The menu at De Kloof is one of the more imaginative in Pretoria, with a strong focus on South African flavours and ingredients. Beef cheek and samp are cleverly worked into a main dish playfully called Cow Cow along with Nguni sirloin slithers, fillet medallions and wild mushroom sauce, while sheep head, tongue and kidney are all brightened up by apricot atchar in the lamb dish.
To start, Millionaire’s All Sorts is a lovely medley of prawn, scallop and foie gras served with a Sambuca-and-blackberry All Sort. More of a meat lover? The steak tartare with deep-fried egg yolk, paprika angel hair, rambutan and crispy capers is simply mouthwatering.
Dessert is equally inventive, albeit a little disappointing in execution. Clever elements such as grapefruit and orange gummies, rooibos gel and raisin compote feature in the various sweet options. Unfortunately, the promise of a fun and delectable end to your meal falls a little flat as the flavours could be re-worked just a little more to be punchier and better balanced.
The wine list at De Kloof is extensive and as impressive as it is long. South African wines are highlighted but there are a few Italian and French wines from which to choose. A few harder-to-find gems make an appearance, like the Eben Sadie Mev. Kirsten 2012 and Mullineux Schist Chenin 2012.
The restaurant, set on the Waterkloof golf course, is simple and elegant with a beautiful view over the east of Pretoria. However, the music selection might be a little too eclectic and mismatched to the elegant surroundings.
Service is friendly and knowledgeable, if slow at times. The staff are well-trained and are eager to make wine suggestions, which is always lovely.
Try one of the pairing menus to really sample the best De Kloof has to offer.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
Chef Hugo Snyman is in charge of the De Kloof kitchen, and continues to create some interesting combinations. Apart from a standard a la carte menu, De Kloof also offers a five- or seven-course tasting menu with beverage pairing optional. The kitchen team clearly has enormous fun naming their dishes, as is evident from ‘Alive & kicking’, ‘Pig in Japan’, ‘Mediterranean cow’ and ‘Rooikappie se ouma se koek’. The dishes themselves are no less interesting, such as cauliflower and Gruyere fondue fondant served with baby marrow ribbons, goats cheese crumble, fennel crisps, tempura maraschino cherry and tahini purée.
Free range beef fillet is served with braised beef cheek dolma, roasted pepper and smoked feta ravioli, olive, anchovy and red onion rösti truffles, grilled bone marrow and red wine jus. Desserts include rum baba with chocolate, raisin and raspberry ice cream, pineapple gel and a coconut mousse brandy snap cigar. Finally, a most interesting cheese plate, called “Cheesy Orange Field”, includes a Meebos chutney, marinated blouwildebees biltong, boerenkaas catalan, cheddar fondue croquette, parmesan crisp, home-cured Coppa ham, Gorgonzola and sage crumble, confit kumquat, and raisin melba toast.
Sommelier Richard Haupt is happy to make suggestions for wines and other beverages that will go well with your meal. De Kloof not only has an excellent wine list, but keeps an array of excellent beers, gins and other craft liquors and beverages in stock. The wine list is introduced with a section of limited releases, rare vintages and bin-ends that includes spectacular wines.
Restaurant owner Charl Whitlock has managed to appoint an experienced team to ensure that De Kloof runs smoothly. A full-time manager sees to operations while an events manager deals with all the special functions, parties and set-menu dinner requests. Service is polished, refined and elegant, which is no doubt exactly what he had in mind.
The interior at De Kloof – with walls in deep grey, touches of burnt orange and a bit of bling – is quite business-like, focusing most of the attention on the food.
The restaurant is situated on a golfing estate, so expect the usual security measures at the entrance. The building sits slightly elevated, allowing grand westward views at sunset and a bit of the Voortrekker Monument in the distance. With a slight stretch of the imagination one might feel as if one is out in the bushveld somewhere. They have also planted a kitchen garden around the restaurant to guarantee fresh produce at all times.
Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.
Diane de Beer
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.
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.
There have been some niggles in the past, but it’s getting better and better, the results of good training are clearly visible.
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.
If you’re in the mood for something more casual, slip downstairs to DK Gourmet Burger and Craft Beer Bar, which comes highly recommended.
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.
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.
Needs a little polish, but they’re friendly and sport a great attitude.
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.
