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Cuvée Restaurant

Cost
R150 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance, Contemporary cool
Food
Bistro fare, South African, Vegetarian
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Graham Howe

Food
A seasonal country menu is built around the estate’s iconic wines – which are also used to make many sauces like west coast mussels with Chardonnay beurre blanc. Real country fare is inspired by the terroir of Simonsig’s own vegetable, fruit and herb gardens as well as local wineland growers. Try an artisanal boerewors made by a Stellenbosch butcher – served with sparkling wine mustard and soft-dried Boland peaches. The flavours are big and robust, from Asian-style pork neck with braised cabbage and crispy kale, to deboned lamb rib with earthy turnips and farmhouse mash.

The meaty fare is prominent, from the grills to the burgers – smothered in classic béarnaise and peppercorn sauces. But vegetarians are treated to the piquant combinations and fresh country flavours of salads (baby beetroot with whipped goat’s cheese and roasted parsnip with pineapple vinaigrette) or barley risotto with roasted butternut and pan-fried tofu. Make sure you leave space for a traditional country dessert – pecan pie with buttermilk ice-cream or a winelands cheese platter with preserves.
Drinks
A showcase for the Malan family’s acclaimed wines by the glass and bottle – with rare vintages and special releases on offer.

Service
The farm flowers on every table are as fresh and sunny as the warm country hospitality of the farm waiters.

Ambience
This contemporary space is light and airy, with the intimate ambience of a Cape Dutch dining-room filled with heirloom antiques and family porcelain.

And…
Make sure you do a wine tasting before or after lunch – and try a cocktail made from Kaapse Vonkel, the first bottle-fermented sparkling wine made in the Cape.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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  • Hetta van Deventer Terblanche

    Food
    Chef Lucas Carstens’s food is uncomplicated, but by no means boring, and he knows that by shining the spotlight on the wine through his food, both wine and food are elevated and turned into something even finer. The menu changes seasonally. Expect to find local ingredients and flavours blended with influences from around the globe. Starters may feature dishes such as springbok tartare with mild Cape curry flavours, or utterly delicious calamari with aubergine and miso mayonnaise, or a silky smooth camembert crème brûlée served with pear, walnuts and rocket. On the mains side of things there are quite a few dishes vying for your attention: delectable game loin with an almond crust, parsnips, freshly harvested edamame beans and dark chocolate; vegetarian kale-and-grouts risotto; or slow-roasted beef short rib served with Parmesan gnocchi, turnips and carrot purée. The desserts are so alluring you may be tempted to make the trip just for that. The offering includes a chocolate as well as a feather light lemon mousse, but it’s the upside-down guava cake with fromage blanc sorbet, macaroons and textures of almonds that will have you swooning. Cheese served with homemade preserves (on the Afrikaans menu these are listed as “lekkernye”) is a good alternative if you want to finish your glass of wine.

    Drinks
    Only estate wine is served, but given the excellent quality of Simonsig’s wines, this is no hardship. The menu is created with food and wine in mind and recommendations accompany all dishes.

    Service
    Cuvée showcases the traditional, warm and welcoming spirit South Africans are known for. Staff members are well informed about wine and food and keep an attentive eye on tables.

    Ambience
    As the name of the estate indicates (“Simonsig” promises a view of the Simonsberg mountain), the restaurant is situated in the beautiful Simonsberg area, outside Stellenbosch. The interior is modern, offset by a quirky mix of nostalgia that includes family heirlooms displayed on the walls or hanging from chandeliers.

    And…
    With a large lawn and a children’s play area, families are welcome. Book a table for special Friday dinners. The 3-course meal (R450, wine included) paired with vintage wine from the family’s private wine collection, celebrates Simonsig’s wine heritage.

