Ilse van der Merwe
This contemporary restaurant on the outskirts of Stellenbosch is a favourite amongst locals and international guests alike. They serve comforting classics with contemporary South African flair amidst a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and serene hillsides. Using vegetables and herbs from their own organic garden, the restaurant has a light carbon footprint and sustains the staff with surplus produce.
Although the a la carte menu is diverse and mouthwatering, the food and wine pairing menu remains most popular and great value for money. Choosing two different starters, a main course and a dessert, you can compile a four-course tasting menu with wine pairings that will give you a much better idea of what this restaurant is about. Expect to see local favourites such as smoked snoek samoosas with chilli and coriander sweet potato pureé and spiced apple chutney, as well as chicken liver terrine with pinotage grape compote, olive bread melba toasts, dried olives and crispy capers.
Main course favourites are slow roast beef brisket with carrot-potato mash, wild mushroom ragout and red wine reduction, as well as line fish with fennel and lemon mash, tomato and prawn broth, confit of leek, parsley lemon butter and crispy vermicelli. The restaurant offers standard vegetarian options as well as a spot-on, generously-portioned menu for children (ask for it).
As this is a wine estate, the wine list is limited to the wines of Clos Malverne. However, the available wines are premium and worth tasting. The wine list also include some older vintages and will certainly be a find to wine afficionados.
Staff are exceptionally welcoming, well-trained and informed. They know the menu, they really know the wines and can answer almost any question with ease.
The restaurant atmosphere is open, contemporary, airy and welcoming with large glass panes that can open during summer and cosy fireplaces for winter. Expect a buzzy vibe for Sunday lunch; it's a popular, relaxed destination suitable for big families but also for couples. For special occasions, be sure to book a table right next to the window to take full advantage of the beautiful view.
You get a complimentary glass of sparkling wine on arrival. Wine tastings can be done as a pre-lunch activity and are highly recommended.
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Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche
Chef Nadia Louw Smit describes her style as fuss-free outer-city dining, and that is exactly what the food is like – expect comfort food, and the type of meal you wish you had prepared at home for friends. The menu changes seasonally and offers an eclectic choice of dishes, ranging from Asian inspired items such as pulled pork and noodle salad with ginger, coriander and chilli, as well as mussels with Thai green curry, through to Mediterranean flavoured duck arancini with orange, cashew nuts and roasted red onions for starters. For mains, juicy seven spice-crusted grilled rump steak served with a red wine jus, or mustard-basted springbok loin served with cauliflower purée and sweet potatoes, will satisfy carnivores. Vegetarians are not neglected, and there are chicken and fresh fish choices on the menu too. Although the desserts may look like familiar favourites at first glance, interesting additions like a saffron ice cream served with sticky toffee pudding might convince you to order a second helping.
Food-and-wine pairing plays a prominent role here. Only estate wines are on offer, but with the help of eager staff, it should be no difficulty to find a perfect wine to complement your food.
Service is hospitable, warm and knowledgeable – definitely one of the reasons why Clos Malverne has such a popular following.
With a wraparound balcony overlooking vineyards set against the backdrop of the Simonsberg- and Helshoogte mountains, and floor to ceiling glass windows, the setting is truly beautiful.
Be sure to try at least one of the interesting food and wine pairing combinations on offer, such as the 4-course food and wine pairing (R298), ice cream and wine pairing (R75) or arancini and wine pairing (R95).
Tummy-warming plates of comfort food at its best. The menu proudly announces that all veggies and herbs are grown on the farm, and it certainly seems as if all the food is made on the premises as well, providing a truly excellent eating experience.
The portions are on the hearty side, but every now and then a touch of delicacy creeps in, such as the pea and mint soup with bacon bits, which is a light and subtle yet incredibly tasty dish. A great start to the meal.
If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, don’t miss the port-soaked chicken livers – a bowlful of creamy, decadent heaven. On the sweet side of things, their signature dessert of chocolate fondant with Lindt chocolate balls is definitely worth saving room for.
The place needs a bit of a face lift, but the food is spot-on and excellent value for money, served with flair and friendliness. Definitely one to return to.
All the wines come from the estate and there is no mark-up from the cellar door prices. This means you get excellent wines, many of them for under R100 a bottle. All the wines are available by the glass (quarter of a bottle in size, quarter of the bottle in price) and all diners start their meal with a complimentary tasting of the Clos Malverne sauvignon blanc fizz. A good partner for their style of food would be one of the red blends – either cabernet/merlot or cabernet/shiraz – and you should definitely try the flagship Auret blend with the chocolate fondant dessert.
The front-of-house team is organised and effective, with the emphasis on being charming, friendly and warm as opposed to being super-slick. The staff give the impression of being old friends and, considering the number of regulars, this is almost certainly the case. There maybe some hiccups (not offering a tasting from a new bottle of wine) and they can be a little slow off the mark if the restaurant is busy, but once the orders are in it all runs like a well-oiled, friendly and likeable machine.
The restaurant may not be the prettiest in winter, when guests don’t really get the benefit of the beautiful wraparound stoep and the interior can feel a bit dark and rather dated. Brash artworks with price stickers and a big empty space are a tad off-putting, but luckily (and deservedly) the restaurant is extremely popular and big family groups help create a buzzy vibe throughout the meal.
They’ve been offering an outstanding winter special for the last few years (four courses with wine for R268) and the canny folk of Stellenbosch pile through the doors every day to savour chef Nadia Louw’s delicious menu.
We went for their food and wine pairing, which at less than R250 each was exceptionally good value. The food was great, service was attentive, setting is fantastic, and possibly because we were there during the week, there was no noise problem at all. There are large glass panels which fold back completely when the weather is perfect, such as the day that we were there, but possibly if the previous review was on a cold day that could explain the noise?
My only warning is that they are pleasantly generous with their magnificent wines, so you might want to take a walk through the vineyards before winding your way home.
Beautiful view, good food, but the noise levels (Saturday lunch) were unbearable, it was virtually impossible to have a conversation and we were relieved to leave the restaurant.
My third visit to this little gem. Again the winter special menu of 3 courses with wine proved to be exceptional value. Generous wine servings and delicious food served by very pleasant staff make this a place to return to.
After a few months away, we decided to revisit one of our favourite places, Clos Malverne. It was the first week of the new winter menu, R158 including wine. We were surprised that the menu for this was set, with no choices. Don't know if this will work. But anyway, as it was only myself and my wife, we went along with it. A welcoming glass of fizzy, a starter which was a hearty spicy tomato/ bacon soup, topped with Gorgonzola. Fantastic. the mains, a chicken and mango curry, beautifully presented, and the dessert, a Mandarin malva pudding, with a Pistachio and butternut, yes thats correct, ice cream. All paired with Clos Malverne wines. A meal with wines of the highest quality. Can't speak highly enough of this lovely 'hidden' eatery. Well done Nadia.
Fantastic eatery. Great food. Awesome view.
Dined at the restuarant earlier this year - fabulous! Can't wait to go back.
A gem! Fabulous food paired with generous servings of wonderful wines and all completed by the lovely setting in the Devon Valley. A very enjoyable and very good value lunch. Bravo!
We returned to Clos Malverne early last week. An aweful day, raining, autumn and cold. Greeted at the door by Deona, who giuded us through a truly lovely 4 course food and wine pairing. Everything was stunning; the fire was great, and eventually the sun peaked out for us. This is one of the hidden gems in the Western Cape. We have never been disappointed with the food, and the Cellar's wines are top class. Thanks again to Nadia, Reona and your team.
A hidden treasure.