Idiom as they test drove the new vehicle and enjoyed the Idiom cuisine, this time without wine pairing! The restaurant space was transformed into a virtual Audi showroom and clubhouse with interactive displays and working models of the car’s chassis.
Idiom’s Italian connection resulted in launch events for Alfa Romeo’s new Giulia and Stelvio SUV while BMW SA also used Idiom as a lunch stop while testing their new electric and hybrid i8 model. The Mercedes Benz, Bentley and Alfa Romeo clubs have all enjoyed Sunday outings to Idiom but perhaps the most impressive visit of the lot was by the Ferrari club, celebrating their 50th anniversary. More than 100 Ferraris graced the parking lot at Idiom, one of the few times where the focus was squarely on what was happening outside the building!
HELICOPTER TO IDIOM
Idiom is now accessible by helicopter for those who want to take a spectacular trip to the Cape Winelands along the coast. Idiom is currently the VIP Winelands Lunch Choice of local operator Cape Town Helicopters. The 4-hour VIP aerial adventure and Winelands Culinary experience departs from the Waterfront and takes in parts of the Cape Peninsula before arriving at Idiom. We wish all our airborne customers a safe but exhilarating journey.
UPCOMING EVENTS AT IDIOM
24TH – 25TH NOVEMBER 2018
The first Prosecco Weekend at Idiom will take place on the 24th and 25th November 2018.
Prosecco brunch will be served both days from 10-12 in the restaurant, followed by a tutored tasting of different Proseccos presented by producers from the Veneto and Friuli regions, who will explain how prosecco is made and share stories about the amazing success it is enjoying worldwide. Try top expressions from the cru towns of Valdobbiadene and Asolo.
The 2-6 pm afternoon aperitivo session will feature a walk around tasting of all the proseccos on offer which will be served with a variety of specially made canapes. Producers include Bellenda, Giusti, Pasqua’s Romeo & Juliet range, Astoria, La Delizia and others.
Tickets for the different sessions are available directly from Idiom or via Webtickets. Tickets go on sale 26 September 2018.
8TH – 9TH DECEMBER 2018
STELLENBOSCH SCULPTURE WEEKEND AT IDIOM
The inaugural Stellenbosch Sculpture Weekend at Idiom will be hosted on the 8th and 9th December and will feature leading sculptors such as Anton Smit, Stanislaw Trzebinski and Adriaan Diedericks.
2ND – 3RD MARCH 2019
ITALIAN FESTIVAL AT IDIOM
The annual Italian Festival at Idiom, which attracted 3000 people in 2018, will take place on the 2nd and 3rd March 2019. Tickets will be made available through Webtickets from 1 Nov 2018.