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Embarc: A Surprising, Sensory Delight

Embarc Restaurant and Thamnus Wines

On a hot late summer’s day, the award-winning Embarc Restaurant’s stack doors were thrown open for the breeze to flow into the light and airy culinary gem on the corner of 4th and 13th Streets in Parkhurst. Truthfully, it’s become known for the unique gastronomic experiences it offers, with Chef Patron, Darren O’Donovan at the steer.

Thamnus Wines at Embarc

Having been invited to the official launch of a brand-new wine brand, called Thamnus Wines, we arrived early. There, welcoming us at the door, were two gentlemen – neatly dressed in light blue shirts and stone-coloured trousers. They  offered each of us a glass of bubbly. Yes, Embarc often hosts these kinds of daytime events and we could not wait to see what the menu would bring. This time, the menu was planned around Thamnus Wines’ expertly made Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Of course, the meal was prepared to complement the notes on the palate beautifully.

Thamnus Wines

Meandering Through the Menu

Lunch commenced with a delectable plated canape, including Mozzerella, Sundried Tomato, Parmigiano Reggiano and Apricot Gastrique. It was artfully placed on the plate and wonderfully paired with Thamnus Wines’ Chardonnay.

They served the starters family style, with guests dishing up Arancini with Tomato and Ginger Soup, Caramalized Yoghurt and Basil Oil; Seared Tuna with Harissa, Sesame, Radish, Green Olive and Asparagus; and Beef Tartar with Caper Berries, Pickled Onion, Aerated Mayo and Nacho Chips.

Emarc cuisine

A selection of mains followed, which we found terribly hard to choose between. In the end, we settled for the Parmigiano Reggiano Risotto – a dish that was elegantly elevated with onion, truffle and pine nut. Similarly impressive, the other options included Confit Duck Leg with Polenta, Dukkah, Roasted Garlic Mayo and Jus, or Deboned Chicken Thigh with Porcini Duxelle, King Oyster and Pastry Tuille.

Risotto at Embarc Restaurant

While Thamnus Wines’ winemaker, PJ Geyer – originally from the Free State – would recommend that you enjoy his Pinot Noir with a lamb chop, these mains were complemented just as well by the two vintages – 2021 and 2022 – on offer.

Finally, guests had a choice between two desserts. Embarc’s ‘Not Your Tannie’s Malva,’ which is served with chocolate, caramel, vanilla and orange is currently a firm favourite among locals and visitors alike. In fact, we’ve spotted it on their menu before. Hence, we opted for the Caramalized Onion, Salted Caramel Onion Custard and Blue Cheese dessert, which was a savoury surprise to the senses and a welcome contrast definitely ending the meal on a high note.

Dessert at Embarc

Submerge Your Senses

Embarc’s simple, yet elegant design allows for the senses to be submerged in what is served on your plate and in your glass. It’s a humble space with the power to transport your tastebuds with tactfully planned dishes everyone wants to dare trying.

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