As Caré and I arrived in the heart of the Constantia Winelands late last Friday afternoon, we spotted Constantia Emporium, the contemporary building in which Patiala Brew & Q is located. The smell of barbeque and grill greeted us as we made it out of the car, and drew us in immediately. We were welcomed with an ice-cold Vienna Lager, characterised by its copper colour and malty aroma.
Entering the restaurant we spotted the bespoke on-site microbrewery to our left with energetic barmen pouring five different craft beers directly out of the tanks. This idea is driven by the Patiala’s Swedish business partners, Louis and Brigitte Hedberg, who the famous Patiala owners, Mr GP Singh and his wife Beena, met by chance on one of the Hedbergs’ South African holidays.
We couldn’t stop watching the experienced chefs preparing the traceable, ethically sourced, grass-fed and aged specialty cuts of meat and organic, seasonal, farm fresh produce on the open centre stage fire-pit. This concept is a first in South Africa and an experience that no true South African should miss.
“A tour through the tiny brewery shed some light on how exactly they get their beer so flavourful and extra crisp. Their beer is currently only available on-site, which means they cut out a lot of costs that would have normally been spent on distribution. Less costs means more budget to spend on only the best ingredients! They only make about 2 500 litres a month, ensuring that their beer is always fresh,” Caré notes.
After the brewer, Murry, took us on a tour through the small brewery we received our second beer for the night: a Lager-style Pilsner, a light, easy-drinking beer full of flavour and depth.
By this time the first dishes were ready to be served. The chefs certainly cooked to impress and served various dishes, custom made for the event. From tender, sharing brisket cuts to tapas-style tacos, chicken tikka with naan, and miso corn.
As a true South African, this was a restaurant experience which I would enjoy over and over again. I mean, is there a better combination than fresh beer and barbeque, or as we know it, braai?
Besides the tender sharing brisket drizzled with a lemon and mint sauce, the grilled corn on the cob served with miso butter took my breath away. Who knew an ingredient this simple could taste this intricate and delicious?
As a huge lover of Indian food, the chicken tikka with its perfectly selected spices and flavour, served with fresh naan, was another highlight and made me crave more.
The evening ended with a rich gluten-free chocolate torte served with pistachio crumb, chocolate soil, cinnamon cream and fresh berries, as well as a mouth-watering vegan vanilla sponge with strawberry and Indian Pale Ale coulis, served with toasted nuts and berries. To accompany these desserts we ordered the Indian Pale Ale which delivered an explosion of tropical fruit flavour.
Caré described the evening perfectly, saying: “If you have amazing food and you add some great beer, I’m already convinced that you have a recipe for success. Not only did Patiala Brew & Q exceed both of these, but the on-site microbrewery and centre-stage open wood fire Plancha was something I hadn’t experienced at any other restaurant before. And for that I applaud them. They succeeded in creating an all-in-one experience that ticks every box. We were treated to a tasting of all the beers, including their Vienna Lager, Pilsner, IPA and Pale Ale – the last being my absolute favourite! Unfortunately we missed the Witbier, but that was probably because we were too busy drooling over the lamb brisket they were preparing over in the kitchen.”