-  Diary of an Adventure   -  Heaven Newton Johnson, Hemel and Aarde Valley


Sometimes it’s good that the Gods, and Heaven, are forced to undergo a refurbishment to match the standard being created in the Southern Tip of Africa. The weather was perfect. The view across to the ocean, under crystal pure skies, breathtaking. The indigenous flowers perfection itself. And the craftsmanship of food and wine extraordinary.

The restaurant at Newton Johnson (Heaven) is perched above the vineyards, designed around the kitchen with the views as central to the experience as the food. For once, there was minimal menu envy, despite us all choosing a different dish. The flavours were subtly layered ensuring that it was only by progressing through the full portion that maximum enjoyment was attained. Despite intense provocation, we skipped the desert section, preferring to finish with an additional glass of Newton Johnson Full Stop wine.

While matching food and wine has evolved into pairing menus and chefs are careful to ensure that wines on their menus don’t wreck the food flavours, there is another dimension to the sensory experience, in matching the art on display to the food and wine.

At Heaven, the fine art was varied and interesting, but I had the feeling it was focused at the tourist patron, rather than on enhancing the food or wine. Especially difficult in daytime, with such magical views and the kitchen showmanship of Stefan, the Patron Chef.

Intriguing, never the less, and I will pay more attention to the art displayed and how it relates to the dining experience.

In his time Jan has been an electronics, nuclear and power system engineer, a strategist, a humanitarian and an artist. A career path linked by creativity and innovative thinking. Initially trained at the Johannesburg College of Art, Jan has won numerous international awards and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He can be found in his studio ‘Jandreart’ located at Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna.

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