I have to admit that I was a little wary about eating in the Mosaic restaurant, or Restaurant Mosaic as it known, as some friends told me of an evening meal there after which they needed to stop by MacDonald’s on the way home, as they were still hungry. However, one of our finest wine producers La Motte was hosting a media lunch, so I had little to lose by going along. As it transpired, not even my appetite.
I used my TomTom navigator to get there, as the restaurant is located in the middle of nowhere, and then on a bit. It is an attractive building, with a brilliant sommelier, and I was hosted by La Motte CEO Hein Koegelenberg, who was full of fascinating anecdotes and info on the wine business. When he could get a word in. One of my fellow guests was clearly under the impression that she was hosting the event, constantly interrupted poor Hein, and did little to enhance my mood.
What of the food? What is the square root of very small? Go to Mosaic and you will find out. The first offering was trundled in – a trolley with four types of bread, accompanied by a selection of butters, which were on the table. But what small slices! If a modern-day Christ were seeking the best way to feed several thousand people from a few small loaves, without any flashy miracles, he could learn a lot from this restaurant.
The other courses were not quite as small, although it would have taken the cheese selections from every diner at the table to make up just one mouthful. The langoustine with bisque and risotto was enjoyable, although I found the bisque a bit bland and the risotto overcooked.
Before that, there was a pile of green stuff surrounded by a moat of different green stuff, which tasted OK. Two dishes from the La Motte guest chef were less enjoyable. The first was a few shavings of cured meat, which left an unpleasant taste in the mouth, and then there were a few bundles of poultry wrapped in different coverings, which really did nothing to fill or to please me.
The dessert was two types of chocolate, looked wonderful, but tasted a bit underwhelming.
As the service took so long, I was unable to stay for coffee, as the sun was threatening to fade and I needed to head home, but I am sure it was fine.
The wines were enjoyable, but not startling. I found the La Motte Sauvignon Blanc rather brash, but the sommelier suggested it might benefit from some cellaring. Maybe they will do so, and then invite me back for another taste? There were a couple of reds, one of which had lots of gold stickers on the bottle, and the other of which didn’t. The first was a the Hanneli R 2011. I found it rather brash, so my preference would have been for some more time in the cellar. The second was a multi-award winner – the Pierneef Syrah-Viognier 2013 – which I found it rather harsh and heavy. I am sure it will be spectacular in a few years time.
Bizarrely, we were also served a few French wines, presumably to prove that La Motte is up to world standards. For me, this backfired spectacularly, as my favourite red was a 2007 Côte-Rôtie from France. It might not have been as fine as the La Motte reds, but it was well aged, and was the only wine for which I requested a refill.
The final wine we were offered was a straw wine from La Motte, which was magical. A real delight. (And we had earlier been greeted with a glass or two of reasonable La Motte bubbly.)
Will I continue to drink and enjoy La Motte wines? Certainly.
Would I ever pay myself for a few nibbles at the Mosaic? Unlikely.
Final proof of the pretentiousness of the place came with the printed menu material. A reference was made to dinner, even though we were there for lunch. One of the poultry parcels was described as a petite tortellini, rather than tortellino. And there was a reference to mousse de mer – which means nothing, unless it a mousse made out of sea water. It wasn’t.
John Fraser was a guest of La Motte at Restaurant Mosaic.
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