The Sunday lunch menu – kids are welcome – is very popular.
I wanted to spoil my mother on her birthday, and after reading a bunch of reviews and spending much too much time on TripAdvisor, I decided on De Kloof for an early lunch. Both of us had three courses (with an amuse bouche and sorbet at the end included) and both the service and food were on par with the experience I had in Michelin star restaurants in London. The atmosphere was unpretentious and relaxed, with attentive and warm servers. We were able to enjoy our meal at leisure and never felt that we had to rush or that we were being pressured into ordering another drink (one of my pet peeves). The food was beautifully presented, with amazing depth of flavour. I would recommend De Kloof to anyone who wants to have a special dining experience. Oh, and do yourself a favour and order a glass of the recommended wine with each course - they really put thought into their selections.
Food = Great!
Service = Absolutely horrible!
Food + Service = Made the whole food experience leave a bad taste in your mouth! Won't go through that again.
Great location and very good food. Just wish that the service is given attention.
Don't you just hate it when you recommend a restaurant and it turns out to be a bust?
After reading Eat Out's review of De Kloof, I recommended it for a Christmas lunch with my girl friends. Man, were we disappointed.
Our table was in the far back corner, beside the door. You could barely see out the window through the filth. Not like there was much to see as we looked straight into the cement path of the driving range. The lack of decor inside makes the room feel cold. One of our wine glasses was chipped and the other dirty. 2 out of 4....I had the Salmon, which was way under cooked. The other two girls ordered medium rare steaks and received well done. No complaints about the 3rd dish of chicken.
As for the service, we had about 5 guys come to the table throughout the day, so I have no idea who was actually the waiter or if you could blame one single person as they must have all thought the other one was taking care of us.
Their website makes it seem like it is a 5 star restaurant, but from our experience we won't go back. I feel terrible to write such a bad review, but I hope it can only help them improve.
Dinner at De Kloof restaurant in Pretoria was under average - ambience and service not bad but the food was far from fine dining and tasteless - wil not recommend.
Even though De Kloof is a destination restaurant, it is worth going to!
The cuisine (Spur serves food) was superb and they had a wine list to match. The owner/operator's wine knowledge was impressive and I actually learned something about the wine they recommended, paired with our meals.
I was surprised to find this gem tucked away on the golf course in the middle of Pretoria. I thought fine dining was reserved for visits to Sandton or the V&A Waterfront, but De Kloof.
I can't wait to go to one of their set men's evenings!
As a loyal patron of De Kloof for a number of months and trying my utmost best to attend each wine and food pairing evening presented, I can honestly recommend an evening at De Kloof for anyone who knows their restaurant and likes to indulge. Their food is top notch and follows through on the wines! Service is always optimal and the atmosphere cozy and welcoming. If you would like to impress, go to De Kloof!
I have to start with Wow! What a fantastic experience. When you walk into De Kloof you are immediately transferred to the 1940s. The menu inspires exciting conversation and the food is of the highest quality. Table talk is interesting and enjoyable with the owner/manager being passionate about what he does but also about so much more. Fantastic wine selection and just a great experience. Spoil yourself with a visit to De Kloof!
I needed to take a special client out for lunch, but in the last months of 2011 tired of the standard offerings in Pretoria. I consulted Eat Out and De Kloof's name came up. I loved the fact that the menu changed so often. My lunch was a resounding success. The food was amazing, the staff friendly and Charl such a treat to talk to about the food and wine. The winelist by the way is wonderful! De Kloof is really very different from what anybody else is offering. I have been back and back and back again. I'm planning my next outing already. And as my fellow diners on Friday said, you do go out to eat at other restaurants but only to confirm how special De Kloof really is, and then you come back.
