If you’re on your way to or from somewhere on the N2 just outside Bot River, you’d do well to stop off at Gabriëlskloof for breakfast or lunch. Breakfast is a hearty affair offering the usual suspects, plus “eggs Gabriëlskloof” – roosterkoek with bobotie mince, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. There are also omelettes, filled croissants, nutty granola, banana bread French toast and pancakes.
Lunch offers rib-sticking farm-style fare including starters such as koring (wheat) risotto topped with a Parmesan disc and slow-cooked brisket (vegetarians can opt for slow-cooked carrots instead of brisket); salt-and-pepper calamari with charcoal mayonnaise, cauliflower kimchi and pressed cucumber; pea soup; sweet potato-and-linefish croquettes with home-made chakalaka and amasi foam; bone marrow topped with salsa verde; and fried pork and duck rillettes with mustard aïoli, deep-fried capers and mustard seeds.
Mains are generous, so choose your courses wisely. They include the likes of lightly cured west coast hake with mussel, chorizo and prawn paella; a cut of the day (sirloin when we visited) with a mushroom duxelle, confit new potatoes, Brussels sprouts and a jus; pork belly (ask for it crispy if you like) with spring onion mustard mash and a piquant pickled apple-and-fennel salad; Asian-style duck leg with harissa pumpkin purée, pickled beetroot and dukkah. Vegetarians will enjoy spinach-and-feta ravioli with tomato-and-basil sauce.
For dessert, choose between a chocolate fondant with passion fruit curd and ice cream and honeycomb; a gluten-free orange-and-pear cake with Chantilly cream and a pear-and-vanilla compote; milk tart souskluitjies (dumplings) with burnt honey custard; a cheese platter; vanilla ice cream with the estate’s olive oil and salted pistachio praline; or a scoop of home-made ice cream with chocolate or salted caramel sauce.
The estate makes three ranges of superb wine, the entry-level Estate range, the mid-range Reserve collection, and the top-tier Landscape Series. You’re sure to find a bottle (or more) to suit your palate. There are also local and craft beers and on offer, as well as soft drinks and milkshakes and hot beverages.
Friendly but can be slightly slow on busy days.
Warm and cosy inside the farmhouse near the fireplace in winter. In summer, sit outside and enjoy the views over the rolling hills.
Browse around the small deli, which sells the estate’s excellent olive oil, as well as local cheeses, baked goods, sweet treats and décor items.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
Lisa van Aswegen
With chef Frans Groenewald in the kitchen and his wife Mariaan keeping a close eye on front of house, this restaurant is a must-visit on any trip down the N2. The focus is on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, which are lovingly transformed into comforting country classics. Breakfasts are hearty and meant to be lingered over: the house-smoked fillet of trout is delicate and delicious, perfectly paired with al dente grilled asparagus and poached eggs. For a local taste, the roosterkoek with bobotie mince, poached eggs and Hollandaise is a new spin. The banana-bread French toast with salted caramel, mascarpone and fresh strawberries is sinful enough to be a dessert, while the granola with thick yoghurt (almost panna cotta) and berry compote is equally yum.
The lunch menu caters well for most tastes, with a strong leaning towards meaty mains. Bonemarrow and oxtail on roosterkoek crostini is a hearty starter, or try the kudu carpaccio for something a bit lighter. Deli items of burgers, salads and platters are wonderful for an unhurried lunch after wine tasting, while free-range duck or marinated pork belly are ideal for Sunday lunch. Dessert sees more nods to local fare with modern twists in the form of melktert tiramisu or souskluitjies jazzed up with almond, meringue and orange preserves.
Freshly pressed juices are a must, while all the Gabriëlskloof wines are available. There's also a handful of neighbouring estate's wines.
Homely, friendly and unhurried – this is country-style service at its best.
It feels like you've stepped into a Tuscan villa – in the best sense of the word. Perched on a hilltop, surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, the restaurant and tasting room are set around a large lawned courtyard with a central pond. Elegant lines, vast verandahs and chunky wooden tables and benches dotted about work wonderfully for an indulgent afternoon. Inside, it's all cosy with more wooden accents and a small deli area to buy a treat or three.
The box of kids’ toys is a welcome treat for families with little ones, and the kids will love running on the lawn.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.
