I absolutely loved my visit! It has one of the prettiest location -on a hill and you sit right next to the grape vines and enjoy a backdrop of dramatic mountains. The Long Table closed down about 3 years ago and re-opened recently. We visited on the first day of the launch of the new Chefs menu. Who is the new chef – well………………….the head Chef of Babel at Babylonsoren has moved to the Long Table – Chef Cornelle Minie. Her concept is sharing small plates. Being used to harvesting products before service – she has asked Haskell to add to their vegetable garden so that she can continue this practice here. She has simply divided the menu into “cold dishes” and “hot dishes” and “desserts”. It was one of the most wonderful fresh flavour journeys. None of the dishes were too complicated. All were beautiful and each dish felt like a mini celebration of summer. This may be my new favourite spot in the Cape Winelands! Ps Locals also take note – as this spot has always attracted mainly locals they have kept the dishes well priced – so three small plates are R250. Absolutely amazing value for money.
Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery at Spier Wine Estate – Stellenbosch
Is owned by Chef PJ Vadas – who is one of South Africa’s most talented chefs – yet the concept is extremely simple – great locally sourced produce – cooked really well. They focus on Smoked and BBQed meat. If you are a carnivore with a sweet tooth – this spot is for you! This is a group of friends working together. They have a passion for sourcing the best local produce they can find – and that does all the way from the locally sourced meat and eggs from Farmer Angus on Spier through to the kombucha, the flour, the beer and the coffee. This spot is family friendly and you sit out on the terrace under the trees. It is also the perfect spot to relax and unwind with a group of friends – I would advise you to order portions of meat and sides to share – that way you get to enjoy lots of different flavours! This was my first visit since the spot had been the Hoghouse Smokehouse – it is now Vadas Smokehouse – not much changed – same Chef – perhaps the ownership structure changed! Verdict – an absolute favourite chilled lunch spot for real food with real flavour!
This is a very special spot. It is only open on a Sunday for lunch and one has to book it in advance. The concept is simple – a family Sunday lunch sourced from the farm (& the region) reflecting what is fresh and in season. It has been created as a summer restaurant by the family who own Joostenberg Wine Estate. It is a wonderful setting in an outside courtyard that was historically used to house the families animals! This lunch was a feast of seasonal freshness. It is my favourite way of eating. I believe there would have been enough food even is one has a fussy family member! Below I have done a visual journey of our meal course by course. However to see a little more check out – Drizzle & Dip Blog gives a wonderful taste of the lunch experience . The cost is R360 per person for a 3 course menu featuring farm produce and recipes from childhood memories. To book email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27796411320
PROTÉGÉ – the La Colombe team has taken over a second restaurant area at Le Quartier Franscais Hotel in Franschhoek and created a beautifully designed open plan area for their new concept restaurant PROTÉGÉ. The concept is relaxed fine dining where talented Chef Stephen Raaff offers a menu of small plate dishes. The idea is to have 3 or 4 dishes per person and a dessert. The prices look good and it feels like a wonderful spot to spend an entire afternoon with a group of friends! I cannot wait to try this one out! The photos below are courtesy of our guide Shelley who snuck in to check out this new spot while she was on tour! Note that this spot will also serve breakfast for the hotel guests and will be open for breakfast bookings outsiders.
Is a great new addition to central Stellenbosch town by top South African Chef Bertus Basson (owner of award winning Overture Restaurant). This is a great addition for a number of reasons – firstly Stellenbosch town has a shortage of fine dining restaurants – so this one will fill the gap for foodies who are staying in Stellenbosch Town on holiday. Secondly so many of our Chefs celebrate foreign cooking techniques – Chef Bertus has always drawn inspiration for his dishes from his Afrikaans upbringing. His new restaurant focuses on offering a menu that celebrates our South African heritage. The restaurant offers only tasting menus that will take you on a journey of local flavours. The current cost for the tasting menu is R850 per person and the menu will change regularly based on what is fresh and the inspiration of the Chefs. It I cannot wait to try Eike! Open Tuesday to Saturday nights from 7pm. 50 Dorp Street Stellenbosch. Book online (once on the website click Establishment and then Eike or email email@example.com
- Le Petite Manoir – is located on the main “drag” in Franschhoek. It is combo of luxury guesthouse, deli and a fine dining establishment at night. Visit in the evening to enjoy tasting menu prepared by award winning chef, Kevin Grobler, or to have a drink at their trendy bar. Chef Kevin previously lived and worked in Nice (France) for just under three years. He was the Head Chef at Michelin Star restaurant JAN (who to us is a rock star legendary South African Chef and the first South African chef to be given a Michelin star). He has also worked at local restaurants such as Delaire Graff, Cavalli and Terroir. I have not been to try this one yet as dining in Franschhoek at night requires a few night visits to Franschhoek! So this one is on the list for my next overnight stay! As you can see below – I have been stalking them during the daytime! Closed on a Sunday night and a Monday.
