cover
avatar

Bistro 13

Cost
R140 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual, Contemporary cool, Family friendly
Food
Bistro fare, French
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Write a Review
500
EatOut_500_Web

Critic's review

John Maytham

Food
Chef Nic van Wyk and his team are doing something special at Bistro 13. They are presenting delicious bistro-style food without any of the bistro staples. It is food that is deceptively simple, with harmony, balance and restraint being three key identifiers. Take the celeriac and parsnip soup – creamy and delicate. Just the right amount of excellent quality truffle oil lifts the soup into the realms of the special – one drop less, potentially bland; one drop more and the truffle overpowers. A wild mushroom buttered brioche adds extra savoury tang. The same harmony is found in the tempura prawn starter, served with a just-hot-enough smoked chili oil and a moistly yummy confection of aubergine, tomato and avocado. On the mains, fresh from the sea hake gets a curry dusting and a fragrant Malay sauce; mussels and chorizo and saffron form a perfect partnership with freshly made pasta; and beef fillet groans with delight under a blue cheese and grappa sauce. Desserts are also imaginative and delicious... the apple and sultana strudel with ginger and maple syrup ice cream and brandy custard, or the lemon curd millefeuille (more accurately a troisfeuille) with raspberry coulis and Italian meringue.

Drinks
Very few big names on the winelist – rather a selection of interesting personal favourites from lesser-celebrated but quality producers. Wines from the Stellenbosch Vineyards stable are served at cellar door prices, which makes them a very good value proposition, by the glass or by the bottle.

Service
Service is big-smile friendly and achieves that very difficult but important balance between constant vigilance and avoiding over-solicitousness.

Ambience
The glasshouse interior is a little stark, especially in winter, and needs (and almost always achieves) the chatter of happy diners to lift it from coldness. When the sun is shining and the wooden deck is more in play, the vibe is more welcoming and relaxed.

And
Bistro 13 is genuinely family-friendly, with lots of run around space for the little ones.

(September 2016)

Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

 

 

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Graham Howe

    Food
    Watch chef and kykNET Kokkedoor judge Nic van Wyk (who earned his spurs at La Colombe and Terroir) and his brigade at work in the open kitchen. The seasonal menu changes four times a year with daily specials on the blackboard menu. This newcomer to the Stellenbosch scene has made its mark, showcasing robust country flavours in dishes with an inventive spin and playful twist (for example a sweet and sour ribs salad). Combining his classic French training and country childhood, Nic tempts with starters of salmon croquettes, lamb kidneys or beetroot fritters with goat’s cheese, leading to meaty mains of crumbed pork fillet with sauerkraut, roasted chicken pie and slow-braised lamb shoulder with green bean bredie. Expect generous portions and bold flavours on an exquisitely dressed plate, enhanced by divine sauces, emulsions and veloutés. Finish on the sweet side with a divine dessert of malva pudding or apple and plum crumble.

    Drinks
    They offer a wide range of Cape wines by glass, carafe and bottle plus wines at no mark-up made by Stellenbosch Vineyards, the host farm.

    Service
    Warm and attentive from start to finish.

    Ambience
    Versatile – it’s family-friendly by day with a large wooden deck, and sophisticated for elegant dining on tasting menus by night in the glasshouse interior.

    And…
    They do great country breakfasts. The venue is child-friendly, with a munchkin menu for children and a jungle gym nestled under the trees.

    (August 2015)

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Cathy Marston

    Food
    Chef Nic van Wyk comes hot off the set of Kokkedor and back into his favourite place – the kitchen, this time at newly revamped Welmoed Wines. The food is a good solid selection of bistro favourites, several of them with interesting and inventive twists. For starters, try the curried crispy calamari with lemony vinaigrette potatoes, avo and pickled cucumber, which offers superb and very well-balanced flavours, although a little less potato and avo would have made the calamari more of a hero of the dish. Chicken croquettes on an intensely truffled sauce of creamy corn velouté are delicious, and reports of the steak tartare are also most favourable.

    For mains, there is standard bistro fare of steak, chicken and risotto, but you might be tempted instead by the crumbed pork fillet with smoked mash and caramelised onions, which is tender and flavoursome. Most outstanding, however, is the slow-braised lamb shoulder with pearl barley, aubergines and harissa, the latter providing an exquisitely piquant note that really pulls the whole dish together. Desserts are well priced and options feature some old favourites such as crème caramel and guava gratin, and a wickedly sticky chocolate cake with praline caramel. (Note on 25 November 2014: They have updated their menu. See it on the menu tab to the left.)

    Wine
    The offering includes Stellenbosch Vineyards (SV) brands such as Welmoed, Arniston Bay and the delicious Credo wines, a handful of imports and some great crowd-pleasers like Rickety Bridge and Porcupine Ridge. (The very favourable prices for SV wines are virtually the same as in the smartly revamped tasting room next door, with many of them are available by carafe or glass.) Guests can also dabble in a few craft beers and ciders.

    Service
    The staff are sweet and willing. Partner and front-of-house manager Roxy Laker says she prefers a good attitude over everything, so hopefully any wrinkles will be ironed out before a busy season. For now, a nice smile and an accommodating, can-do manner work well.