Eating at Gabrielskloof feels like eating at home, but with the most perfect Mom cooking her amazing family specials and dishing them up just for you. It’s comfort food of the very highest quality, all served in large portions, exquisitely-prepared, prettily-plated and packed with flavour. The menu changes regularly, with starters utilising familiar ingredients in interesting ways – try the fragrant smoked snoek spring roll with a hanepoot and sweet chilli dressing, or the springbok paté served en croute with a tangy quince preserve and raisins. Chef Frans Groenewald uses seasonal ingredients as much as possible and quinces also pops up under the mains, as an accompaniment to tender, juicy Kudu fillet on a bed of butternut mash. Their signature dish of pork belly varies in its accompaniments – on this occasion served with curried wheat and preserved peaches and peppers – but is always succulent and juicy and if you are a fan of the pig, you must try the smoked pork neck burger topped with mustard mayo. Desserts are enormous – ask for extra spoons so you can share – and again, traditional with a twist such as a melktert tiramisu or malva pudding with poached pear and rooibos ice-cream. Little ones are well looked after with homemade burgers and freshly-cut strips of chicken breast deep-fried in a crunchy coating. Gabriëlskloof warms the heart, pleases the stomach, refreshes the soul and makes you happy.
As you would expect, the wines come from Gabriëlskloof, now under the direction of the talented Peter-Allan Finlayson. Mark-ups are small, with only R15 per bottle added to the cellar door price, making your meal surprisingly affordable. It would be good to see more of the wines available by the glass - only one of each colour was available on our visit. Otherwise, a short list of beers and soft drinks makes sure no-one need go thirsty.
The team at Gabrielskloof rarely seems to change – and that’s a good thing, meaning people are greeted and treated as old friends and staff are confident and competent. Service can be a little slow when the restaurant is busy and more information on when food is forthcoming would be nice, but on the whole, this isn’t a rushed environment and you would be well-advised to relax and go with the mostly-efficient flow.
Packed with big tables of families spanning two, three and four generations, this is relaxed family dining at its best. If kids bother you or you are looking for a romantic meal a deux, then maybe go elsewhere – not that the kids are necessarily a nuisance (lovely grassy areas and a box of toys takes care of that) – but this is about wholesome, honest fare and the atmosphere exudes warmth, comfort, charm and friendliness.
If you’re there early, breakfast is also full of yum, with big, wholesome plates of food starting your day off in style.
There’s really nothing bad to say about this wine farm and restaurant in Botrivier. It’s a real family friendly establishment, with plenty of safe space for the kids to run around, and big tables under the covered patio, ideal for a celebration or big family lunch. It is, to be honest, one of my favourite restaurants and I try to visit whenever we are in the area. My advice would be to start in the tasting room to appreciate their excellent wines, before moving to the restaurant where you can order the bottle of your taste.
The menu changes regularly, but may include artichoke and potato soup, and venison carpaccio with the local Anysbos Caprino cheese. This is traditional, hearty food, but with a modern twist here and there – like the pork belly, which is always ordered whenever we come here, and may be served with an Asian twist of buckwheat noodles and red cabbage. If you’re in the mood to share, or for something lighter, the deli section offers treats like a fine hamburger and a range of tasting platters. The latter includes a cold meat and cheese platter which can easily be shared between four, offering excellent bang for your buck.
And if you’re still undecided, have a look at what’s available in the deli, then they can rustle up a panini to your exact specifications. Oh, and they’re also open for breakfast, offering the likes of French toast served with fried banana and a choice of Honest chocolate spread or vanilla berry compote. Can’t think of a better way to start the day.
Obviously the estate wines are on sale (plus a small corkage fee) with a few of them available by the glass, like the lovely Rosebud rosé, which is always a pleasure to have on hand. But there are also a couple of other Botrivier wines to be enjoyed, from farms like Beaumont, Wildekrans and Goedvertrouw. Craft beer enthusiasts will be happy to see the local producer Honingklip represented.
Service is always friendly and welcoming from a well-trained group of locals, with the manager keeping a very professional hand over the proceedings. I’ve eaten here countless times and have never had any problems with the service.
When the whether is nice, there are worse places to be than on the covered verandah at one of the big tables, watching happy kids racing up and down the shallow fountain in the centre of the big lawn. Inside, things are a bit more cosy and formal, with wood-burning stoves doing good work on cold days, and crisp white table cloths and gleaming cutlery setting the tone.
Try not to lose yourself in the bread served on arrival, baked onsite and in a wide variety, too. The farmstyle bread is particularly delicious and hard to resist. Rather grab a loaf or two on your way out at the well-stocked deli, where you’ll also find locally made preserves and cheese, sweet baked treats and some of the estate’s excellent olive oil. Really, everything here is of top notch quality.
If you are travelling between Cape Town and Caledon (or Hermanus) or if you are just an avid day tripper (like us) you must treat yourself to lunch at Gabrielskloof. This hill top venue is stunning and run by a very talented and dedicated couple. Frans is an amazing chef and delights in offering mouth-watering treats that will ensure you return again and again. The deli is well-stocked and so temptingly displayed that you will leave with an armload of goodies to remind you of the great food experience. An absolute gem.