- Gåte at Quoin Rock opened early in December on one of my favourite wineries in Stellenbosch! I was literally stalking the progress online! The estate had been sold in 2012 and was closed to the public. It is now high on my “hitlist” to experience their newly built wine tasting room and the much anticipated restaurant in the newly constructed premises. It is not often that South Africa attracts rock star chefs and so as foodies this creates a wonderful sense of anticipation! The reviews so far are all fabulous! Chef Rikku Ò’Donnchű has worked for Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller and Grant Achatz. He is supported by a rock star team who have also worked at Michelin restaurants and some of the World’s top 50 Restaurants. Dinner is a 16 course menu where the Chef matches his taste for the avante-garde with the freshest produce to create a wonderfully theatrical meal! This sounds like such fun! I just need to find a guesthouse that I can book in close to the estate! Open evenings Tuesday – Saturday and Sunday lunch. Tasting menu – R1250 per person plus 12.5% gratuity. For more info email – firstname.lastname@example.org Bookings are live on their website (photos supplied by the restaurant)
Fairly New in the Cape Winelands
- Le Coin Francais – by talented Chef Darren Badenhorst – Newest spot to open in Franschhoek – From their website – The newest edition to the Franschhoek scene is a restaurant really and truly for Franschhoek. Both in concept and in name, the aptly named “Le coin Français” , which literally means Franschhoek, will embody the essence of the valley in heritage, cuisine, art and wine. It will feature cutting edge methods meeting time tested French elegance in cuisine, a carefully selected locally themed wine list to showcase the best local wines, a French sommeliers selection, and an ever evolving collaboration of art in the theme of photography. I popped in to have a look – gorgeous decor – it simply feels grand as you walk in, with wonderful attention to detail and decor. They are currently open for dinner – choice between a 6 or 8 course tasting menu which can be done with our without wine pairing. This looks really good!
- Chef’s Warehouse at Maison – set to open on Maison Wine Estate in December 2017. Famous Chef Liam Tomlin’s signature 8 tapas style dishes to share between two people
- Marigold in Franschhoek – Great to have Chef Vanie Padayachee back in the Franschhoek Valley to launch Marigold a North Indian Cuisine restaurant owned by Mr Singh of the Leeu Collection. I cannot wait to try this one out – I have heard great reports!
- La Petite Colombe – has opened a fine dining restaurant at Le Quartier Franscais Hotel in Franschhoek. This is the sister restaurant of La Colombe – as such expect fine dining tasting menus. Expensive – but talented Chefs – so worth the investment if you are here and holidaying on US dollars or pounds! For locals – perhaps wait for the winter specials!
- The Village Table Bistro – Seven Sisters Vineyards in Stellenbosch – this one looks like a gem and one I definitely want to try out. The sisters come from Paternoster and had a difficult life. Their Dad lost his job, they lost their home and were split up. They have come together to buy and build their winery together. The menu has some wonderful local dishes on it and the restaurant looks welcoming and cozy. They proudly serve only their own and black owned wines! They are located just off the Annandale Road – close to Spier!
- Reubens – Chef Reuben has moved to a new spot – he has bought his own building and has opened a fresh new restaurant in Franschhoek – just off the main drag. The new venue is fresh and gorgeous – this will definitely be worth a try when I am next in Franschhoek!
- Hoghouse Brewing Company at Spier Wine Estate – closing down – the chef is going to open a new spot – it sounds similar to what was here – will update soon!
- The Deck at Hidden Valley – Newest offering by top South African Chef Bertus Basson – this is a very simple offering – a burger or fish and chips. No bookings taken. Fantastic venue – a deck overlooking the dam at Hidden Valley Wine Estate, on top of a mountain, with a sweeping view of the valley below. We loved our visit to try it out. Portion sizes are large – so we shared a portion of fish and chips. This is traditional style deep fried Hake fish in the most wonderful light batter. It was delicious. The wines by the glass were limited to Deck White and Deck red – which were designed to go with the burger and the chips. There were more options by the bottle. I found the wine offering restrictive for a wine estate as I would happily have paid more to have had the option of tasting some of the estates top wines! Note there is no inside seating – as such this is a great fair weather option!
- Faber at Avondale – in the Paarl Winelands Region. This stays on the list as it is still a hot new opening for the Cape Winelands – note they have a new Chef. Chef Eric Bulpitt has moved to La Motte!
- Orangerie at Le Lude Champers estate – fabulous small restaurant next to the new tasting room at Le Lude Estate. Small conservatory style with wonderful light and small outside area. This is a family owned estate – one daughter did the gorgeous decor and the other daughter cooks. One can either do a tapas style platter with the champers tasting or stay for lunch at the Orangerie. Small delicious sounding menu! Tip – this estate is walking distance from the centre of Franschhoek (15 minutes). To book call +27 87 754 9925
- Foliage – Not so new anymore – but wonderful and not to be missed! Chef Chris Erasmus has left La Motte and opened his own spot on the main road of Franschhoek. The theme is to forage in the mountains for ingredients and to play with local ingredients. As such the menu is short and will change regularly! Chef Chris is full of passionate and great fun to chat to!! Location- on the main road in Franschhoek opposite Le Quartier Franscais – 11 Hugeuenot Rd. Tel – 021 876 2328 Closed Tuesdays – open for lunch on all other days! Closed for dinner Tues/Sunday night!