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De Kloof Restaurant

De Kloof Restaurant
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Cost
Five-course tasting menu R395; seven courses R495
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Fine-dining food, Modern, South African
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
500
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Critic's review

Diane de Beer

Food
The Whitlock brothers opened De Kloof a few years ago with the dream of establishing a new fine dining restaurant in Pretoria. They seem to have hit the mark with their new chef, Hugo Snyman.

Previously from Nelspruit, where he worked at Mpumalanga’s highly rated Zest, Hugo is very keen on his meat. This is a perfect match for the restaurant’s new emphasis on keeping things as fresh and quality driven as possible. They have started sourcing and processing their own carcasses; they grow their own herbs and some of their vegetables; work with free-range and hormone-free chicken; and use only fish on the SASSI green list.

During our visit we encountered dishes playfully named Mary Had A Little Lamb, Big Bad Wolf and Birdies to designate the meat dishes. This touch of humour certainly adds a smile to the meal. The dish of apricot- and lemon-stuffed lamb loin wrapped in the belly, a lamb-head medallion, pea purée with parmesan polenta and roasted tomato for splashes of colour, gives new meaning to the head-to-tail concept, and offers texture and a variety of tastes on one plate.

The Birdies dish comprises stuffed turkey in honey bacon, delicately prepared quail, chicken popcorn and cauliflower purée with rooibos and thyme jus. The tenderness of the meat and the beautiful blending of the differently flavoured and textured birds leave an excellent impression.

The clear star of the day, however, was the masterstock-braised pork belly, accompanied by panko-crumbed pork cheek and neck, butternut and carrot purée, apple and ginger chutney and apple glaze. The Asian flavoured stock, combined with the Japanese panko, introduces a taste spectrum that’s enhanced by the different cuts as well as the cooking methods.

This is the chef’s strength: playing with ingredients and making them perform. The result is a taste kaleidoscope on each plate. While the starters and desserts also delivered in terms of taste and quality, it’s the mains that take center stage here. This is modern fine dining, and it is already one of Tswane’s best taste experiences.

Drinks
Charl Whitlock is a smart wine man and it has always been his philosophy to find the best wine at all the price points. The offering leans heavily towards smaller boutique wines and their list is constantly changing, so ask for guidance on the night. They also have a sassy craft beer and cider selection.

Service
There have been some niggles in the past, but it’s getting better and better, the results of good training are clearly visible.

Ambience
Being part of a golf estate, the premises was ready-made and they have tried their best with the dining room. A bonus is the outside stoep, from which you can enjoy spectacular sunsets if you arrive at the right time. The tables are smartly dressed and they’re constantly changing the look to find the right balance for their clientele.

And…
If you’re in the mood for something more casual, slip downstairs to DK Gourmet Burger and Craft Beer Bar, which comes highly recommended.

(August 2015)

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Eat Out

    Food 
    The young chef Monché Muller is one to watch. She’s passionate, creative and on trend, and her food does not disappoint. The dinner offering involves a five- or seven-course tasting menu with wine pairings extra. Assisted by very able sous and pastry chef Simone van der Merwe, the kitchen staff sends out dishes like a playful take on a Waldorf salad that includes apple panna cotta, fennel and candied walnuts, paired with a Seagrams gin and tonic with pickled cucumber. This inventive take on drinks pairings is also visible in other courses; for instance, the cheese course, which is basically Spain on a plate: chorizo chips and chorizo chutney, served with white chocolate gorgonzola catalan and some sangria to wash it down. There’s a lot of talent here, with loads of colour and fresh flavours on the plate. Add to that the playful element of surprise and Monché has really hit a sweet spot in this affluent area that had room for a serious player.

    Drinks 
    Owner Charl Whitlock really knows his vino and has some great wines on offer, which are showcased in a well-presented wine library with a good preservation system. The beverage list also has some great cocktails and a couple of craft beers.

    Service 
    Needs a little polish, but they’re friendly and sport a great attitude.