Let me start of by saying that we never go out on Valentine's Day but we thought that this would be a special treat because of all the good reviews. And also this is why I can't understand that we had such a bad experience. The venue itself is fine but it does not seem that special. We got to De Kloof at about 18,30 and we ordered some drinks to enjoy while watching the sun set. Whilst still enjoying the view we were ushered inside to start with our first course. From there it felt as if they were rushing us so that when it started to get busy they would not have so many tables. In a matter of maybe an hour and half we had 5 courses and then we had to wait what seemed to be a very long time for dessert. We don't mind having a long dining experience but then all the courses should follow at the same pace. Not rushed the one minute and then having to wait for the next. The food was good except for the duck which was terribly tough and did not impress at all. We really enjoyed the salmon and all the wines were well paired with the food. It would have been nice if someone could have given us a bit more information on the specific wines. The wine was always late and we received it only after the food had arrived and sometimes had to ask for the wines. Service started off well but when the restaurant started to get busy the service got worse. We had a different waiter every time. What spoiled it even more - when trying to pay our bill which was just for the extra drinks and for a tip, the card machine did not work. At first we said we would do an EFT but then realised we had some cash enough for the full outstanding amount and a bit for the tip. We gave the money to the hostess, but last week De Kloof mailed us to pay the outstanding amount which we had already paid. Terrible administration on their behalf. Maybe on any other day the experience would have been great but it should not have made a difference for a restaurant like this. They should be able to handle the pressure in serving a few extra tables. I doubt that we would be back any time soon.
We drove in at sunset to the estate where de Kloof is situated and I was so impressed by the view and tranquility of the venue.
The staff were incredibly attentive and knowledgeable about the food and wine. The wine pairing was thoughtful and brought flavours to life. I had the beef fillet which was a generous portion and value for money.
Charl's knowledge of all things gourmet and gastronomic is outstanding - his passion for the diners tasting experience is extraordinary - real beautiful attention to detail.
All in all a great place to bring someone you want to impress and although still fairly new, it will make it's mark quickly on the Pretoria restaurant scene.
I took my wife to De Kloof for her birthday. We had just spent December dining around the Western Cape’s best restaurants for 2 weeks so our expectations were high.
It was very quiet for a Friday night with only 3 or 4 tables full. The restaurant is not beautiful but it is a comfortable space to be in and has great views of the western side of Pretoria. The service was attentive and all around very good and balanced.
My wife and I are self appointed foodies and enjoy a fine dining experience, which this was not. Fine dining is about absolute perfection and attention to every little detail. Fine dining is an art which very few do well (maybe only 3 or four places in South Africa). Fine dining means your food is of the finest quality, cooked to perfection and served as artistry on a plate in a beautiful and sophisticated location with service that is outstanding in every way. De Kloof falls short here.
However, De Kloof is still a brilliant restaurant. The food was delicious! I had pork belly with sweet potato and ginger puree which was a genius combo. My wife had soufflé which was a little heavy but very good! My main of stuffed quail was excellent however the duck mousse stuffing was a little under done. My sweetness and light had rack of lamb which served a little French style with a great garlic pomme puree.
The cheese course was rubbish. They need to do some work here.
We had one dessert to share which I remember as being good but couldn’t have been spectacular since I don’t remember what it was. Maybe that was the chardonnay’s fault.
The wine list is a true gem. Rare, complex and well priced wines! It really is one of the best wine lists I have come across and very well priced!
In my opinion, De Kloof is a great restaurant but certainly not a fine dining one. It doesn’t need to be, it is good enough being great restaurant without having to call itself a fine dining one (Fine dining = huge expectations). It’s a little like Cameron Diaz taking a role as Princess Diana. Yes, Cameron is beautiful, funny, sexy and loveable but, she’s no princess Diana is she? Half the population still wants to marry her though.
I will be back and back often for a great meal and a taste of some beautiful wine!
The best culinary experience presently in Pretoria! But we have to keep it a secret to prevent our friend from Joburg making it impossible for us to get to it. The service, food quality and innovation is comparable to the best in the Western Cape. The big difference is that here you get the best wine selection at palatable prices.
I took Eat Out up on the suggestion of having Christmas lunch at De Kloof and what an amazing experience. The food was traditional fare with a modern twist, beautifully presented, mouthwatering taste combinations, and enough on the plate to keep my dad happy! While we were dining we even spotted a giraffe walking in the reserve, which made my day. We will definitely be back! Thanks again for a wonderful outing to the De Kloof team!
A wonderful evening at this new restaurant. Great service, a creative and finely considered menu, served while watching a brilliant sunset.
A new restaurant with a lovely setting but needs to improve service. My daughter and I went for brunch to celebrate my birthday. We both had omelettes. The eggs were tastless and the mushroom filling was overcooked. A disappointing meal. The freshly squeezed orange juice was a delight.
A menu that changes weekly. Great food and a really cool deck.