A celebration of Salt

Paul Cluver Jnr, Songvay Cluver, Paul Cluver Snr, and Leisl Cluver-Rust at the opening of the much-expanded SALT at Paul Cluver, last Wednesday at Paul Cluver wine estate.

Craig Cormack has made it his business to find out more about salt than pretty much anybody else you’re likely to meet.

Craig’s interest in salt is alchemic rather than scientific. Like the alchemists of yore, the primacy of Craig’s engagement with salt is transformational.

Salt is the lead of Craig’s alchemic focus, in that rather than the salt in each dish he crafts being an afterthought, it is the principal focus around which the other ingredients are conceptualised and integrated, and the magical transformation so sought after by the alchemists of old comes to pass, in the gilded excellence of absolute synergy.

Craig’s latest venture, SALT at Paul Cluver, has come of age with the reopening of the much-expanded restaurant at Paul Cluver wine estate in Elgin, under stewardship of resident chef, Michelle Spann.

Craig and business partner, Beau du Toit, have the ideal collaboration with the Cluver family, who hosted the opening event last Wednesday.

We were treated to an array of starters, in canapé form, while sipping a cool glass of wine on the spacious patio, followed by a sit-down lunch during which we sampled, in degustation-style, the main courses followed by the desserts.

Each mini-dish on the plate worked perfectly in terms of flavour combinations and textures, and taken as a whole, the sum of the mini-dishes presented worked equally well together, in that the whole was greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Absolute synergy in food is devilishly difficult to achieve, but the Craig/Beau/Michelle team has done so. SALT at Paul Cluver is open Tuesday to Sunday, 8.30am to 4,30pm for breakfast and lunch. Booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

The menu includes an array of breakfast dishes, while lunch is either two-courses at R295 or three courses at R370.

A paired Paul Cluver wine is available for most dishes, by the bottle or by the glass. There is also a kiddies menu with more simple fare on offer.

The expanded restaurant now boasts two dining areas, the smaller, which was the whole of the previous in-door section, is available for private dining, and much larger main dining area, which sports a magnificent table made by Paul Cluver Snr, who has turned his hand to carpentry.

The well-shaded patio area is the ideal al-fresco dining space, where parents can keep an eye on the little ones who can have the run of the lawn in front of the restaurant.

For more information or to book, contact 021 844 0012 or email salt@cluver.com