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  • Greg Landman

    Food
    As you'd expect from one of the most historic properties in the area, local farm produce is used in their restaurant. This brings a special kind of freshness to all the food that chef Lucas Carstens serves here; food that is interesting, always satisfying, and great to eat. Seafood starters of cured salmon with apple and macadamia crumble, and chilli-salt squid with cucumber and yuzu (an Oriental citrus fruit) make a delicious way to start, and if you feel like something more substantial, try the barley risotto with roast quail.

    The standout main for carnivores is the springbok rump served with a delicious spiced gingerbread sauce and creamed savoy cabbage, while the homemade butternut gnocchi with parsnip velouté will make vegetarians swoon. The other main to mention is the seafood linguine, darkly sauced with squid ink over prawns, mussels, and squid, splashed with creamy bisque. If you can resist the peanut butter parfait with caramelised banana and dulce de leche or the crème brûlée – one of the best in this neck of the woods – you are strong indeed.

    Drinks 
    Only wines from this famous estate are served here, but as the home of the first South African MCC, Kaapse Vonkel, and a vast range of prize-winning wines, you will definitely find something to please. Their straw wine and Noble Late Harvest Vin de Liza are among the finest in our country.

    Service
    Relaxed and professional, with good knowledge of the food.

    Ambience
    The room, designed by famed decorator Neil Stemmet, has a delightfully quirky edge with plenty of dark wood, plush carpets, an antique or two, and a couple of fabulous crystal chandeliers to add glitz to any evening. You will feel special before you have even one bite to eat.

    And...
    The menu changes seasonally, especially after their major revamp of July 2014.

    (August 2014)

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  • Food
    Seasonal country fare is inspired by fresh farm produce from Simonsig’s own vegetable, fruit and herb gardens and the Winelands. Locavores will enjoy exploring the taste and textures of local food of origin on a menu which identifies the source of many ingredients from Eersterivier trout to Jonkershoek mushrooms. The robust flavours of slow-roasted pork belly, Kalahari springbok and Hantam lamb are enhanced with traditional Cape fruit glazes and purees using an orchard of apples, pears, peaches, berries and mango. Every dish is paired with one of the estate’s iconic wines - which also go into many of the sauces.

    Wine
    Own wines only on a showcase for the estate’s acclaimed wines - with rare vintages on offer.Service Country hospitality from farm workers with freshly picked flowers on every table.

    Service
    Country hospitality from waiters with freshly picked flowers on every table.

    Ambience
    This light and modern dining-room and terrace has the intimate ambience of a Cape Dutch voorkamer from the old antiques to the family porcelain.

    And...
    The menu changes according to what is seasonal. (GH, September 2010)
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User reviews

  • Upon stumbling across Cuvée while on a wine tasting tour on a sunny autumn day, I was rather intrigued to pair the delightful flavors of Simonsig wines with the menu which helpfully states what goes well with what. I was unfortunately disappointed with the service as our waitress had little knowledge of the menu and the fish of the day was limited which is a pity because the description teased my taste buds! The surrounding of the veranda are truly beautiful which complimented the freshness of the smoked fig and whipped goats cheese salad.
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  • 8 May 2015 Vintage Friday Dinner was one of the BEST experience for us and our 2 German and 2 Swiss friends. We as Stellenbosch residents visit the restuarant regulary BUT the food and service became better every time we visit - the set menu with two choices per 3 courses was very exiting and we could not wait to get our meals from the kitchen!! We were amazed about the beautiful and VERY tasty complex flavoured dishes - enough food on the plate at each course to be too much for us ladies to eat all - but the men was very happy to clean our plates also!!! The wine service and the food service as well as the ambience with the fire and the lovely music just make the evening something to remember. Thank you for the very talentful chef and his team - we appreciate your inspiration to create this food . Dirk - manager of restuarant and your team - thank you for the excellent dining experience , you all made us proud to be South African - Manda and Christo
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  • We have been coming to Cuvee now for a number of years, usually with overseas visitors and we have never been disappointed. The price/ value ratio is just right, the service is friendly and professional and the food outstanding. We started with the seafood paella and trout Carpaccio and had the Springbok rump (recommended buy our waitress) and the mushroom ravioli. The meat was cooked to perfection and the ravioli was full of flavour. Looking forward to our next visit.
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  • Thank you Anmarie and Paulina for a lovely lunch. We ate our way through the menu and chose the recommended wine with each course. What a fantastic experience. The food was cooked to perfection and the wines matched perfectly. We have been there before and will certainly be back soon. On a personal note, I'd like to recommend the cheese platter - the best I had in a long time.
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  • We enjoyed our lunch at Cuvée tremendously. Manager must be commended on her professionalism and hospitality, staff attentive, but not intrusive, food beautifully presented and tastes finely balanced with traditional and fusion elements. We really felt special. Highly recommended.

