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5 great new restaurants in the Winelands

Though an oldie may be a goodie, we also love to make way for new favourites. Here are five excellent restaurants new in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

The eponymous De Vrije Burger. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

De Vrije Burger (Stellenbosch)

This one is brand spanking new. Bertus Basson’s most recent venture sees a casual eatery serving up just one delicious meal: a burger. Butter buns encase 100% free-range beef topped with double cheese, Bertus Basson pickles, and all the trimmings. Each comes with salad or chips as well as the deal-clincher: a free soft-serve ice cream. Located on Plein Street, in the heart of Stellenbosch, this spot is sure to be popular with locals this summer.

La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek)

Our winner of the 2017 Eat Out Retail Capital New Restaurant of the Year, La Petite Colombe is the younger sister of Cape Town darling La Colombe, but certainly doesn’t fall in its shadow. It took over the space formerly occupied by The Tasting Room and is now headed up by chef John Norris-Rogers with chef-proprietors Scot Kirton and James Gaag. This truly special dining experience may be pricey but it’s oh-so-worth it. Expect fantastical amuse- bouches and dishes like barbecue quail with plump langoustine, smoked mussel velouté, bok choy, corn and popcorn; and springbok tataki with burnt macadamia dust, Jerusalem artichoke espuma, red-wine-pickled onions, and dehydrated pistachio cake. You’ll also get to watch the chefs in the open kitchen as they prepare one of your courses. It’s a must-visit.

One of the stunning La Petite Colombe dishes. Photo supplied.

Le Coin Français (Franschhoek)

Chef-proprietor Darren Badenhorst’s new fine-dining restaurant is a welcome addition to the flourishing and varied Franschhoek restaurant scene. Accomplished in classic French cooking techniques, Darren honed his skills over many years in Franschhoek, most recently at Grande Provence, before this new venture. Dinner is a choice between a six-course tasting menu and an eight-course chef’s journey menu. Dishes could include butter-poached barbecue langoustine served with West Coast snoek brandade velouté, aerated Boerenkaas, garden peas and cured pork-jowl risotto; slow-cooked lamb neck served with brûlée butternut spheres, Brussels sprouts and baby onion cups; or poached duck egg and creamed yolk espuma served with confit pork belly and pickled mushrooms.

A dish at Le Coin Français. Photo supplied.

Restaurant at Bellevue Wine Estate (Stellenbosch)

Bellevue Wine Estate’s contemporary-chic restaurant is the perfect place to gather the family for lazy outdoor lunches in the sun. The extensive menu here has something to suit all tastes: from classic breakfasts and hearty mains to meze and charcuterie. The offerings kick off with starters like pork-and-pistachio country terrine served with wild rocket and chutney. Mains include a panko-crusted chicken burger, platters for sharing, and woodfired pizzas with toppings like maple-roasted bacon with roast butternut and feta. Little ones are looked after with a dedicated play area on the lawn.

One of the woodfired pizzas available at Bellevue Restaurant. Photo supplied.

Swirl at Stellenbosch Vineyards (Stellenbosch)

Swirl is focused on sourcing ingredients locally and preparing them from scratch to craft meals that complement the estate wines. A variety of dining options are on offer, including pairings, platters and a selection of dishes made to share. Expect local favourites like Cape-Malay-style bobotie spring rolls with apple-and-peach chutney, or something inspired by global cuisine, such as lamb bitterballen with mint and mustard aioli. Sit back and relax as the children have fun on the jungle gym.

A few dishes available at Swirl. Photo supplied.

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