Venues

Karoux

Karoux
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Cost
R120 avg main meal
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Bistro fare, Country-style fare
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
R45

Critic's review

Graham Howe

Food
Karoux is a dream come true for chef-patron Ryan Josten (ex-Conservatory at The Cellars) and front-of-house partner Aimee (ex Catharina’s at Steenberg) who opened their own restaurant in this village in the heart of the country. Chef creates a seasonal menu which puts a gastronomic spin on the flavours of local, seasonal farm fare. Good, fresh ingredients and simplicity are showcased on a blackboard menu which changes weekly. The regulars come back for delicious standards like free range chicken liver parfait, twice-baked mature cheddar soufflé with Tanagra cellar’s grappa – or slow-braised Karoo lamb shank with garlic mash, green beans and gremolata. The earthy tastes and textures of the main ingredient are given a classic makeover in sublime sauces, stocks and dressings, from ham hock terrine to pork belly and porcini mushroom risotto with truffle oil and torn mozarella.

The sweet-toothed should leave space for divine country desserts from quince tarte tartin to vanilla pod crème brulee.

Drinks
Explore a small selection of new releases from the Robertson Wine Valley at affordable prices by the glass and bottle on the blackboard.

Service
Attentive, hands-on service with charming Karoo hospitality. When the main service is over, the chef does the rounds of the tables.

Ambience
A gourmet sanctuary in the comfort zone, from the nostalgic old fridge and lino cabinet to the old radiogram and old black and white prints.

And…
Book ahead if you’re planning a weekend in the country - and reserve a table in the courtyard on a warm summer’s night.

(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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  • Graham Howe

    Food
    In his country kitchen, chef-patron Ryan Josten (ex-Conservatory at The Cellars) creates a seasonal menu that highlights the quality and flavour of fresh farm fare. Every ingredient tells a story. The blackboard menu changes weekly, but keeps signature dishes to please all the regulars. Don’t miss the twice-baked mature gruyère soufflé with Tanagra grappa sauce, the slow-cooked Karoo lamb tongue, or the Barrydale springbok loin with garlic mash, country green beans and gremolata. The earthy tastes and textures of the main ingredient are given a classic spin in sauces and emulsions – from Asian broths and saffron veloute to pea fricassee and rich wine jus. Be sure to leave room for the wholesome desserts, such as tarte tartin made with Tierhoek organic quinces, or dark chocolate mousse with Muscadel-poached pear. Book ahead if you’re planning a weekend in the country – this destination restaurant is the new star of the Robertson Wine Valley.

    Drinks
    A small selection of local wines from McGregor to Robertson at affordable prices, by the glass and bottle, is chalked up on the blackboard.

    Service
    While Ryan cooks up a storm in the kitchen, his wife Aimee runs the front-of-house with aplomb, offering attentive service with warm Karoo hospitality

    Ambience
    The feeling is of an intimate and gourmet sanctuary, with comforting touches like the nostalgic old fridge and lino cabinet, to the old radiogram and old black and white prints.

    And…
    Book a table in the courtyard for a leisurely weekend lunch or warm summer’s night. You can also take along your pooch. – Graham Howe

  • Cathy Marston

    Food 
    Chef Ryan Josten has served some stellar apprenticeships both here in SA and overseas, and now that he has his own place, all that training is being put to very good use indeed. The menu changes weekly, depending on what’s seasonal, and Ryan will often source ingredients such as his line fish directly from the boats in Struisbaai. Expect comfort food and classic combinations with a bit of a twist, all beautifully executed and in good-sized portions. His signature starter of double-baked gruyère soufflé with Tanagra Grappa sauce is a staple on the menu, but if they have it, try the Struisbaai yellowtail tataki with avo tartare, wasabi panna cotta and ponzu dressing, which is melt-in-the-mouth and tangy fresh at the same time.

    Mains nearly always include an excellent steak and a really good pie, whilst the mushroom risotto with crispy goat's cheese and chickweed would warm the cockles of any Italian-loving foodie’s heart. Finish your meal with sweet treats such as Elgin apple and salted caramel spring rolls with cinnamon ice cream – could there be a better combination of words all in one sentence? All in all, this is creat comfort food, well-prepared and served, by people who make you feel like you’re part of the family. The kind of local restaurant we all wish we had around the corner.

    Drinks
    Ryan and his front-of-house partner and wife, Aimée, favour the locals when it comes to wine – as they should. It’s a small but well-chosen list of some familiar and some not-so-familiar names from McGregor and Robertson, offered at reasonable prices and many of them by the glass.

    Service 
    It’s a small restaurant and you’ll probably be served by Aimée herself, if not chef Ryan from time to time. Aimée’s background is five-star dining (she used to manage Catharina’s in Steenberg) and she glides around quietly and efficiently.

