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Haute Cabrière Cellar Restaurant (closed for winter break until 12 August)

  • Location 0218763688
  • Phone Number Haute Cabrière, Lambrechts Road, R45 (Franschhoek Pass), Franschhoek, Western Cape
  • email restaurant@cabriere.co.za
  • Website URL www.cabriere.co.za
  • Opening Hours

    Lunch: Tuesday to Sunday 12noon to 3pm (last orders at 2.30pm)

    Dinner: Tuesday to Saturday 6.30pm to 9.30pm (last orders at 9pm)

Cost
Six-course Tasting Menu ‘ The Marriage of Food and Wine’ R550 per person with wine; A la Carte: 3 course at R345, Starter and Main at R265, Main and Dessert at R245; Sunday Feast Lunch R370
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
French, Modern, South African
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
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Critic's review

Linda Scarborough

Food
Classic food is the mainstay here, with a two-page menu of mostly French and Italian style dishes that will keep overseas visitors happy. One of the outliers is a starter of Asian venison tartare, which is intensely savoury, with beautiful textures and zing. The cured smoked Franschhoek trout starter arrives adorned with a delicious and surprisingly delicate herb-butter gratin. For something a bit lighter, the pumpkin and goat’s cheese tortellini sounds tempting too.

From the brief selection of mains, you might treat yourself with the rather extravagantly priced Cape bouillabaisse, with the broth poured into the bowl at the table for a bit of drama. It’s redolent with saffron, deeply tasty, and punchy with salty sea flavours, and the crayfish tail, mussels, line fish and calamari are all cooked perfectly – it’s a pretty intense dish. For meat lovers, the venison loin offers an intriguing departure from the norm, with a sweetly spicy honey-cinnamon jus that lifts the rich meat, and a pretty slice of pommes Anna sporting golden and crunchy layers. Vegetarians have but one choice, the risotto with asparagus, peas, mint and caciotta cheese.

Such rich, heavy food calls for a lighter touch in the desserts department, and that is successfully achieved with the vanilla panna cotta, which is studded with vanilla seeds and served with a frothy guava ice cream. Another option of a gorgeous prune clafoutis is well prepared, topped with a much more successful Ratafia ice cream made with the estate’s dessert wine.
If you plan on going big, the six-course wine-paired option is very reasonable at R515, seeing as you might spend close to the same on three courses off the à la carte menu.

Drinks
Kick off proceedings with a glass of irresistibly pink Pierre Jourdan Belle Rosé, and then move on to something like the Haute Cabrière chardonnay pinot noir or Pierre Jourdan Tranquille. The selection is limited to the handful of bottles from this estate. If you’re feeling cheeky, they might have some PJ Pops for you – yes, those are the wine ice-lollies you’ve always wanted to try.

Service
Service is friendly and discreet. Polished staff will welcome you at the door to show you to your table and check in from time to time to top up drinks and water.

Ambience
On sunny days a table on the terrace is hot property, so make sure you reserve a spot in advance. The umbrellas help to keep you shaded, but it does get quite warm. No problem there – just order another glass of bubbles. The interior of the restaurant is very elegant, cool and old-school, with white linen tablecloths and stone walls. The bathrooms take you down a spiral staircase – watch your step – into the depths of the cellar. Get there on Saturday by 11am if you’d like to do a tour with cellar master Takuan von Arnim.

And…
After lunch go down past the helipad to get a photo of yourself in a giant frame, with the mountains as a breath-taking backdrop.

(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
    The modern style of food at Haute Cabrière is fresh, with lots of crunchy vegetables, everything very artistically presented. The menu follows the seasons and the three-course a la carte menu with half a dozen choices per course is tweaked daily to incorporate the fresh garden produce. Although the meat-free options are exciting, meat-lovers should not be deterred, there is a good balance between fresh seafood, meat dishes and vegetarian menu options. Each plate is an attractive composition of colour, taste and varied textures. If you happen to visit this beautiful underground cellar in the afternoon, you can still nibble on something light – order from a tapas-style menu called “Delicious little things”, and enjoy with a glass of wine. The 6-course vegetarian tasting menu on offer is really worth a try, even for non-vegetarians. The menu is created to pair and enhance the wine, not compete with it for attention.

    Drinks
    The wine offering is limited to wines from Haute Cabrière, but with the menu well thought-out and created to compliment the excellent wines, it is not difficult to find the right wine choice with each dish.

    Service
    Polished and attentive, and the staff is well informed.

    Ambience
    The feeling is one of classic elegance, without being too formal, and definitely warm and welcoming in winter, with a cosy fireplace. If the weather permits, the spectacular views from the terrace will keep you lingering over lunch for hours.

    And…
    Main courses can be ordered in half portions – a brilliant opportunity to sample more of the delectable dishes. The 6-course Vintage Tasting menu gives guests the opportunity to experience different wine styles and vintages – a special experience.

