Venues

Overgaauw Restaurant

Overgaauw Restaurant
Write a Review
Cost
R300 set menu per person
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
Bistro fare, Country-style fare

Critic's review

Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche

Food
The concept is kept simple: a three-course menu is served from Friday (Thursdays in high season) to Sunday, based on what is available locally and in season. Chef owner Jason Comins describes his cooking as “simple and straightforward”, but his uncomplicated dishes that focus on bringing out the best natural flavours and complementing them with just the right amount of seasoning, herbs or aromatics, comes only after years of practice and from the hand of a great chef. Expect to whet your appetite with starters such as a warm creamy cauliflower and chorizo soup on a chilly day, or a beautiful deep-red beetroot tarte Tatin, with sour cream for starters.

For your main course choose a slow-cooked meat dish, such as shoulder of Karoo lamb served with crushed root vegetables and a crisp salad. Gremolata is served family-style, on the table for guests to help themselves. Dessert is kept simple, with classics such as feather-light coconut-flavoured floating islands, the perfect end after a long day at a farm table. For a lighter lunch option charcuterie and cheese from local producers may be ordered in advance, upon reservation.

Drinks
The wine list features the wine from the farm, is well-priced and also includes a more exotic cultivar like Sylvaner, not often spotted on a local wine list. Where the farm’s own selection falls short, a few wine options from friends and neighbours are included such Rose and MCC.

Service
Welcomed warmly, greeted at the car, the service reminds of visiting hospitable family on the farm.

Ambience
The restaurant kitchen is in the original stables. On rainy days guests may be seated on the veranda at the back of the kitchen or in the adjoining larger venue, catering for groups, weddings and birthdays. A visit on a beautiful sunny day, with guests seated casually under the trees, is really what the heart and soul of this restaurant is all about – no pretence, no fancy frills, no expensive tableware or manicured gardens, but a relaxed farm table with great tasting food.

And…
The restaurant is closed for four months during winter when the chef works overseas, so plan your visit carefully.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • John Maytham

    Food
    What a wonderful find! An (almost) traditional Sunday lunch in the most perfect rustic setting, without the tyranny of having to choose from a menu. Jason Comins has taken over the Restaurant at Overgaauw from sister Camilla and brother-in-law, Russel Wasserfall, after previously being a cooking partner. Four days a week he offers a set three-course menu that is blessedly free of modern tricks and fancies, and equally blessedly emblematic of the approach that honours simple but excellently sourced ingredients by preparing them with great skill and classic techniques. Jason spends the South African winter cooking at a Norwegian fishing lodge, from where he sources the salmon that he cures himself, and presents alongside homemade pickles, horseradish cream, deep-fried capers and a green salad. There’s also a basket of home-baked seed bread and a glass of Akvavit. It is an assemblage that provides lip-smacking satisfaction. The salmon is light-years away from the corporate-tasting fish one might buy at an upmarket retailer. This is the real deal. This might be followed by perfectly cooked fillet, served with a classic Bernaise sauce, roast potatoes and a medley of toasted sesame seed-topped beans and broccoli. From an adjoining table comes the comment, “Hierdie greens is awesome, nè?” And for dessert, a Pudim de Molotov – a traditional egg white flan from Portugal, served with caramel sauce and a homemade berry ice cream. The Molotov is gossamer-light and refreshing and is the perfect coda to a very, very good meal.

    Drinks
    There is a small selection of craft beers; and the Overgaauw wines are all available – not enough of them by the glass. The fillet and Bearnaise sauce cries out for the accompaniment of a glass of Tria Corda, and the drive home afterwards means ordering a bottle is not a wise choice. Surely it should be possible for each of the wines to be served by the glass?

    Service
    Service is sweetly friendly and charming. The smiles are genuine, and the desire to please obvious.

    Ambience
    The tables are set outside, under trees and lean-to’s. The view of the Stellenbosch mountains is delightful; there’s plenty of open grass for the children to play on without disturbing other guests. It’s bucolic and tranquil and divine.

    And…
    Jason has a regular customer who is a vegan, and is very happy to conjure up an alternative menu for those who avoid animal products. His potato pie is legendary.

    (September 2015)

  • John Maytham

    Food
    What a wonderful find! An (almost) traditional Sunday lunch in the most perfect rustic setting, without the tyranny of having to choose from a menu. Jason Comins has taken over the Restaurant at Overgaauw from sister Camilla and brother-in-law, Russel Wasserfall, after previously being a cooking partner. Four days a week he offers a set three-course menu that is blessedly free of modern tricks and fancies, and equally blessedly emblematic of the approach that honours simple but excellently sourced ingredients by preparing them with great skill and classic techniques. Jason spends the South African winter cooking at a Norwegian fishing lodge, from where he sources the salmon that he cures himself, and presents alongside homemade pickles, horseradish cream, deep-fried capers and a green salad. There’s also a basket of home-baked seed bread and a glass of Akvavit. It is an assemblage that provides lip-smacking satisfaction. The salmon is light-years away from the corporate-tasting fish one might buy at an upmarket retailer. This is the real deal. This might be followed by perfectly cooked fillet, served with a classic Bernaise sauce, roast potatoes and a medley of toasted sesame seed-topped beans and broccoli. From an adjoining table comes the comment, “Hierdie greens is awesome, nè?” And for dessert, a Pudim de Molotov – a traditional egg white flan from Portugal, served with caramel sauce and a homemade berry ice cream. The Molotov is gossamer-light and refreshing and is the perfect coda to a very, very good meal.