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  • Great lunch last weekend. The manager very attentive. Great tasting notes on bubbly and enjoyed a bottle of Cuvee Royale.

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  • Sublime! Amazing food on par with the top 5 restaurants. Great decor and great wine selection.

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  • High expectations, somewhat disappointed. Serving staff not knowing what gluten intolerant is - food not worth the money.

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  • Had a wonderfull evening at Cuvee - service and food were amazing!

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  • Had a Sunday lunch and the food was excellent.

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  • After an absence of some time, an impromptu lunch at Cuvee at Simonsig proved to be an excellent choice in every respect. Helpful, friendly staff in the Tasting Room, followed by a superb lunch with the inviting fresh menu created by chef Lukas Carstens. The service was impeccable, with all the dishes we sampled, delicious. Cuvee remains a great option in the Stellenbosch area.

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  • Service & ambience is good, but at this price, the food should really be better. Even the Spur knows the difference between a rare and medium rump steak. I think theyre reaching for the snob market, but with no real pedigree.
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  • Three Danish guys had a fantastic meal at the Cuvée. The atmosphere is great, the service kind and professional, and the food is gorgeous. We enjoyed it very much.
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  • What a wonderful experience! From making the reservation till we left. Special, special treatment! In Wilma, we probably met one of the best waiters ever! Their menu is excellent and we like the idea that every dish is available as a starter or a main. I have to commend them also on the prices of their wines. In stark contrast to other restaurants on wine farms their mark up policy is something that many others can follow. Thank you for making a special day in our familys life very special.
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  • We had a wonderful evening in the private Van Niekerk room, above Cuvee. It was worth the drive from Cape Town. Top hat to the staff.
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  • After many disgustingly dissapointing eat-outs at so-called top notch South African restaurants with bad food, famous chefs!? poor service and exorbitant prices (which could have bought you an air ticket to London instead!) we had the most wonderful Fathers Day lunch at Cuveé, Simonsig. This tastefully decorated up-market restaurant offers a delightfully satisfying dining experience with a warm ambience, beautiful decor, excellent service and food to die for! Top of the list of our favourites! Dont miss Cuveé! Cant wait to be back!
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  • We had a wonderful meal at Cuvee this past Sunday 14th June.Wilma was a gracious and fun hostess and we appreciated the way in which she responded to us and to our celebration of our twins birthday, which was on that day. She guided us through the menu and each of us was more than satisfied with the choices made. The food was delicious. The wine very, very good.Our son and daughter each left with a gift from the Restaurant of a bottle of Kaapse Vonkel. A gracious and generous gesture.We enjoyed a special and happy celebration. Cuvee delivered on its reputation for exceptional food and wine, but the gracious way in which it was done will be our abiding memory.
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  • We are so lucky to have such a great venue in Stellenbosch - scenery, ambience, decor, wines and food! All 100%- service incredible - Who needs to go to Franschoek or Cape Town for that matter, to have the best of the best in food and wine.Thank you all at Cuvee for making it all so special for our guests and us!
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  • Let me say from the start that I find Cuvée, as a restaurant location, warm and inviting and the inexperienced student based staff somewhat expectable from this type of wine farm restaurant. I have raved to my team of 20 tour guides about the sparkling wine and morsels tasting from my very first visit a number of weeks ago.I have been involved in the food and wine tourism industry for many years and Cuvée’s offering of a food sample with sparkling wine tasting has been a welcome and interesting addition to our regular tours. On offer is a tasting of 4 very simple canapés paired with 4 tastings of Simonsig MCC wine. Cuvée has effected a menu change in the first week of December. The price for the tasting, which used to be a reasonable R55 has now sky rocketed to giddying R95. In my opinion, if ever there was an unashamed example of ripping the holiday season traveller off then this must surely walk away with all awards.My tour guide’s custom will most likely not be missed during the silly season because we in the tourism industry have seen how incredibly busy this farm can be over the December period. Fortunately a real award winning wine farm restaurant has eagerly risen to the challenge and provided us with a more improved food and wine tasting at acceptable prices – Guess where 21 tour guides and their guests are going to be visiting hence forth?
