Sansibar at Asara

Whenever someone asks me, “Oh, have you been to…?” I usually cut them off halfway through their sentence with a “probably not”.

As much as we enjoy eating and travelling our way through the Cape, the sheer volume of wine estates and restaurants means there will always be a list of places as long as my arm that we haven’t been to.

This weekend, we were at least able to cross Asara off our list. We spent the night, in order to experience everything the estate has to offer – so this won’t be the last post you’ll see on them.

Part of our experience included lunch at Sansibar – the estate’s bistro-style restaurant and gin bar. And, while, yes – the food and views are fantastic, it’s the selection of gins that had us most in awe. You’re looking at a selection of over 250 gins, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, with spirits from Spain to Namibia, Scotland to New Zealand – and everywhere in between.

After spending some time ogling the bar, we let the barman decide what he’d like to send to our group of six, before heading to Sansibar’s deck area to take our seats for lunch. Overlooking the dam and vineyards, it’s a truly spectacular setting. We happened to choose to visit on a true scorcher of a summer’s day, and were soon grateful for the gentle  breeze coming off the water, and of course, the arrival of our gin cocktails.

My surprise cocktail took the form of a Cabernet Sauvignon-infused gin, with rosemary, cinnamon and orange zest, served with an Elderflower tonic, while Luke’s drink showcased flavours of rose and pink peppercorn. After a quick sip of each others, we were only too happy to swap. The rose was incredibly floral – which I loved – offset by the subtle spiciness of the pink peppercorn.

It was then on to lunch itself. Famed for its pizzas, it was what most of us ordered – with a rogue burger, prawn and avocado salad and aubergine melanzane feeding the rest of the table. I opted for the red onion, avocado, feta and olive pizza, while Luke went for the gorgonzola, Parma ham, caramelised onion and rocket pizza. Served on boards, the bases were delicious – the perfect balance between crisp and chewy – and toppings evenly distributed. Quickly abandoning the idea of eating them with a knife and fork, we dived in with our hands.

After (almost) everything was demolished, we couldn’t face the thought of dessert, sadly – but, the apple tart tatin and chocolate pot with homemade marshmallows both caught my eye. Next time.

There are people, I’ve heard, that don’t enjoy wine. If you happen to be friends with someone like this, then Asara should be on your “must visit” list this summer – a beautiful estate, with fantastic wine (more on that in a later post) and great food – as well as selection of gin and whisky that will make anyone weak at the knees.

Note: We enjoyed our meal as guests of Asara. All views and images are my own.

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