Fans of fine dining will find Chef Kelly-Anne Pietersen's three course daily lunch and dinner menus liberally laced with all the frills, such as a welcoming amuse bouche, superb plating and classic touches. Even so, the most satisfying dishes are along the lines of tender smoked pork neck with mustard mashed potatoes and a refreshing bite of cabbage and apple salad; fish parmetier (fish pie); and oven-roasted lamb shank with potato purée and roasted vegetables.
Starters like tempura prawns are accompanied by sour cream and sweet chilli sauces, deep-fried calamari with aioli, or mussels in a creamy garlic sauce are meals in themselves.
The dessert menu is rich with chocolate, ice creams and seasonal fruits such as apple-and-pear clafoutis served with apple sorbet.
Among the pleasing and polished Benguela wines, shiraz and the award-winning chardonnay are top choices. Very reasonably priced Matilda's Secret range includes sauvignon blanc, rosé and a shiraz that are fine options and easy drinking. The sommelier's wine list offers a selection of wines from the Stellenbosch region.
The wait staff is pleasant, friendly and have been trained well, but service can be uneven.
The best place to sit is at the tables scattered over the grassy lawn with an idyllic view of the lake, or on the umbrella-covered patio. In the evening or on chilly days, the black and white dining room is surprisingly stiff and formal – at odds with the lovely laid-back vibe of the lodge.
Tastings are available from 12pm to 5pm. Taste five wines for R50.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
For lunch and dinner, choose two or three courses from a menu of starters, mains and desserts. A rich bite of deep-fried calamari in aioli, served as an amuse bouche before the meal, is just enough to appreciate the flavours and contrast of crunchy and creamy. Rainbow bright beet salad with citrus is gorgeous but balls of deep-fried goat's cheese worked against the light fruity dressing. Mains such as simple and tender roast chicken and thick, comforting rump are homey and satisfying, the sides of vegetables offered, less so. The dessert menu can be relied on for at least one chocolate dish like chocolate cheesecake, caramel, and homemade ice cream. On Thursday nights during winter, a selection of curries are offered with all the trimmings.
The Benguela wines are lovely, reasonable, and most are offered by the-glass. Matilda's Secret Rose 2015, is an excellent Sunday lunch option. A smattering of other South African wines are on the menu as well as a comprehensive list of spirits.
The staff works hard to please and their classical training is apparent from wine-pouring to clearing. It would be helpful for diners if the wait staff were more informed of the dishes on a daily basis. Roast chicken, described by the waiter as a whole baby chicken, turned out to be a quarter of a normal size chicken – good but not what was expected.
Lakeside is descriptive of the view from the modern and casual black and white dining room. In summer the tree-shaded grassy lawn is delightful or, if you prefer, lunch is also served around the pool area.
A variety of wine tastings such as chocolate and wine for R95 are available. Per head, or weekend cruise tastings on Swartvlei lake are available. Check the website for days and times.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
Presentation is a strong point and dishes are beautifully plated on long boards or glass platters. Wooden boards of local cheeses and/or meats served with Benguela Cove olive oil and house-made bread, make for a nice shared casual meal. Lunch fare is quite filling and includes a selection of deep-fried tapas with various sauces, burgers stuffed with pancetta and Parmesan. Even the Caesar salad is a study in richness, topped as it is with deep-fried anchovies, buttery crostini and bits of Parmesan, rounded off with a mayonnaise-based dressing. More restrained options for dinner include dishes like a fish of the day in fish broth, Caprese linguini and "banting friendly" pork Parmigano with cauliflower puree, truffle oil and vegetables.
The restaurant is a showcase for the lovely wines of Bengula Cove Lagoon Wine Estate in Walker Bay, so various wine tasting options (like a chocolate and wine pairing) are listed on the daily menu. Expect reasonable prices and many choices by the glass.
The staff are quite helpful, welcoming, and obviously proud of the beautiful presentations on every plate. Recently opened, the waiters are still learning some of the finer details of the food and wine, but are happy to research your questions.
This lakeside lodge invites lingering over alfresco summer lunches overlooking the lake. The black and white dining room with photo-shopped wall art is sophisticated, if a bit cold. Proteas and orchids on the tables do add a countering touch of softness.
Events – such as Sunday roast lunches and Benguela Cove wine launches – are listed on the web site.