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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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