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Restaurant at Glen Carlou

Restaurant at Glen Carlou
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Cost
R140 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Bistro fare, Contemporary fare, Modern, South African, Tapas
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Richard Holmes

Food
The relaxed atmosphere belies the quality and consistency of cooking on offer here, with chef Johan Stander dishing up a superb menu of contemporary cuisine. Blending Continental classics, local produce and Asian influence, it’s a globetrotting offer where marinated tofu with red cabbage kimchi or spiced pork neck with smoked apple sauce may follow the (reliably-good) gruyere and cauliflower soufflé.

The Franschhoek trout, paired with a puy lentil ragout, is superb. Strydom aims to use only SASSI-green-listed fish, and local produce is celebrated across the menu. On a later visit the buttery pastry of a delicate guinea fowl pie plated with cooked prunes and smoked cauliflower impressed. There’s a separate menu of kid-friendly fare for under-13s.

Drinks
With the exception of a bubbly from Robertson, the wine list is limited to Glen Carlou wines, but that’s certainly no hardship. All are offered at cellar prices with most available by the glass. There is a small selection of local craft beers available.

Service
Relaxed but faultless service from friendly, knowledgeable and proactive waiters.

Ambience
Laid-back country feel in a thatched-roof space shared with the wine-tasting counter. A crackling fireplace warms things up in winter, but the prime tables are out on the terrace with spectacular vineyard views.

And…
In winter the three-course menus offer excellent value for money.

(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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  • Richard Holmes

    Food
    While other estates on flanks of the Simonsberg celebrate farm-to-fork and family-friendly dining, Glen Carlou plants its flag firmly in the field of contemporary cuisine. Continental influences are paired with top-quality local produce; think ostrich fillet glazed in whole grain mustard and served with a biltong croquette, the latter being a side that also appears with smoked bone marrow and suckling pig. Pork is something the chef has a good hold of here; the pork belly well balanced by Earl Grey infused prunes and a brandy apple jus. The choice for vegetarians is limited, but what there is shows plenty of thought, with a gruyère soufflé the standout. There’s no shortage of creativity in the kitchen, and this is certainly one of the more interesting menus in this corner of the Winelands. Some dishes miss the mark though: a potato and leek amuse-bouche leaning too heavily on truffle oil, and a springbok terrine both bland and dry.

    Drinks
    A compact list dominated by Glen Carlou estate wines all sold – commendably – at cellar door prices. Nearly all are available by the glass, too. There’s a small selection of overseas wines, alongside limited local craft beers.

    Service
    Somewhat of a letdown, given the upmarket approach of the menu. The experience was one of a mildly intrusive presence followed by curious absence when needed most. Needs attention.

    Ambience
    An airy space with high thatched ceilings, which contrast with the cool screed floors. Although there’s a fireplace, it’s a space best suited to hot summer days to make the most of the glorious vineyard views. If the weather’s fine, the terrace tables are your best choice.

    And…
    After lunch, take a wander through the Hess Art Collection of international contemporary works.

  • Graham Howe

    Food 
    The menu is designed to showcase the acclaimed wines of this modern cellar, and every course comes  recommended with a specific Glen Carlou wine. A gourmet influence shows in starters such as lamb rilettes, gruyère and cauliflower soufflé, and braised pork trotters, but you’ll also find earthy, smoky flavours evident in dishes like suckling pig croquettes and coq au vin with home-cured bacon.

    The combinations are creative and bursting with fresh country flavours. Exotic sauces and garnishes enhance the main ingredient with the likes of brandy apple jus, tamarind and date chutney or apple and turmeric velouté, without ever crowding the plate.

    Innovative, changing seasonal menus show a focus on South African ingredients, from free-range chicken and lamb to ostrich and beef. A children’s menu caters for plainer palates, while vegetarians will enjoy a hearty minestrone soup and good risotto or grilled tofu with trendy quinoa. A focus on local, sustainable and free-range suppliers shows in the natural flavours on the plate.

    Drinks 
    Here you can taste an unusual selection of global wines from Australia, Argentina, California and South Africa, owned by the Hess group of wineries worldwide.

    Service 
    Service is on the ball, with good advice on food and wine pairings, and recommendations of new wine releases from the adjoining cellar.

    Ambience 
    Enjoy relaxed and informal dining either inside the open-plan tasting centre under soaring thatch in a contemporary space, or on the chic deck outside, with its vineyard views.

