Venues

Restaurant at Clos Malverne

Restaurant at Clos Malverne
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Cost
R200 avg main meal; R398 for food and wine pairing; R85 for ice cream and wine pairing
Ambience
Contemporary cool, Family friendly
Food
International
Payment
Mastercard, Visa

Critic's review

Ilse van der Merwe

Food
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).

Wine
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.

Service
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.

Ambience
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.

And…
You get a complimentary glass of sparkling wine on arrival. Wine tastings can be done as a pre-lunch activity and are highly recommended.

(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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  • Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche

    Food
    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.

    Drinks
    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

    Service is hospitable, warm and knowledgeable – definitely one of the reasons why Clos Malverne has such a popular following.

    Ambience

    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.

    And…
    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).

    (October 2015)

  • Cathy Marston

    Food
    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.

    Drinks 
    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.

    Service
    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.

    Ambience 
    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.

    And… 
    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.

    (July 2014)

  • A huge glass wall provides a breathtaking vista of vineyards. Guests are received warmly. Taste the estate’s wines over a long, lazy lunch. Stand-out dishes: goat’s cheese, olive and pumpkin-seed risotto croquettes and the wine and ice cream pairings. (EO mag 2104)
  • Food
    Showcasing robust flavours on a wholesome country plate, chef Nadia Louw – Chef of the Year on the Garden Route in 2007 – cooks with a passion and a pinch of spice on her global menu. Expect tasty classics, from salmon gravadlax and prawn risotto to signature pan-seared duck breast and oxtail. Vegetarians will enjoy the delicious tarts from her country kitchen – butternut, sweet potato and apple or Mediterranean vegetable.

    Wine
    Own award-winning estate wines served by generous glassful at cellar-door prices.

    Service
    Good old-fashioned family hospitality and well-trained staff.

    Ambience
    A charming country venue with a laid-back feel and wonderful views of vineyards and mountains.

    And...
    Book ahead if you want a table on the terrace or under the trees in summer. (GH, September 2010)

User reviews

  • I was here on a perfect spring/summer day. We sat outside on the balcony area and had a great view out over the vineyards and the mountains - I do recommend sitting outside if can, but inside is also great if you can't! The food we had was amazing - the starters were really good, well prepared, looked and tasted great. The springbok loin we had as main courses were perfectly prepared medium rare and the vegetables served with it was roasted to perfection. The cheeses we had for dessert, were an outstanding choice and what we liked is that it is sourced locally. The wine was excellent, Clos Malverne do know how to make great wines, so the wines alone are a great reason to visit the farm! Service was also good with the staff knowing exactly what is going into each dish. They also have a spa/salon on the premises which I recommend as it is the perfect setting to get spoiled and pampered...
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  • One of the best value for money (with good food and some of the best service) lunches one can find in the winelands. Their set menus paired with wine are very good, the food is good, the wine is well-paired and, even if the inside of the restaurant is fully booked and humming with corporate lunches, the tables under the umbrellas are an excellent alternative. We had some of the best service from our waiter (Charles?), who not only managed to bring our food on time, but was able to give us very good advice on the wine. He knows the product he is selling! The 4-course meal with wine at Clos Malverne will cost you less than a two course with one glass of wine in certain other wine areas (Noordhoek)
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  • We had lunch there with a couple of friends and the food, service and wine was great. Their tasting menu with wine is such great value. The service was attentive and professional (thanks Charles) Will definately be back
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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Fantastic eatery. Great food. Awesome view.

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  • Dined at the restuarant earlier this year - fabulous! Can't wait to go back.

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  • 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!

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  • 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.

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  • A hidden treasure.

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  • Our dinner club met for lunch on Saturday at Clos Malverne and decided on the food & wine pairing special for R148p.p. We were very sceptical about the value that were going to get for R148. We were pleasantly surprised! All 4 courses were decent portions and the wine were normal portions served! Well done, Clos Malverne! Does Stellenbosch know about this gem in their midst?
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  • A welcome addition to Devon Valley and Stellenbosch!
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  • We have been to Clos Malverne twice now, in the last two weeks, having read reviews in Eat Out. This is really a top place to call in at for lunch, or for a special evening. Everything is as perfect as it should be. We called in on Tuesday lunch, one of the first to test the winter menu specials. Although we were the only three diners, we were made to feel special, never hurried, and every whim, was attnded to. The food is first class, the farm wine is wonderful, and the prices, for what you get, are excellent. Definitely put this one on your list.
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  • What a fabulous luncheon venue! We always find it difficult to choose from a huge menu, its a hit and miss situation, since not all the dishes can be good. Here you will not find that problem. With such a small menu, you know everything is fresh and each plate received the same special attention. We were a table of four and all of us thoroughly enjoyed our courses, from the ostrich carpaccio, chicken citrus salad and risotto, to the duck, curry and fillet. Not to mention the desserts, fondant and fabulous butternut and pistachio parfait with a very good butterscotch sauce. Yes, one can become picky, but it is very refreshing to see a couple of new combinations by an enthusiastic, young chef. The restaurant is still very new and will get sorted in no time. We had good, attentive service with wines available by the glass or bottle at very affordable prices.Everything on the menu, including the wine, was very good value for money by any standards.We will definitely be returning to this restaurant on a regular basis. Well done and good luck.
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  • What strikes you immediately is a crisp clean look, modern furniture and the large airy space. The panoramic bucolic views add to this perfect Wineland’s restaurant location.Our waitress Irene was polite and friendly but her inexperience periodically showed through her totally acceptable service. The menu is uncomplicated and all-encompassing with choices to suit all preferences and tantalizing mini bread loaves, served with herb crusted butter balls add a nice rustic touch. My Ostrich Carpaccio starter (R42) with wild rocket, parmesan and chilli infused balsamic was a perfectly sized portion but the chilli slightly dominated the flavour of the dish. The Prawn risotto (R44) with avocado and tomato crème fraiche appeared to be a bit stodgy, but my guests said they enjoyed it nevertheless.For mains, my traditional oxtail (R98) with baby vegetables and almond mash potatoes was cooked perfectly but I specifically requested no mash which was either forgotten by Irene or disregarded by the chef. It took some willpower to resist the huge dollop of mash but my low carb diet won the day. The pan seared duck breast (R98) in an orange, thyme and garlic marinade with a sweet potato was ordered pink but was served overcooked to the point of being dry.It is however the front of house that needs to be tidied up most. The manageress, Jenny, who was overseeing 5 tables, appeared at our table and asked if we had ordered our starters, when in fact we had already ordered coffees. I shudder to imagine the oversights on a really busy day. What amused and surprised us most was when a young man dressed in baggy shorts and an untidy t-shirt suddenly arrived at our table and incoherently introduced himself as the PRO to inquire if “we were happy with the wine?” Initially we were all convinced that he had erroneously approached the incorrect table but it turned out that this person, portraying the image of an untidy surfer, did in fact represent the restaurant. I am not sure what image he is trying to project but it is untidy, unappealing and unprofessional.At meal’s end we were only able to order filter coffee and tea as they had no other coffee making facilities in place yet.The toilets were clean and neat except for a wet facecloth next to the basin. I was not sure if this was intended for the guests and did not attempt to find out either.This restaurant has only been open for 2 weeks and having seen how the farm is managed, I suspect the standard will be brought up to scratch when all the teething troubles are ironed out.
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Facilities

  • Child friendly
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Smoking
  • Vegetarian
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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