    Drinks
    There is a small selection of craft beers; and the Overgaauw wines are all available – not enough of them by the glass. The fillet and Bearnaise sauce cries out for the accompaniment of a glass of Tria Corda, and the drive home afterwards means ordering a bottle is not a wise choice. Surely it should be possible for each of the wines to be served by the glass?

    Service
    Service is sweetly friendly and charming. The smiles are genuine, and the desire to please obvious.

    Ambience
    The tables are set outside, under trees and lean-to’s. The view of the Stellenbosch mountains is delightful; there’s plenty of open grass for the children to play on without disturbing other guests. It’s bucolic and tranquil and divine.

    And …
    Jason has a regular customer who is a vegan, and is very happy to conjure up an alternative menu for those who avoid animal products. His potato pie is legendary.

  • Linda Scarborough

    The people
    Camilla Comins and Russel Wasserfall first won our attention when their eatery The Table at De Meye was named the best country-style restaurant in 2011. They’re now bringing a restaurant to life on the family-run Overgaauw Wine Farm just outside Stellenbosch. Camilla cooks in what used to be the farm’s vinegar room in the circa-1905 stable, while her husband, Russel, plays a most amiable host.

    The food
    Looking around for local, seasonal ingredients and phoning suppliers to see what’s available from her network allows Camilla to conjure up Friday, Saturday and Sunday lunch menus that show off the region’s bounty.

    For our Saturday visit, starters arrive on multiple platters. The poor-man’s caviar – luminous lumpfish roe on a bed of cream and eggs – is unusual and surprisingly tasty. We are invited to scoop it onto fresh ‘slipper bread’ spread with farm butter from a cool terracotta pot. (Camilla’s brother and baker, Jason, uses half bread flour and half cake flour for a sweeter crumb in this ciabatta-style loaf.) This dish’s richness is deftly played down with a plate of earthy, roasted aubergine slices, caramelised on the edges and tender in the centre. Russel tells us they’re dressed in olive oil from the grove of remarkably tall and luscious looking olive trees up the hill on the farm.

    For mains, an intriguing side dish of cauliflower florets, sunflower sprouts, currants and capers is served with a fresh salad of artichokes, tender beans and baby greens from Steve the Magic Man. Spoonfuls of slow-cooked tomatoey borlotti beans (with kick of chilli) taste like warm, hearty home.

    But the centrepiece of it all is the flawlessly cooked and seasoned lamb, reared by Charles Back on Fairview Farm. Everything is so well dressed and flavoured, in fact, that the black pepper grinder and bowl of salt flakes are relegated to mere table ornaments.

    After a welcome digestive interlude, in which two baby praying mantises come to pay their respects, our deceptively light ‘mallowtofs’ arrive. To make this dessert, Camilla whipped up a soft meringue and, just before popping it into the oven, swirled in some hot caramel. (Mercy!) This marshmallow-meringue-mousse confection is served with vanilla crème anglaise and tart granadilla ice cream made from bags of spare fruit donated by a kind neighbour.

    The drinks
    A handful of craft beers and estate wines are on offer, with pairing suggestions made to match the menu. We find refreshment in the crisp, citrusy Overgaauw Sauvignon Blanc to accompany our starters and the beautifully smooth Overgaauw Shepherd’s Cottage red blend to complement the lamb.

    The service
    Russel is the epitome of charm and consideration. His ready wit is offset by his gentle speech and a generosity of spirit that sets you quite at ease. The other servers are unfailingly polite and sweet, too. You can lose all sense of time while sitting under the trees admiring the view, but dishes seem to arrive just when they should and the drinks appear within seconds of being ordered. You serve yourself from platters and it really feels like a family affair: nobody minds if you pick at the salad with your fingers or reach across to spear the last sliver of lamb.

    The ambience
    A relaxed country atmosphere prevails, so if you prefer your restaurants sleek, slick and chic then Overgaauw is not for you. It’s near 40 degrees on the day we visit, but the wooden tables dotted on the slightly raised ground under the trees gives diners access to a very welcome zephyr (as Russel describes it) and the most spectacular mountain vista. In keeping with the understated and unfussy food, the tables are bare but for a vase of roses and the essential cutlery and crockery. Little potted flowers dot the edge of the ‘dining room’ formed with old railway sleepers on one side and wooden wine crates at the back. Everything is charmingly farmy.

    The verdict
    I had to think hard to find something – anything – not overwhelmingly positive to say, but all I’ve got is the paper napkins. Yes, they were slightly better than tissue serviettes, but some proper linen might suit the setting better and be less prone to floating away on a breeze. (Note: I have since heard from the restaurant that these napkins are chosen because they’re bio-degradeable and compostible, and use less water and fewer chemicals than laundering traditional linen.) But as for the rest, it’s difficult to fault the Overgaauw experience for a beautiful and eminently satisfying country lunch.

    (February 2014)

User reviews

  • What a beautiful lunch we had! The highlight was the tomato tarte tatin - the tomatoes were so sweet and bursting with flavour. Also loved the potatoes. It's a set menu each day, and country-style food - what you might expect if your grandmother was cooking - if your grandmother happened to be an excellent cook, and aware of such dishes as tarte tatin. Great option for outdoor dining in Stellenbosch.

    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Don't tell anyone, let's keep this a secret...
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

Menu

Set menu - 3 Course set menu

Facilities

  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Smoking
  • WiFi

Write a review

Nearby Restaurants

Featured restaurants

Eatout