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New review: Relaxed, child-friendly dining at Harvest at Laborie in Paarl

Simple fresh ingredients, bistro-style favourites, and shady tables beneath the trees: Harvest at Laborie is the city-dweller’s dream of winelands dining. Richard Holmes visits the Paarl restaurant to find out if the reality measures up.

Food

Acclaimed chef Matthew Gordon is no stranger to the winelands (he owns French Connection, and owned Haute Cabrière up until three years ago), and at Harvest he’s crafted a delicious yet approachable menu of contemporary South African cuisine. The food here is a notch above bistro cooking, but the focus remains on simplicity – from the fresh ingredients to the plating. The slow-roasted duck with potato gratin is superb, as is the pork belly glazed in Chinese master stock, while the West Coast mussels marinière will leave you mopping the bowl. For a lighter lunchtime option, the charcuterie and cheese platter offers saucisson sec, apple-smoked chicken, chevin and more.

The food at Harvest at Laborie. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The food at Harvest at Laborie. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Drinks

They offer a sizeable list focusing on local estates and drawing heavily on the KWV stable. You’ll find plenty from both Laborie’s own labels as well as wines from the excellent The Mentors range. Good range available by the glass.

Service

Warm, engaging and knowledgeable waitresses strike the right balance between friendliness and formality.

Ambience

There’s something for everyone here. Candlelit dinners on the terrace are idyllic on warm summer evenings, while the large playground – set a healthy distance from the restaurant – makes this a popular spot for families at lunchtime.

The exterior at Harvest at Laborie. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

The exterior at Harvest at Laborie. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

And…

There’s wonderful overnight accommodation available on the farm, so consider making a weekend of it.

 

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