Eight – going beyond the seven deadly sins at Spier’s pioneering farm-to-table restaurant

Dawn Kennedy – Jan 17th, 07:07
“It’s perfection,” says my companion, glancing at the couple outside nuzzling intimately under the dappled shade of the oak trees.

I agree, then can’t help muse on the way our human quest for perfection has led us to excessive sterility, compelled us to package and parcel nature – when last did you see a lettuce at the supermarket that wasn’t packed in plastic? Nowadays, we buy probiotic pills to replace the micro-organisms scrubbed off our plastic-packaged veggies. What endears me to Eight, before I’ve even lifted the fork to my mouth, is that ethically farmed produce is respected as the starting point of good food. Eight is a pioneering farm-to-table restaurant that serves natural and organic produce either grown on its own biodynamic farm, or sourced from nearby farmers.

Nevertheless, while earth is honoured in the ingredients served at Eight, human ingenuity is celebrated in the décor. The ceiling, designed by artist Heath Nash – measuring 14×3.5m – is lined with over 10 000 individually crafted flowers made from recycled white plastic milk bottles. Embedded with low wattage light bulbs, it creates the futuristic ambience of a plastic-petalled UFO hovering overhead.

Friendly service, the background music to any good dining experience, comes with a wide smile at Eight. Obviously, with a farm-to-table restaurant, the menu varies accord to seasonality and waiters are eager to recount the daily specials. The first thing I want to try are unadulterated vegetables. Eight’s garden salad (R58) is the best salad that I’ve been served in a long time: a treasure trove of colour and flavour: plump sweetcorn kernels and peas like little earth balls nestled between crisp, dew-fresh lettuce leaves.

However, meat lovers with a healthy appetite don’t need to worry. The chicken pie (78) is hearty and a firm favourite, as are the delicious fishcakes (R69). The courgette soufflé (R76) that accompanied my salad was light, fluffy and simply divine.

Lorianne Heyns, chef at Eight, is known as the “diva of delicious”, an accolade she could earn for her juices and smoothies alone. Differing daily, inspiration and ingredients combine to create mouth-watering, freshly squeezed juices bursting with vitamins – think pineapple and ginger or fresh watermelon and cucumber. Although off-course, it would be a pity to come to Spier and not drink wine. Their 21 Gables Chenin-Blanc is my wine of choice this summer.

And just in case dining at Eight sounds too wholesome, and you want to revisit the seven deadly sins, rest assured that you could finish off with a flourish of flourless chocolate cake. Dripping with dark organic chocolate, this pudding proves that nutritious can be decadent and delicious.

If you would prefer to enjoy Eight’s local, natural and organic produce on the lawns of the Spier farm, then Eight-to-Go will lovingly pack the picnic basket of your dreams.
Choose from four picnics to be paired with Spier’s award-winning wine: gourmet (R165 per person), relaxed (R125pp), vegetarian (R150pp) and raw (R170pp), plus a special picnic for children (R70pp). The packaging is 100% biodegradable and compost-friendly. The picnics need to be booked in advance (021 809 1172) and are available for collection from Eight-to-Go, next door to Eight restaurant.

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