Sustainable, seasonal produce & a deep respect for provenance inform the menu
Peter Tempelhoff is no stranger when it comes to charting a new course, pioneering a new concept, or simply making a courageous culinary statement. With award-winning venues signposting the course of his career, such as FYN and Greenhouse, the chef patron has earned a reputation for both authenticity and innovation. Managing to straddle that fine line between time-honoured techniques and creating something new, he’s made a name for himself as a maverick and a magic maker.
But, in a change of pace as he launches his next dining destination, and the latest chapter in his narrative, he comes back full circle to one of South Africa’s most historic estates and with that, a simpler approach.
The new concept, beyond, finds a home at Buitenverwachting wine farm – the name references Buitenverwachting’s literal English translation ‘beyond expectation’ – and comes with the dual challenge of offering something fresh, while acknowledging the estate’s storied past and centuries of history.
The answer to this challenge comes by way of simplicity – a light touch. Which necessitates absolutely uncompromising standards as far as ingredients go. This is one of many areas where Tempelhoff has always shone – a reverence for his produce and a desire to exalt them has been the golden thread that’s run through all of his establishments. ‘Ingredients are the soul of this restaurant,’ he notes. ‘If I could choose a quote to sum up the philosophy behind the food at beyond, it would be something Marco Pierre White said: “Mother nature is the artist, we are just cooks,” he says.
Consequently, sustainable and seasonal produce and a deep respect for provenance will inform the menu. Ingredient-centric, dishes will revolve around free-range extra-matured rare-breed cattle, site-specific Karoo lamb, heirloom organic vegetables, sustainable small fish, unique hard-to-source ingredients barely touched by human hands, the list goes on. A confidently simplistic approach will see Tempelhoff and his team craft these seasonally significant flavours into a memorable culinary experience. ‘We’re going back to the roots of the restaurant,’ he says. ‘And simultaneously redefining the meaning of “restaurant”- as a place of restauration.’ This will see food that comforts and nurtures served à la carte, to old-fashioned service standards.
He’s joined in this exciting new episode by core members of his stellar team of longstanding partners, Service and Beverage Director Jennifer Hugé and Culinary Director Ashley Moss. A new chapter calls for a celebration of fresh talent and Julia du Toit has been appointed as Head Chef at beyond. It’s a diverse and forward-thinking group of passionate people who have all come together organically and contributed to this concept coming to life.
Du Toit has worked with Tempelhoff in some capacity or another since she joined the Greenhouse team at Cellars-Hohenort in 2014, and most recently with both Moss and Tempelhoff at FYN, rising through the ranks over the years from demi chef de partie. Du Toit’s vision for this new venue includes a paring back – a stripping down of food to its essence. ‘We have become so used to trying to fuse flavours together that we have forgotten how to keep things simple. That’s what we want to bring back at beyond – simple, elegant food that’s still packed with flavour,’ she says.
This will take the form of a menu that acknowledges the past, served traditionally as large portions in individual courses rather than the more modern tasting-menu style, with the warm and personable but professional service that has become a Tempelhoff establishment trademark.
Moss echoes this desire and elaborates on the atmosphere they want to bring to life. And, contrary to common misconception about the Constantia winelands fine-dining scene, this will be an unpretentious space and menu prompted largely by the setting: ‘We wanted to create a casual dining experience using exceptional local ingredients with true provenance and were inspired by the beautiful Buitenverwachting vineyards in that our ingredients are simply sourced and harvested at their prime and showcase our signature commitment to traditional technique. Complex in design yet simple by nature,’ he says.
This idea of a fresh take on tradition comes through in the interiors too, echoing the simple elegance of the food. A bright and contemporary but refined space, conceived by Tristan du Plessis, (who was also behind the award-winning scheme for FYN), this setting is as timeless as the menu and echoes the light touch seen in the dishes.
Wine too, will tip its hat to history, and General Manager Jennifer Hugé, longtime colleague of Tempelhoff, cites the Constantia Valley as inspiration for the wine list. ‘My plan for beyond is as simple as the concept – fresh and elegant with a fantastic wine offering. I’m excited to be back in the Constantia Valley as this area is so close to my heart, and the wine from within the valley is definitely worth celebrating,’ she adds.
Cued by its setting – the oldest wine region in the country – beyond’s wine list is a reflection of excellence over the ages. Designed, like the restaurant itself, to celebrate the heritage of the estate, the wine list heroes ‘Lost and Forgotten’ icons, such as bottles of Chateau Libertas dating back to the 60s, hard-to-find vintages of Buitenverwachting’s own wines, plus many other gems not seen in generations. In similar style to the menu, however, it looks forward as well as back, with a selection of carefully curated wines by exciting young avant guard winemakers, the result of which is a complex, dynamic and multifaceted list of some of SA’s best wines, past and present.
The idea of celebrating the setting and paying homage to beautiful ingredients also comes through in charming, nostalgic details and the simple but universal luxury of champagne and oysters in the courtyard. A nod to old-fashioned romance, with a smart contemporary twist.
beyond serves lunch and dinner every day Tuesday to Saturday (save Sunday, which is a lunch sitting only).