    Ambience 
    The eatery is situated just back from the main street in McGregor in a charming courtyard full of arty-crafty shops. It’s a small place – around 30 covers – and in summer tables can spill out onto the courtyard alongside the fishpond. Inside, the interior is shabby-chic with lots of quirky bits and pieces. Because the opening hours are limited, the restaurant is nearly always busy, creating a happy, purposeful atmosphere of cheery diners, delighted at being able to get a table at last.

    And...
    Try one of their local Grappas from Tanagra – a great way to round off your meal.

    (July 2014)

  • Food
    The brief but varied menu changes all the time. The dishes never disappoint and all come with beautiful, fresh steamed veggies. Duck spring roll and Karoux lamb chops are favourites, and you can also expect Cajun prawns, spicy chicken curry, lamb shanks and creamy mushroom risotto. Don’t miss out on the homemade honeycomb ice-cream.

    Wine
    An adequate selection from local wineries, most of which are under R100. A few are available by the glass.

    Service
    The owners take turns preparing food and servicing the tables. Expect personal and friendly service, and no formalities. True country hospitality.

    Ambience
    This cosy little spot is tastefully decorated with an eclectic mix of retro items. 50s jazz and swing crackles from an old record player to complete the mood.

    And...
    Perfect for intimate dinners and alfresco dining in summer. (DV, October 2011)