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  • Wow! This must be one of the greatest ways to have Sunday lunch in the Western Cape. The setting on the Simonsig Estate is glorious, and is elegantly complimented by fine food, cutting edge decor and design, and friendly and well informed staff. Highlights of the meal were the excellent baby marrow and artichoke soup and the chicken wrapped in vine leaves with a cream cheese stuffing. Wines were wonderfully pared and exciting, from the awarded winning Chenin Blanc to an exceptional Viognier. Congratulations to all for creating a feast for all the senses. We have booked for another Sunday lunch at Cuvee already!
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  • Thank you very much for the lovely function last nite.It was really enjoyable Well done on the décor, food, wine and great company, adding to the wonderful atmosphere Kind regardsNaomi, Nikki, Gigi, Shirley
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  • Simonsigs new restaurant has a great atmosphere. The quirky décor is fun and not overpowering, and I liked the variety of table shapes – a nice touch. The menu is small, which I liked. Our starters of caramelised beetroot with goats cheese and pistachios, and steak tartare were very good. Our mains of lamb and rib-eye steak were delicious, but possibly a little on the dry side. The service was great – our sommelier was excellent – and the wine good. Ill definitely go back.
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  • Dear Tess K,I am sorry to hear about your bad experience at cuvee. Thank you for your constructive criticism, I have personally attended to all the matters you have raised. Allow me to just correct you on a few points that you have mentioned, firstly, we are not a fast food establishment - in fact we state that you should allow enough waiting time on the first page as you open your menu. All dishes on the menu is prepared to order. Therefore, we also serve a complementary canape while the kitchen is preparing your meal to your specifications. secondly, the bread that we serve at the table is a french style oil bread - which means that the bread is drenched with olive oil before the baking process. Serving butter is not appropriate with this kind of bread; however, the waitron would have immediately brought it on request thereof. Thirdly, we do not have salt and pepper on the table as we have chefs and cooks working in the kitchen that receives a salary for seasoning your meal correctly. However; should you need salt and pepper, the waitron would have immediately brought it on request thereof. Fourthly, we only serve the bread after we have removed the menu from your table - as to protect the luxury paper menus books that we use. There is also no cutlery on the tables as we lay the table according to each guests dish and course they are having. Lastly, I would like to apologize for the foil that was on your plate - I can assure you that we no longer make use of foil in our kitchen. Yours kindly,Jacques
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  • The food is fantastic, the decor is beautiful and the ambiance is breathtaking!!! Service is excellent with attention to detail. I already reserved my next table. A great contribution to the wine route!
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  • we had a memorable luncheon at cuvee , service and food all en par with where i frequent
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  • Interior of the restaurant looks real classy, food pricing is very reasonable.But ……Unfortunately the service was shocking! The waiter was rude and disinterested, and the service was slow, very slow. It was a chore for him to do his job...When we sat down for dinner the bread arrived but olive oil and butter were missing, there was no salt & pepper on the table as well. We even had to wait for the cutlery. The food was all very nice, beside the foil underneath my friend’s trout.The new restaurant needs to work on service, timing and attention to detail.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Fireplace
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • StreetSmart affliated
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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