Venues

Fresh at Paul Cluver

Fresh at Paul Cluver
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Cost
R95 - R170 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Family friendly
Food
Country-style fare
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
500

Critic's review

Greg Landman

Food
Most of the vegetables and herbs come from the garden on the Paul Cluver estate, as do the fruit – we’re in Elgin, after all – so everything is really as fresh as can be. Country style cooking with robust flavours and generous portions is what Fresh is all about, and owner Niki Hall-Jones goes from strength to strength doing just that.

The menu is a daily affair on the blackboard that changes seasonally. Starters of classic vichyssoise with crème fraîche and snipped chives, and country-style pearl barley and vegetable soup served with pork dumplings will make you feel like you’re tasting these ingredients for the first time.

Homemade Cumberland bangers and mash with red-onion gravy are way beyond anything any pub could dream up, and the homemade chicken-and-leek pie, with the lightest puff pastry cap, has devotees coming all the way from town to get at it.

Finish up with the irresistible Elgin apple tart with crème anglaise and homemade vanilla ice cream, or the pear-and-hazelnut tart with cinnamon mascarpone.

Drinks
The famous Paul Cluver wines are the perfect foil for this kind of cooking; take your pick from the large range. Also make sure you try the excellent apple cider made in the valley.

Service
Look forward to service with a smile, in the country manner. Bear in mind everything is made right there, so relax and let out your belt a notch or two.

Ambience
It’s very cosy in winter with a coal fire going and communal, long tables encouraging diners to get to know their neighbours. But really it’s at its best in the summer, when there are tables out on the grass, just perfect.

And…
Do phone ahead to make a booking, as the hours change seasonally.
(August 2015)

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  • Jeanne Calitz

    Food 
    What a lovely country style restaurant this is, and the perfect way to round off a wine tasting on this award-winning wine farm. Just remember to book in advance; the shared tables fill up fast. As the name suggests, there’s a big focus on freshness here. Chef and owner Niki Hall-Jones uses what’s in season and available from the estate’s ample vegetable garden.

    On the cold day of our visit, we skip over alluring starter options like the pear, gorgonzola and rocket salad and the caramelised onion and camembert tart in favour of the two soups, a broccoli and blue cheese version for my friend, and a roasted beetroot version with garlic and onions for me. Deemed suitably satisfying, they made way for the mains. We opted for the Norwegian salmon and – this is apple country, after all – a pie of gammon simmered in apple cider and served with potatoes and Elgin apples. The pie is fine, if a little on the sweet side, but the fish is lovely: pan-fried to perfection, and served with steamed green veggies, potatoes Dauphinoise and a wonderful lemon butter crème fraîche, the zesty addition of which just lifts the entire plate to a new level.

    On the dessert menu, the options include a cheese board, baked dark chocolate pudding, a lemon meringue Eton mess and a homemade orange ice cream served, intriguingly, with a salad of peeled oranges, dates, rosewater and fresh mint. The latter is a revelation, a wonderful combination of creamy and crisp flavours. You’d think that it shouldn’t work but it does, extremely well. It's easily the best dish of the day.

    Drinks 
    The excellent Paul Cluver wines are available, some of them by the glass, as well as three South African bubblies. If you’re not in the mood for wine, there’s also the local Everson’s handcrafted cider on offer, as well as homemade lemonade and some rather fine coffees made, at the time of our visit, by the organic and Fair-Trade accredited beans from Bean There Coffee Company.

    Service 
    Not 100% smooth, but then this a country-style restaurant (indeed, Fresh won our 2012 Best Country-Style Restaurant Award) and you wouldn’t want things to be too formal. Besides, everyone here (including patrons and staff) seems to be in such a good mood. Just relax and go with the flow. Also take into account that everything is prepared from scratch, daily, and may take a bit of time. But good things come to those who wait.

    Ambience 
    It’s a simple establishment, really: a wooden building with huge glass windows, gleaming wooden tables meant to be shared, and a fireplace to keep things cosy in winter. It’s hard not to be charmed by the friendly plattelandse vibe.

    And... 
    Don’t be surprised if you step into the loo to find it’s an outdoor setup, flanked by screens and greenery for privacy. It’s quite fun, though – it feels a bit like going camping, with the exception that you can go back into the warmth and sit down to a fine meal and delicious wine, with proper cutlery.

    (July 2014)

  • Food
    Fresh produce reigns supreme in chef Joan Lancefield’s country kitchen, and what doesn’t come straight from the Cluver vegetable gardens is sourced nearby. This simple approach runs through to the food, with straightforward yet delicious dishes on a menu that changes daily. Flaky beef pie, gorgeous salads and succulent roast chicken are regular favourites.

    Wine
    Only Paul Cluver wines on sale, but at cellar door prices. The chardonnay and pinot noir are outstanding, and good matches for Joan’s menu.

    Service
    Wonderful, with Joan spending nearly as much time hosting guests as she does in the kitchen.

    Ambience
    A cosy rustic space, with chunky wooden tables and wonderful vineyard views.