User reviews

  • One would never think of finding a fine dining restaurant in sleepy McGregor.One would be mistaken Karoux is a truly great find. Chef Ryan delivers innovative and delicious food.The menu changes regularly using only the freshest ingredients. Book ahead you will be pleasantly surprised
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  • We had dinner at Karoux last Saturday evening, always a five star experience, from the moment you arrive Aimee is there to greet you always warm and welcoming with attention to detail. She has a wicked sense of humor and keeps everyone on their toes. The food is outstanding, I had the lamb shoulder as a main and it was melt in your mouth, perfectly seasoned and presented with flair and good taste as Ryan can only do. The Chocolate mouse for desert is a favorite of mine and the envy of the table. Our friends from KZN couldn't believe what a great meal we had in little McGregor and wanted to take Karoux back to KZN with them, Ryan and Aimee are truly as asset to our village and there food is such a treat!
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  • Food critic, Graham Howe, aptly describes the pleasure experienced when dining at Karoux. As someone who visited the village for many years, he is well placed to comment on the development of good eating opportunities in this valley. The menu is seasonal and dependent upon Ryan's weekly forays to seek out the best and freshest ingredients. As a result, the restaurant has many weekly regulars, including retired celebrity chef, John Tovey and the local farmers. Starters are imaginatively plated, and while sophisticated, the mains come in country-sized portions. Expect to find flowers on the table and in the food, a feminine touch from the super-efficient Aimee who runs front of house and is a very competent sommelier. The wine list is a local as the ingredients, and also changes as new well-priced stars are found. The restaurant is a pleasure whatever the season.
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  • Amazing food , we eat there all the time when we are town , love Amy and Rian , we are always made vey welcome. Highly recommend to folks who appreciate good food!
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  • This "bon vivant" eatery is hidden away in the tiny hamlet of McGregor in the beautiful Breede River Valley.I discovered Karoux,hidden away in a deliciously cool courtyard,just off the bustling main street (if you can call a passing donkey cart, busy) We were greeted by Aimee who is front of house and partner of Ryan Joosten,chef extraordinaire. Settled down at a table overlooking the cool courtyard and my eyes were immediately drawn to the chalk board menu....OMG,my salivary glands went into overdrive. Twice Baked Gruyere Souffle with Tanagra Grappa (local Grappa distillery) Sauce was my starter,recommended by Aimee....light,oozily creamy and Gruyere tangy, sauced with a delicate,grappa flavoured beurre blanc based sauce....melt in the mouth and had to control my fork hand,before it plunged back into this exceptional concoction on my wifes's plate as I had aklready finished mine,"greedy thing you",muttered my not understanding wife. Washed this down with a Quando Mourvedre Rose,red berries and a delicate acidity. Aimee is amazing,she is front of house as well a the equivalent of a Michelin starred trained waitron,always at your side,unobtrusively attentive. As she purred her recommendations into my very attentive ears,Hot Smoked,local Salmon Trout was mentioned...Ryan Hot Smokes the trout himself using wine barrel oak shavings,which gives the fish a lightly smoked yet does not overpower the delicacy of the trouts natural flavours.Mind made up in a flash,go and instruct Ryan I said,already anticipating a gourmet feast.The Trout arrived,beautifully plated.Ruby Red Baby Pickled Beets and a spicy horse radish and Apple cream rested invitingly alongside....for the briefest of moments,L'Arpège of Paris fame sprung to mind.....succulent flakes of perfectly prepared trout,with the lightest hint of aromatic oak smoke.The Baby Beets were the perfect foil for the trout,delicately sweet/sour which together with the pepperyness of the horseradish cream made for a lip smacking feast.Chose a De Wetshof Unwooded Chardonnay with its crispy freshness,hints of citrus,perfect! She was back again,Aimee had silently materialised at my side,tempting me yet again....get behind me Aimee....she won....Artisanal Cheese Board with Preserves & Crackers - cremona blue gorgonzola, madame fromage mountain cheese & langbaken karoo sunset,washed down with more delicious local Tanagra Grappa...oooops,should call it Marc in SA (EU and all that) Ryan now appeared looking very calm and cool with a gigantic smile on his face......he told me that he could hear me ooooohing and aaaahing with pleasure from his kitchen,I kid you not! Thank you Ryan and Aimee for a memorable foodie experience....please open up in Cape Town,quickly,otherwise I will inflict you both with my enthusiastic presence.
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  • I am one of those people who has a restaurant at the end of my high street that never lets me down. You know the type I mean - one that makes the kind of food that just hits the spot. That tickles your fancy. That has you saying: "Hmmm, what AM I going to eat?" Even though you have been there dozens of times. Karoux is that happy place for me. A couple of Fridays ago I had one of the loveliest meals I have had in anywhere a long time: smoked and pickled beetroot with deep fried goats cheese and a caesar salad with the crispest chunkiest bacon ever. Simple descriptions for not so simple dishes - fresh, imaginative, crispy, crunchy, sour, sweet, umami - all there. Add a little glass of rose from the 'something for everyone' wine list - and I walked back up the hill a happy, happy girl. So happy that I had to go back and have the same again a couple days later. With a dark and moody chocolate mousse for afters. Ryan delivers with the food. Amy is a quiet force with the service. Sitting inside or outside - always perfection. Makes me smile just to think about it. If you are in the Robertson/McGregor neck of the woods - go and eat at Karoux. You won't regret it. I promise.
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  • This is a jewel in the most attractive little village. We took our 2 girls (8 and 10) and had them eat the 'grown-up stuff' as well but in a smaller portion. The food was excellent, fresh, well portioned and tastefully presented. Well done to this chef-wife combination who communicate their passion and joy very well and may you have many, many guests returning. You really deserve it!!
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  • Karoux rates as my best restaurant ...full stop. Hidden in magical Mcgregor, Karoux is understated elegance that delivers spectacular food. Small and intimate with a menu based on locally sourced produce. Aimee works the floor with sincere pride of her husband Ryan's masterpieces. The starters were all enticing but my husband and I both chose the 'twice baked gruyere cheese souffle with a Tanagra grappa sauce '. Heaven on a plate and my palate screamed for more. With four mains on offer we ordered the rib eye with beef short rib basted in honey ginger and soy sauce served on sweet potato puree and the 9 hour roast shoulder of pork on oak smoked potatoes with caramelised apple. Each morsel was delicious....We had to swop plates half way. Both were equally brilliant. To end off our son selected the dark chocolate mousse with coffee mascaporone. We all licked the plate!!! The wine list boasts local lovelies and Aimee is very capable in advising on the best choice for your meal. KAROUX is a true picture of food prepared with passion.
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  • Unexpectedly (which is a shame, we should give our small town more credit) superb. We dined at Karoux at the invitation of a friend and were blown away by dishes which evoke all manner of superlatives, complimented in no small part by Aimée's attentive serving touch. The lamb tongue was the most tender and tasty I've had, the pork shoulder prepared to a delicious crisp (well balanced by its chard accompaniment) and the creme brulee perfectly rounded off. Easily on par with any high-profile five star restaurant in Cape Town or the traditional winelands strip. Highly recommended.
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  • My sister and I went out for dinner to Karoux last weekend. It was superb!!! The food was exceptional, leaving my sister and I wanting more...and we did, we ate a lot more! Sat there for 4 hours drinking and eating. Was a great experience and highly recommend it.
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  • An absolute gem in the little town of McGregor! Simply delicious food and excellent service make Karoux a must visit - we'll certainly be back!
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  • Finally a restaurant that lives up to it's reputation. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, executed to perfection. The great wine list of local wines is an added bonus. Be sure to have a glass of local grappa with your dessert. But MOST important, book a table to avoid disappointment. This is a small restaurant and they fill up quick.
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  • What a fabulous find in little McGregor. Imaginative and consistently delicious fare created by Ryan and Aimee in this tiny little gem of a restaurant. Don't miss out on this one. Well done Karoux Dennis Wild Almond
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  • Awesome. A hidden gem. So unexpected and utterly gobsmacked at the quality of the food and service. The beef tongue and fillet starter, lekker; the lamb liver main, heavenly. We will be back.

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  • Wow - what awsome food!

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  • My most favourite restaurant ever! Never disappoints and amazing cuisine, ambience and attentive service!

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  • Fabulous! Kurt and Andre are the perfect chef and host. The food is wonderful, the ambience is relaxed and the company is brilliant.

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  • We had a time to remember. What a gem.
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  • Sophisticated yet welcoming, this wonderful venue deserves the support it receives from local residents and visitors alike. Looking forward to a return visit.
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  • They get it ALL so right, every time.
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  • Wow!
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Menu

Set menu - Chalkboard menu

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Dinner
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Wheelchair

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