On Friday, lunch at Sofia’s at Morgenster on wine and olive estate Morgenster in Somerset West, the new restaurant named after famous Italian actress Sophia Loren, here her name spelt the Italian way. In the kitchen is Craig Cormack, until now business partner in a catering company with Bertus Basson, the chef at Overture restaurant on Stellenbosch property Hidden Valley and the food could be termed trattoria-style with a modern twist.
To start, an aubergine samoosa with hummus and tomato terrine paired with Morgenster Italian Collection Tosca 2008 (price per bottle from the tasting room: R199 a bottle). The wine, a blend of 58% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot, came across as quite rich and ripe, and went well enough with the earthy flavours of the food but could easily match a more hearty, meaty dish.
Main course was braised lamb loin and mash paired with the Morgenster 2006 (a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in almost equal proportions: R290 a bottle). On its own, the wine is opulent with dense fruit and smooth tannins (it rated 5 Stars in Platter’s 2010, 2½ Stars in the September issue of Wine magazine with the truth probably somewhere in between) but appeared less over-worked with this unpretentious, flavoursome dish.
Highlight of the meal was the dessert which was a strawberry mousse with seasonal berries, pink peppercorns and balsamico with Morgenster Italian Collection Caruso 2010, a Rosé made from Sangiovese. The spicy, savoury elements of the dessert intensified the fruit of the wine, which is in any event one of the country’s more serious-minded pinks (R78 a bottle).
The grub at Sofia’s is honest and and not overly complicated, the service still a little nervous and unpractised. It will be open for lunch Monday to Sunday, except for Tuesday and for dinner on Wednesday and Saturday. Two courses will cost R150 a head and three courses R210.