I am in love with The Pool Room at Oak Valley Wine Estate! This is a great addition to the foodie scene in Elgin! The Pool Room is a joint venture between a close friend and talented Chef – Nicole Precoudis (of Cilantro and Icon fame in Joburg) – and the passionate foodie Rawbone-Viljoen family that own Oak Valley Wine Estate. This promises to be a marriage made in foodie heaven!
A huge amount of planning, blood, sweat and tears has gone into getting this project on the road.
I loved the commentary on developments from Chris Rawbone in the recent Oak Valley newsletter:
The opening date is set for Wednesday, 24th October. I should be excited, elated even. To the
contrary, I’m somewhat nervous. So much time, energy and passion has gone into this project that it’s hard to believe we’re almost crossing the finish line, yet only at the starting block in a commercial sense. The premise behind The Pool Room is idealistic in many ways. It stands for everything that makes Oak Valley great. An uncompromising belief in the integrity and quality of our products. No short cuts. We tried keeping the menu as simple as possible, focussing mainly on our meat products, grass-fed beef and acorn-fed pork, along with a range of
charcuterie, crafted by Nicole Precoudis, in her on-farm curing facility. Our Wagyu beef, the famous cattle breed from Japan, where it is better known
as Kobe, will be on offer from time-to-time depending on availability. The restaurant is equipped with a custom made wood-fired grill to ensure optimum flavour. It promises to be the quintessential pasture-to-plate experience. Seasonal veggies and herbs will be sourced from our very own garden behind the restaurant while daily
specials will offer patrons the opportunity to order from the chalkboard. We’re bringing
Harrods to the countryside. Without Al Fayed.
The Rawbone-Viljoen family were pioneers in the valley – Sir Antonie Viljoen was the first to plant a commercial fruit orchards in the Elgin Valley. Since those early days Oak Valley has diversified moving into flowers – they are now the biggest supplier of cut flowers to Woolworths in the country. Later years saw them trying their hand at wine. I can vouch for the fact that these are some of the nicest wines in South Africa (as do all of the awards that they have won!). Next they decided to try and make use of the huge number of oak trees that they have on the estate and as such moving into free range
piggies that eat mainly acorns was a natural product extension. This led to the idea of starting a line of charcuterie meats. Chef Nicole rose to the challenge and has been working on developing the range for many months – with delicious results………..so nice to have been able to taste a few of the “experiments” along the way……….what a treat!
We headed through to try out The Pool Room last weekend – and were completely blown away! The drive to
Oak Valley takes just under an hour from Cape Town city – it is quicker then getting to Franschhoek! From when you enter the estate you start unwinding! You truly feel like you have entered into the countryside. The restaurant is stylishly located right next to the swimming pool of the old manor house. Quite simply the Pool Room is located in the families old pool room where they entertained guests in the past. The menu aims to be a “farm to table experience”, it aims to be simple and the food to be simply presented in a
manner that brings out the taste of the fresh ingredients. We had the charcuterie platter to share – outstandingly delicious – as well as the vegetarian platter – equally delicious. I then had the burger – which was delicious – I will have to return to try the pork chops – they looked fantastic too! We ended with the apple tart tartine which was outstanding and I wanted to lick the plate! I know we are going to be returning many many times over summer. We spent the afternoon at the side of the pool, simply chatting, relaxing and drinking delicious Oak Valley sauvignon blanc and chardonnay. These are two of my favourite wines in the world – so it was an added treat to be able to enjoy them in such an amazing setting. My verdict – book immediately. This is a very very special treat –
but the prices are really reasonable and as such I predict this spot will become extremely successful.
Note that the wine tasting area for Oak Valley has relocated to the restaurant and is now located at the back of The Pool Room. My only reservation with this is that you would feel a bit conspicuous standing in the middle of the restaurant tasting. Also – rowdy tasters may disturb the diners! It is however a treat to be able to see the restaurant for those that are there …………….so that they know they have to come back and relax at the Pool!
Oak Valley attracts a large number of mountain bikers and their supporters on weekends – the track is rated as one of the best for mountain bikers in the country – so if you are into mountain biking – don’t forget to bring your bike. If you are into relaxation – simply head through to the Pool Room for a long lazy afternoon and enjoy the simple dishes that will keep coming from the kitchen. Note that the wine tasting will now be open 7 days a week and you will have the opportunity to shop for fabulous meat
products from the charcuterie to take home. Oak Valley is one of the most beautiful estates in the country – so it is worth settling in for the day.
Info for The Pool Room – Oak Valley Wine Estate – Elgin:
Wed-Sun lunch 12h00-15h30
Fri dinner 18h30-22h00
Restaurant bookings 021 859 4111
NOTE 05/2013 – Chef Nicole Precourdis is no longer at The Pool Room. She designed and set it up and after getting it on its feet – she has moved onto another venture! Note that she leaves the restaurant in good hands!