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Where do Executive Chef’s go when they want to settle down? One of them, Stephen Templeton, decided that Montagu was the town for him and his family to do just that. Montagu is about 2 hours out of Cape Town and it is quickly becoming a new favourite way to get to the Garden Route via Oudtshoorn. Templeton’s at Four Oaks is a brilliant restaurant in this lovely town.
When I review a restaurant, I look for spectacular food, a touch of interesting history, great service and beautiful surroundings. And Templeton’s delivers all of this in country-bucket loads.
Stephen Templeton has cooked in some pretty interesting places. The army, the Cape Sun, the QE2, the Polana Hotel in Mozambique, Drakensberg Sun, Harrods Food Court and Spier. He was the Executive Chef at Sun City and the Mount Nelson. When I asked Stephen Templeton for his reasons why he moved to Montagu, one of the reasons he gave was about Montagu becoming quite “sexy” – and another was about the quality of life.
And there is lots of that in Montagu. The days here have been slowed down. Stephen’s wife, Jo-Mandi, describes Montagu as being in a bubble. It is a very apt description. Life is easier, people are friendly and the quality is better. The building that is Templeton’s was built in 1855 – and the walls are 2 feet thick. Add beautiful art and wooden floors and a fireplace. In summer one could sit in the cool courtyard under century old trees.
The staff have been very carefully selected and trained by Stephen and Jo-Mandi. Their own personal meticulous attention to detail has definitely transferred to the staff. There are clean, crisp white, ironed table cloths on the table cloths. The cutlery is beautifully clean and polished. And the little touches like fresh flowers and candles in the window sill, show off Templeton’s quality and experience
There is no pretentious food on the menu. There are classic favourites with hints of creative genius and touches of true mastery in every dish. Take the lamb curry as an example. Slow cooked – and then add sambles, pappadums and a lime pickle that just astonished me pleasantly. The vanilla pod Crème Brule was perfect - and it finished the evening for me perfectly.
The wine collection is truly magnificent – and the variety of good choices here is mind blowing. I suggest trying the Templeton...... a beautiful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot / Shiraz / Pinotage and Petit Verdot - the best reds in the area chsosen by an Executive Chef.