    (RH, October 2012)

User reviews

  • Fanastic country spot that's a scene straight out of Stealing Beauty: long leisuerely lunches on the lawn, superb food, fabulous wine and Niki's incredible hospitality makes you feel as though you a visiting a close friend for lunch. One of my favourite restuarants in the Overberg that has a unique brand of magic all of its own
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  • The omens were not good. We arrived late, courtesy of the stop-gos on the road from Bredasdorp, just as the fickle September Boland weather decided that we had had our dose of sunshine for the day. This would not have been a problem but for the fact that we were 8 people and a dog and were due to sit outside. Cue another rabbit out of the hat from the owner, Niki (the outside table was already a work-around solution to accommodate a late booking) and two minutes later we had a table inside and our dog had the play-date of his life with Niki's equally energetic black labrador. Within minutes of arriving the pasta napolitana was on the table and disappearing down the throats of our gannets (the tagliatelli was fresh, the sauce had a slight sweetness, all clearly wasted when consumed at such speed, although second helpings were ordered). Now to the serious part - the adults' food. The restaurant's name, "Fresh", is well chosen for it describes perfectly the food. The ingredients are local, seasonal and - well - fresh. Every ingredient is given the space to express itself in the dish, but is not allowed to dominate. The food is not overly complex but it is far from unsophisticated - plenty to keep the palate interested. The menu is small (4 of each course), so you run the risk of there not being something for everyone's taste, but it is a means of keeping the quality higher than the prices. Everyone had their highlights, from a beautifully pressed game bird terrine which was surprisingly subtle to gnocchi in a heavenly and calorie rich cream, blue cheese and walnut sauce (perfect as the rain continued to pour) to a granadilla eton mess - who needs berries when you have the sourness of the granadillas standing up to the sugary meringue and blended with thick cream. And if that is not enough to tempt, there are Paul Cluver wines at cellar prices. Service was what one would expect of an intimate venue. And on a day where the temperature fell towards single figures, the roaring fire and rustic touches which soften an essentially modern structure and give it its warmth created a cosy, intimate feel. It was 4.30 by the time we dragged a bedraggled, exhausted dog into the car to join the rest of Cape Town as it crawled down Sir Lowry's Pass back to reality. We'll be back - quite possible for October's menu - 3 days and counting!
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  • I had the pleasure on Heritage Day to be invited to Fresh at Paul Cluver for lunch! I was very excited as I have not yet had the opportunity to do so! Well, i was very impressed to say the least! Besides the fact that it is so simple and refreshing excuse the pun, we were a large group and made to feel welcome the moment we arrived! Their philosophy of using fresh, local and sustainable ingredients that are in season peaked my interest straight away and the food.....hhhmmm totally delicious, fresh, clean and beautifully presented! The toughest decision was deciding what to choose from the menu and when our meals arrived there was silence for the first time the entire day, while we all tucked in! I'm hooked and cannot wait to return to see what the seasonal menu will offer!
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  • Saturday was a day to look forward to and boy it really delivered! Or should I say Fresh @ Paul Cluver really delivered. My partner and I planned a sojourn into the country to have lunch with a dear friend whom we hadn't seen for a while. We booked a lunch table at Fresh and arrived around 12h15. We were met on the rolling lawns outside the tasting room by the gorgeously friendly resident Maitre dog called Elvis, who took it upon himself to ensure we knew exactly where we were going and we just humoured him along. Entering Fresh is like entering a friends home. The atmosphere is warm and relaxed, Niki is the best hostess and the smells emanating from the kitchen under chef Damian's keen eye, have you drooling before you are even seated. It was lovely to see that the menu has been updated to include wine pairings. This suited me perfectly, I nestled into my first glass whilst my companions sensibly stuck to drinking beer. We all ordered different starters, one Vichyssoise that was proclaimed to be viciously good, the mussels on my right looked so yummy I just had to steal one and they were, whilst I ordered the Carpaccio of Linefish which was just delicious and reminded me of my sabbatical in Peru, a slight resemblance to Ceviche but not exactly, just delicious. When mains came around the home we call Fresh was reasonably busy with wonderfully happy atmosphere, lots of laughter, with our table being perhaps a little louder than the rest but no one seemed to mind. Once again we all had something different, I couldn't help but order the Karoo lamb, my partner the Gnocchi and our friend the fresh Linefish. Silence practically fell as we tucked in, everything was truly moreish. Fresh is definitely the right name for the establishment as all the ingredients down to the garnish seem to burst with flavour. I was the only one who braved stretching her midriff by ordering desert. The chocolate & blueberry fondant was sensational, albeit the bridge to far, kindly my dining partners who insisted they couldn't fit in another morsel, landed up helping me to the point of scraping fingers across the plate to clean up all the sauce. We all loved our dining experience at Fresh @ Paul Cluver. It was a totally memorable day, made more memorable due to Niki, Damian and Elvis being such wonderful hosts but the food, oh the food, I wouldn't hesitate to go again and again.
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  • We had the most outstanding sunday lunch at Fresh yesterday. Seasonal fresh menu, well priced and absolutely delicious. Beautifully presented food, non-invasive and friendly service. And no complaints when the food is being complemented with Paul Cluver wines! Niki is very friendly and takes the time and effort to visit each and every guest in the restaurant. I can't wait to visit again soon.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Booking required
  • Breakfast
  • Child friendly
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair

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