Helena’s Restaurant

Cost
R195 avg main meal
Ambience
Business meetings, Groups, Special occasions
Food
French, Modern, South African
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa, Zapper
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Critic's review

Food

Located in one of the first grand residences in Stellenbosch, which dates back to 1713 and is now a hotel, Helena’s is a stylish retreat from the busy street. The dinner menu includes starters such as gin-cured Franschhoek trout with tonic jelly and pickled fennel; duck liver pâté with pistachios; a meze platter of charcuterie and cheeses; and risotto with wild mushrooms from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Grana Padano and truffle oil.

Mains offer beef fillet with potatoes cooked in lamb fat, baby carrots, roasted cauliflower purée and bone marrow; rack and shoulder of Karoo lamb with charred brinjal, fine beans, pearl couscous, chakalaka and yoghurt; smoked locally sourced pork loin with rooibos-infused potato purée, braised pearl onions, crispy fried Brussels sprout leaves and tender roasted candied golden beetroot. Portions are generous, so choose carefully!

There is also a linefish of the day served with tomato-and-olive relish, baby spinach and pea purée, and a seafood “ensemble” of West Coast rock lobster, prawns, linefish, mussels and calamari. Desserts are traditional and comforting and include “Japie se Gunsteling” – a citrus sponge pudding with home-made granadilla ice cream; bruléed sago pudding with stewed fruit; vanilla ice cream with toasted walnuts, all topped with moskonfyt; pavlova with lemon curd and granadilla; New York-style cheesecake; dark chocolate fondant with mint ice cream and raspberries; or a platter of local artisanal cheeses with preserves and home-made biscuits.

Drinks

Wines and MCC by the glass and bottle, beers and soft drinks.

Service

Unobtrusively attentive, friendly and professional.

Ambience

Stylish and understated. Sit inside the main dining room under the antique yellowwood ceiling, or in the glass-walled conservatory overlooking the pool.

And…
Stay overnight at the hotel to complete the experience.

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  • Hetta van Deventer Terblanche

    Food
    Helena’s deliver exactly what it promises and that is to make the familiar, spectacular. The compact menu choices are by no means boring and offers a balance between vegetarian, fish, fowl, beef, pork and lamb dishes. Expect to find well-known and much-loved dishes – lent a scintilla of South African food nostalgia – such as chicken liver paté with sherry macerated grapes, or a biltong salad with spiced grapes, red onion and avocado for starters. You might find more long standing restaurant favourites on the menu, for example rack of lamb served with classic Cumberland sauce, which Helena’s serves to perfection with krummelpap for a distinctly South African touch. Also in evidence are scrumptious slow food dishes such as cider-braised pork cheeks, or risotto with wild mushrooms from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Consideration is given to provenance, incorporating locally sourced artisanal ingredients, Karoo-certified lamb and Chalmar beef. A homely citrus-flavoured baked dessert called “Japie se gunsteling” (Japie’s favourite), adapted from S.J.A de Villiers Kook en Geniet (Cook and enjoy 1951), the classic South African cookbook with more than 1 million copies sold, is beautifully presented, a lingering memory to a refined meal.

    Drinks
    They offer a nicely selected wine list.

    Service
    Warm, personal service by the entire front of house team is a Coopmanshuijs signature. They really go the extra mile.

    Ambience
    Classic elegance, with old world charm, although it is leaning towards the more formal side of things. The restaurant is situated in the historical heart of Stellenbosch, within walking distance of many other restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, deli’s and bakeries. Enjoy lunch or dinner on the shaded front stoep or leisurely sip a glass of wine while sharing in the colourful sidewalk culture that this vibrant university town offers.

    And …
    Breakfast is totally delicious and the attention to detail – for example a beautiful small knob of butter, stamped with their logo, and custom made creamers – adds a special “good morning!” to the day.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Hetta van Deventer Terblanche

    Helena’s Restaurant at Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel in the historical heart of Stellenbosch delivers exactly what it promises: to make the familiar spectacular, says Eat Out critic Hetta van Deventer Terblanche.

    Food
    The compact menu choices are by no means boring, offering a balance between vegetarian, fish, fowl, beef, pork and lamb dishes. Expect to find well-known and much-loved dishes – lent a scintilla of South African food nostalgia – such as chicken-liver pâté with sherry macerated grapes, or a biltong salad with spiced grapes, red onion and avocado for starters.

    For mains you might find more long-standing restaurant favourites on the menu; for example, rack of lamb served with classic Cumberland sauce, which Helena’s serves to perfection with krummelpap for a distinctly South African touch.

    Also in evidence are scrumptious slow-food dishes such as cider-braised pork cheeks, and risotto with wild mushrooms from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Consideration is given to provenance, incorporating locally sourced artisanal ingredients, Karoo-certified lamb and Chalmar beef.

    A homely citrus-flavoured baked dessert called Japie se gunsteling (Japie’s favourite), adapted from S.J.A de Villiers’s Kook en Geniet (Cook and Enjoy) circa 1951, the classic South African cookbook with more than 1 million copies sold, is beautifully presented, leaving a lingering memory to a refined meal.

    Drinks
    They offer a nicely selected wine list.

    Service
    Warm, personal service by the entire front-of-house team is a Coopmanshuijs signature. They really go the extra mile.

    Ambience
    Expect classic elegance, with old-world charm, although it is leaning towards the more formal side of things. The restaurant is situated in the historical heart of Stellenbosch, within walking distance of many other restaurants, wine bars, coffee shops, delis and bakeries. Enjoy lunch or dinner on the shaded front stoep or leisurely sip a glass of wine while sharing in the colourful sidewalk culture that this vibrant university town offers.

    And…
    Breakfast is totally delicious. The attention to detail – for example, a beautiful small knob of butter, stamped with their logo, and custom-made creamers – adds a special ‘good morning!’ to the day.

    (July 2015)

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  • There’s a keen young chef here with plenty of potential. With a focus on the Boland and emphasis on provenance, they serve interesting combinations such as crisp pork belly with salted caramel. Great for a sneaky mid-week lunch. (EO mag 2014)
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    • Food

User reviews

  • Fantastic food, service and setting - perfect restaurant to compliment the 5 star hotel in which it is situated. What I enjoyed most of my experience was the ambiance of the restaurant, sat outside in the front,and despite it facing a busy road. Definitely a must if you appreciate good food
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  • We attended a wine pairing evening. The food was excellent - the chefs are on par with any of the well known chefs in and around Stellenbosch! The service matched the food perfectly. Congratulations.
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  • Arriving as we did for Sunday Lunch, we had a table on the veranda. Perfect. The setting, the accoutrements, the crockery, the cutlery, the everything were just right. The staff - knowledgable, impeccable, great attitude and big smiles. Attached to a (truly) boutique hotel, Helena's caters for both residents (who, I understand, have priority!) and the rest of us. Each looked after with equal professionalism and courtesy. It was a great experience! It seemed to go on forever like a perfect food journey, no rush! The food was just delicious! Perfectly cooked and well presented. And the wine, bubbles, of course! You can take your own and there is NO corkage! The manager was also very attentive and greeted everyone with genuine interest. Picturesque, delightful, lovely and amazing are words that spring to mind - and all in charming Stellenbosch!
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  • Beautiful venue, glorious food!! Will be back again soon!
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  • Had dinner on one of the opening nights. Wonderful food in a beautiful, atmospheric setting. I'll be back!

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Specials

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Beer served
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Hotel
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Serves food
  • WiFi

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