    And… 
    After lunch, take a post-prandial stroll around the fynbos zen garden or the modern gallery, which exhibits works in the famous Hess Art Collection.

    (July 2014)

  • Food
    A modern take on South African classics makes this venue one of the best-kept secrets in the Winelands. The menu showcases fresh, seasonal ingredients like rooibos-smoked springbok, kudu, Karoo lamb, Franschhoek trout and Saldanha mussels. The tastes and textures come in sublime combinations with signature springbok shank in apricot and shiraz jus. Great value for contemporary Winelands fare – with salads like chorizo, calamari and prawn, and a kids’ menu.

    Wine
    An unusual global collection of wines owned by the Hess Group from Argentina, Australia, California and Glen Carlou.

    Service
    Warm and welcoming, with helpful assistance on pairing Glen Carlou wines by the glass to courses.

    Ambience
    Casual and relaxed – the alfresco terrace offers fabulous views of vineyards and mountains.

    And...
    Visit the world-renowned Hess Art Collection in the art gallery above the cellar. (GH, September 2010)

User reviews

  • We heard about Glen Carlou and then one day I told my husband, we just need to go and check them out, and boy oh boy, we were thrilled and had a wonderful lunch and couple of hours at Glen Carlou. Glen Carlou is situated in a beautiful vineyard with an amazing spectacular view. The staff are exceptionally well trained, friendly and welcoming. The dishes all look and taste spectacular. We received the nicest little tasters and different kinds of breads, while waiting for our very delicious food. Will definitely go back.
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  • The views from this place are incredible, we sat in their lounge area and enjoyed a wine tasting. Their Cabernet ( gravel quarry ) is amazing and definitely worth the drive out. Lunch was great, the terrine and the pork belly were highlights!
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  • Friendly knowledgeable staff and fabulous food
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  • Spectacular wines, excellent food and amazing staff! I would rate Glen Carlou as one of my favorite wine farms in Franshoek. The wines are all amazing, our favorite being the Chardonnay, with rich butterscotch flavors. To eat we shared two starters; the squid and the terrine. Both were spectacular! For mains my boyfriend had the fillet, which was so soft it melted in your mouth! I had the prawns with ricotta tortellini which was perfectly balanced by a hint of sweetness. We will definitely be back soon!
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  • The view deserves a larger menu plus the duck was very small and dry - when we arrived some items on the menu were sold out as well. No sole?

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  • Dear Georgie
    This was a great time we had at Glen Carlou on 19 Feb 2013.
    Food was absolutely fantastic. Had goat cheese tartlet/duck liver parfait as starter, mushroom crusted sirloin (grilled to perfection)/kudu burger (not what you expect, absolutely exceptional) as mains, peaches and cream/Amarula parfait for desserts - all paired with the suggested wines. Service was great and attentive, tasting waiter very knowledgeable in any topic.
    Some of the wines we knew already, and we liked them very much, especially the grand classic. This lunch outing on a rainy, foggy and cool day was one of our highlights of our stay in the Cape Winelands lately. Even the view over to the Paarl Valley through fogg and rain curtains was fantastic (not always this blue sky/sun image).
    Will definitely recommend it and return. Thank you again for the hospitality, generosity and the great time spent at your place.
    With sunny regards
    Franziska + Klaus Ruetschi
    African Spirit Tours, Milnerton

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  • Sharp service, a spectacular view and some innovative items on the menu make this a must for visitors to the winelands.
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  • The view is stunning from up there. The food and wine was even better. We had the duck and kudu as starters and the lamb shank and pork belly as mains. The service was great, and we are already planning to go back for the burgers. Big thumbs up Glen Carlou!

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  • Compliments to the chef. Magnificent setting, but unfortunately ruined by such poor service. Will seriously have to think twice before returning.
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  • Lovely setting and sound, well presented meals. All the Glen Carlou wines available at very reasonable prices by the bottle and glass. Our waitress was absent-minded and not quite up to scratch, but service in general appeared to be good. Only real gripe is the dullest, most uninspiring excuse of a cheese platter at R85 - bland cheeses from neighbouring farms served with Salticrax. A disappointing finale to an otherwise very enjoyable afternoon.
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  • Definitely worth a visit. The restaurant has amazing views, good food and excellent service!
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Fireplace
  • Licensed
  • Live entertainment
  • Parking
  • StreetSmart affliated
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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