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  • Richard Holmes

    Food
    Executive Chef Ryan Shell is one of the most underrated chefs in the valley, delivering some truly inspired Cape country cuisine at this cellar-door restaurant. It’s a rare diner that’ll be disappointed here, once you’re past the conundrum of what to order. A straightforward à la carte menu offers a half-dozen choices per course, while the numerous tasting options include a menu paired with estate wines, the tapas-style 'Delicious Little Things' menu, a 'Taste of the Season' lunch menu and a vegetarian tasting menu. It’s this last that is perhaps the most interesting, and Shell is turning out arguably some of the most creative meat-free cuisine in the Cape. The recent planting of the restaurant’s vegetable garden nearby will surely only strengthen this aspect of his menu. But carnivores need not stay away. The springbok, beef and lamb dishes pair beautifully with the estate’s pinot noir, and Shell manages a perfect balance between the delicacy of fine dining and the enjoyment of a generous, delicious dining experience.

    Drinks
    The wine selection is limited to the Haute Cabrière Estate, but that’s certainly no hardship. The Von Arnim family are famed for their bubblies, so an aperitif of the Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose is all but essential. Their pinot noir is also excellent, and pairs well with much of the menu.

    Service
    Excellent, with just the right touch of formality to suit the upmarket space. Waitresses are adept at explaining the accomplished dishes emerging from the kitchen.

    Ambience
    It’s a fairly formal space with long tables draped in white tablecloths and apron-clad staff. With the low, arched ceilings and views into the cellar, a table by the fireside is a glorious thing in wintertime. It’s a cool respite in summer too, but if the weather plays ball there are a handful of terrace tables with wonderful valley views.

    And...
    The Saturday morning cellar tours and sabrage demonstration are legendary in these parts, and make a fine warm-up act to lunch.

    (July 2014)

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  • Chef Ryan Shell’s deft use of unique ingredients and fresh seasonal produce display his imagination and mastery of classic techniques. Stand-out dishes: spiced sweet potato soup with coconut foam and rye croutons; garlic-crusted lamb loin; and assiette of aubergine. (EO mag 2014)
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  • Food
    The kitchen is under the sure hand of Ryan Shell, who makes food that is never precious but still great to look at and eat. Starters include things like spiced Karoo lamb tartare with caper and raisin purée; pumpkin and lemon grass risotto with walnut and crème fraiche mousse, which is tangy and rich at the same time; and an assiette of oysters, smoked and au natural with apple and Tobasco sorbet and truffle Hollandaise. It’s quite an experience. Imaginative mains run the gamut from venison to beef fillet, from salmon trout with roasted apple to pan-fried hake given a serious fillip with wild mushroom open lasagne, and pickled mussel and wild cucumber salad. The standout dessert is the pinot noir-poached pear and walnut sponge. Dishes have been carefully prepared to complement the famous wines of the estate.

    Wine
    The fabulous wines and bubblies of the estate are the star attraction.

    Service
    About as slick as you can get.

    Ambience
    Set inside the mountain cellar, with great glass windows overlooking the thousands of barrels of maturing wine, the atmosphere is elegant and almost church-like without being sombre in any way. You could be in a mountain hideaway somewhere in Europe until you step outside and survey the spectacular view of the valley.

    And...
    Courses are available in full and half portions. (GL, October 2012)
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User reviews

  • Wow - a beautiful stunning restaurant! Good service and just a stunning view of snow on the mountains! Food was more than brilliant! The pork belly and fillet were definitely a firm favourite! And that chocolate dessert - yummy! Definitely going back!

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  • Utterly awful service, no drinks service offered, we had to ask. Food served tepid and/or cold. Wine pairings not particularly brilliant. And utterly awful dessert.
    For a restaurant that has always been so reliable and good, our anniversary lunch proved to be a huge let down. There is clearly a staff/service/management issue, which is compounded by inconsistent food. Such a pity.

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  • A must visit when we visit South Africa. Will go on our next trip to Franschhoek next week.
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  • Fine dining? Its a bit of a factory canteen ambience. The quality of the food is good, but not overly ambitious.And the service - oh my God. We got the first course and the wine came later. With the 2nd course our waitress spilled the wine over the table.With the dessert we got the rest out of the bottle, but the sparkling wine had cork in it.
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  • Went for lunch at Haute Cabriere after hearing so much about it. And all 3 of us were disappointed in food. I never complain about prices but today I felt ripped off with 2 small ravioli for R66 - itd be fine if there was some flavour to it and at least make fresh pesto every 3 days, use the old one to cook with. The front staff were amazing, the rest of the food was ok. When you read on the menu you do expect what you just read, not a complete suprise - which was not a good suprise. Sorry to say, you have to shape it up. And do proper costing.
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  • Another wonderful meal at Haute Cabriere. Food is delicious and clearly lovingly prepared - and the menu allows you to choose between starter and main portions of everything. Wines are excellent - by the glass or the bottle.The service was okay - a little slow on occasions and not quite as attentive as it might be.Being in a cellar the sound does tend to be contained so the restaurant can get quite loud and one may have to shout a bit to beat the volume coming from other diners! But if youre there for good food, dont let this detract from the pleasure of the eating experience.
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  • What a treat! Fantastic experience, from the well-trained waiters, to the food which is prepared with love. The whole set-up is geared for real food-lovers, as they make sharing really easy. Order a couple of the half-portions to share.
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  • what a let down. the service was very average. the place was very hot and noisy. no background music to cover other peoples conversations. As for the food after starting with sand in the salad (not even a sorry after i complained to the waitress) a ridiculously small lamb dish (2 cubes, so less than a chop for R70) it was a big let down. the veal dish with mushroom risotto was better, but globally it was a big disappointment.
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Facilities

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

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