    Ambience 
    Located upstairs in the clubhouse of a golf course, the restaurant looks out on to the raised walkways of the 'golf in the sky' driving range, beyond which lies fantastic views of the open hills and vales of the real countryside. Inside, the aim is for a contemporary feel, with dark wood, chandeliers and modern furnishings.

    And…
    The Sunday lunch menu – kids are welcome – is very popular.

    (August 2014)

  • One of a small handful of independent fine dining restaurants in Pretoria. Modern contemporary food showcases high quality produce from grass-fed beef to organic duck. Situated on a golf estate, it is stylish and elegant. Visit for a special occasion. (EO mag 2014)

    Editor's note: Chef Monché Muller is now at the helm of the kitchen, experimenting with some playful ideas.
  • Food
    This is where they hit all the marks. Chef Leanne Robberts (formerly from Granny Mouse) makes her entrance with a caramelised pearl onion and Jerusalem artichoke tarte tatin with thyme and Szechuan caramel-toasted hazelnuts and gratinéed goat’s Camembert. She follows with slow-braised oxtail ragout, and veal brisket with truffle mash, a melange of wild mushrooms and rosemary jus. She takes a final bow with Valrhona bitter chocolate soufflé, tiramisu terrine and a chocolate-centred brioche doughnut. There’s no encore, because their menus change by the week. Fortunately the repertoire is something to return for – time and again. (In April 2013 a new chef, Wessel van Jaarsveld, was appointed. His food philosophy is to focus on sustainable local produce and he supports nose to tail eating.)

    Wine
    This the passion of the two brothers who own this new establishment. It’s one of the finest selections you will find.

    Service
    They still need to work on the finer points.

    Ambience
    It’s a room with a spectacular view, especially at night when you step out on the balcony and catch the night sky with lights stretching beyond the horizon, almost to Joburg. Interiors are sleek and stylish with interesting art, but fresh flowers would add a bit of spontaneity.

    And...
    They’ve got most of the main ingredients to work perfectly; it’s the details that prevent them from being the best. They might just get there. (DdeB, October 2012)

User reviews

  • Unfortunately we didn't have the lovely experience that most revewers seem to have had. Being a fine dining restaurant, you'd expect small portions, but this was quite rediculous! Half of the food on my husband's plate (a potato and polenta cake) was still frozen and inedible, so he was left hungry. In the hour we waited for the it, we expected fully cooked food. The cook sent word that one dessert would be free, but having paid R185 for his main, that was just not enough of a consolation. The service by the waiters in general wasn't very impressive either, we didn't even have napkins at our place settings. What a disappointment, we will in future much rather visit La Pentola, which is also very highly recommended. There, at least, you get great service, bigger portions of incredible food and probably a smaller bill.
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  • Great service, great food!
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  • Beautiful setting. Food was absolutely outstanding. We had the set menu. I would recommend that you do the wine pairing that goes with it. Every bite was a new taste sensation! The chef manage to combine ingredients that will stay with you long after you left. Restaurant is expensive. Therefore ideal to celebrate special occasion. Notify the staff if it is an anniversary as they prepare a little surprise at the end! Definitely worth a visit
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  • We thoroughly enjoyed the valentines set menu, 5 course meal with paired wines. All the flavours were wonderful and the wines perfectly selected. The portion sizes were also just right. Definately one if the best resturants in Pretoria.
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  • My husband and I had an impromptu date night without toddlers so I went looking for a grown-up restaurant with great food as we both love fine dining. We were very pleasantly surprised to find a gem just a few km's away hidden away at the Waterkloof Golf Club. The great service started at the car in the parking lot where we were met with umbrellas as it was pouring outside. The staff was very friendly and added to the experience with both wit and knowledge - we enjoyed them almost as much as the food! And the food....my oh my the food was fantastic!! We had the 7 Course Tasting Menu with Wine pairing, every course was phenomenal. I seriously can't wait to go back there with friends and family.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • Takeaways
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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