    Ambience

    Considering the winery is on one of the main roads into Stellenbosch, it’s amazing how easy it is to forget the traffic and noise. Trees, the island in the middle of the duck pond, the huge, grassy space and kids’ jungle gym do wonders in this regard. The deck tables will be hot property in summer and there is plenty of shade from the trees. Inside, the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly with modern furniture and an open kitchen providing entertainment for curious guests.

    And…

    This is an excellent addition to the Stellenbosch dining scene, which should prove popular both with families and those who simply want a pleasant afternoon in the sun, eating good food and drinking good wine – all at good prices.

    (August 2014)

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

User reviews

  • Had lunch here on Sunday and it was a great experience. The lamb spring roll starter was a winner and I can do with a whole bowl of the onion rings that come with the steak main. Pity they did not have the braised lamb on the day so will have to go back for that. The best dish was my wife's dessert of pear in a port (i think) sauce and soft nougat with little meringues. The Credo wines are really good and thanks to Esmerelda for the wonderful friendly service
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • I always love an owner-managed restaurant as it always has that extra mile. Chef Nic and his partner Roxy clearly put their heart and soul into Bistro 13 and it shows from every dish as well as the lovely decor. Reasonably priced and looking forward to a return visit when I am in the Cape in Dec.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Great food and service! We went to Bistro13 in December to celebrate my parents' 38th wedding anniversary and we were not disappointed. The staff were friendly and service was fast. The food deserves its own separate review. We did the tasting menu and each course topped off the one before. The steak tartare was just incredible. The best part about the venue (other than the great selection of drinks and friendly staff) was that it was also family friendly. The kiddie's menu was fantastic - a great selection for fussy little eaters. And there's is also a lovely play area where all the nephews thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Great job Bistro13 - keep it up!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • On Thursday 27 August 2015 we had the privilege to enjoy a lovely wine tasting and lunch at Bistro 13. This was our first time there and what a wonderful experience. We enjoyed the lovely and very informative wine tasting first and after that had the most delicious food at the restaurant. Literally, it was the best steak we have ever eaten. We felt welcome from the moment we put foot in the restaurant and the service was outstanding. Lovely people, exquisite food and such a relaxing environment. This is definitely a new favorite and Bistro 13 will be seeing us soon, with some friends to introduce to this lovely jewel in Stellenbosch.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Took the in-laws there on recommendations from my colleagues that have been there. Fantastic meal with great service. Will definitely be back with a group of friends for the tasting menu.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • A new restaurant and lovely surprise. Superb food and delightful service. We will be back. Rupert Dolby
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • We visited as a couple the first Sat night in October, although the restaurant only had 2 other tables occupied on Sat evening, I am sure that in time their popularity will improve.
    All courses are innovative, delicious and in our opinion reasonably priced . The waitron was knowlegeble and attentive though did not know much about the wine (the evening was hot and the white wine served only slightly cooled - nowhere near chilled and required adding of ice)

    Overall a very pleasant evening however spoilt by the fact that when the Bill arrived and AUTOMATIC tip of 13% had been added , when queried the waitron advised it was indicated as an automatic addition somewhere on the Menu (certainly not on the internet viewable version) nor indicated at the time of making the booking.
    Consumer watch Wendy Knowler advises that the Restaurant Association do not condone the unilateral adding of a service fee to all bills and certainly not at elevated %, certainly they are on shaky ground legally in terms of the Consumer Protection Act.

    I sincerely hope that this restaurant changes this unfortunate policy as they have everything else right, I will revisit again only once it is confirmed that this practice has been abolished.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Bistro 13 is a little Gem. Prices are really reasonable for the quality of food. My partner and I had the fillet and pork between us and they were both absolutely delicious. My tender steak came with two onion rings, the best onion rings I've ever had, so good that we ordered a side order of it. Light and crispy, just the best ever!

    The highlight of the meal was their chocolate cake slice, it just melts in your mouth, like heaven on your tongue. Think about a Lindt ball melting in your mouth, now times that taste and sensation in your mouth by 100, it's that good.

    The restaurant has an inside and outside section. We sat outside and the ambiance was very warm and welcoming.

    The service was really good, waitrons were very attentive without being intrusive.

    I would definitely go back again for an intimate meal or with a big group.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • We had a great experience at Bistro 13! The steak tartare is the best I have had in South Africa! The setting is beautiful and the restaurant has a great ambiance! We will be back soon!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

  • What an amazing lunch at Bistro 13. Excellent food, wine and service and very child friendly with the eco friendly jungle gym. Absolutely worth a visit.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

  • What an amazing lunch at Bistro 13. Excellent food, wine and service and very child friendly with the eco friendly jungle gym. Absolutely worth a visit.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • This is definitely going to become a firm favourite with families in summer. The layout is such that the glass doors provide a great view of the large grass expanse, where kids can run around. And I think there'll be outdoor seating, which will be brilliant. But, more than the location, the food is going to be a huge drawcard. Delicious bistro fare from Nic van Wyk - our plates were all licked bare after each course. Another nice touch - a wide selection of Stellenbosch Vineyards wines, all barely marked up from cellar prices. Will be back.
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Alfresco
  • Beer served
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

Write a review

Remember that your rating will influence the restaurant's ranking and chances of being recognised as one of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Best Everyday Eateries.

Eatout