Chef Gregory Czarnecki’s superlative contemporary cuisine won The Restaurant at Waterkloof the number-three spot in the 2017 Top 10. Each dish that comes out of the open kitchen is visually exquisite, technically highly accomplished, playful and inventive in conception, and does great honour to the constituent ingredients, which are of the standard you’d expect from a farm where such attention is paid to the soil and its health.
Take the plunge and go for the degustation menu – it’s worth every cent and every bite. There are a nominal six courses, but that turns into thirteen when the amuse-bouches, sorbets, extra dessert and petit-fours are factored in. Each dish is perfectly calibrated to ensure that you feel perfectly sated when the last delicious morsel is consumed.
Each dish deserves an Instagram account and an essay-length description of its own. I can still see and taste the Dijon mustard caviar that spiced up the puffed beef tendon and crispy chicken skin; the lightly smoked Saldanha Bay oyster harmonizing with a beurre blanc sorbet; and the Egg 63 – sous vide at 63 degrees Celcius, it’s served in the shell, toast-soldier style with an emmenthaler velouté. Then there are also the slices of salt-crust baked celeriac enlivened by curry brittle and passion fruit; the sea bass, perfectly cooked and paired with the tart freshness of gooseberries; and melt-in-the-mouth tender duck breast with saffron apple.
Who would have thought that a dessert containing apricot, pomegranate, fennel, tarragon and petite balls of burnt thyme could be such a satisfactory end to a stellar meal? Bravo, chef!
Make it simple: accept the recommended Waterkloof wine that accompanies each dish on either the à la carte or degustation menu. You won’t be disappointed.
Service is of a standard that befits the cuisine: accomplished, genial and non-intrusive.
The mountaintop setting is spectacular, and so are the views. The restaurant is elegant and unadorned other than the crisp linen and high-quality cutlery and stemware.
There is a particular pleasure to visiting The Restaurant at Waterkloof when the Percheron draught horses are ploughing the vineyards.