Guardian Peak. 28 June 2006

Never one to linger on the highways and byways, the Hungry Man is getting a new vehicle to get to the plates and between glasses with more alacrity. He was therefore in a slightly melancholic mood over lunch at the Guardian Peak cellar, though the ludicrously picturesque views soon cured both of us of any ill feeling.

Plus a small pig had recently fallen into the orbit of his kitchen’s gravitational pull, and it was lined up for some experimental cooking, recipes collected. In addition, a new gas oven was in the offing, and a professional model – the conventional ones being worn out by his relentless demands, he told me.

Another group of two sat and tasted through the range of Guardian Peak wines, coming across the SMG, before known as Shiraz, Mourvedre, Grenache but now renamed as “Sub Machine Gun”. We also tasted this, along with pretty much all the other wines. We were enthralled by the scenery, as I mentioned, and such thralls are impossible to rush.

The concept here is that the kitchen has designed a dish to suit each of the wines. The plates are modern classics like loin of lamb with ratatouille and mushroom ravioli and the quality is reasonable, even though our selection veered between heavily seasoned for the mushroom ravioli to barely seasoned for the prawn and calamari with tomato, chermoula and cous cous. This last dish had succulent seafoods but that’s where its charms ended. Before I forget, the coffees were cold.

Service, however, was warm, and Ryan was happy to serve us wines by the glass that did not form a part of our expensive wine-and-plate combos. The wines by the glass were equally dear, but then again, there was Ernie Els memorabilia to be bought alongside the tasting counter and a glossy lifestyle-of-Ernie magazine for free.

The wines were good, soft and generous but with some distinct class, especially when it came to the Frontier 2004, a cab-shiraz-merlot blend – CSM: Controlled Stealth Missile? The bomb (if I may be clumsy) was the Merlot 2004 with ugly wooding and jangly fruit.

The Hungry Man has a SAA ticket to fly anywhere in the world, the result of being inconvenienced on a previous trip. We discussed going somewhere together on a wine and food exploration, but I made the mistake of asking if we could share the windfall of one free ticket.

Perhaps I will get a ride in his new car one day.