Venues

Rust en Vrede Restaurant

Rust en Vrede Restaurant
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Cost
Set menu: R620 for four courses; R750 for six courses (R1200 with wine); R2000 for the Estate Experience Menu
Ambience
Classic elegance, Contemporary cool
Food
Fine-dining food, French, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
500

Critic's review

John Maytham

Food
A leisurely meal at Rust en Vrede – and it would be a sin to rush an experience of this quality – is a journey through a world where a classic sensibility is applied to very contemporary dishes; where the provenance of the ingredient is as important as its treatment in the kitchen; where balance reigns supreme.

For example, all John Shuttleworth’s dishes contain elements that are hot, cold, and at room temperature. The menu changes regularly, and every course has three options, each as tempting as the next.

The Mushroom and Forest Floor is exemplary and delicious almost beyond words. Locally foraged pine ring and chicken of the woods mushrooms and a mushroom tea provide umami heaven, and the pièce de résistance is what looks like a freshly picked chestnut mushroom, and is actually a gel covering a shiitake mousse, studded with crème-fraîche drops – almost too gorgeous to eat.

The hazelnut-crusted seabass is perfectly cooked and optimally accompanied by a Jerusalem artichoke purée, black garlic, sliced hazelnuts and the cutest enoki mushrooms – contrast and complement perfectly merged. Equally good is crown-roasted duck breast with boudin blanc, buttered cabbage and white-onion purée. A look around the restaurant tells you that order envy is rampant.

Drinks
There surely cannot be another wine list in the country that is as extensive and as interesting – all 128 pages of it. It needs its own trolley! Look forward to page after page of Champagne options – no local bubblies served here – and a comprehensive ride through local and international cellars. There are bottles that are eye-wateringly expensive, but also local and foreign examples that are much easier on the budget. There is a very pleasing selection of intriguing wines by the glass. Your best bet is to share a broad preference with sommelier Barry Scholfield and leave the detail to him.

Service
Rust en Vrede is a regular gong collector in service competitions, and it’s easy to understand why. The staff here know and care about the food; they know when to leave diners alone and when to arrive discreetly at the table. They are super-efficient and very attentive, but without losing their own friendly personalities.

Ambience
You dine in a centuries-old building that has been restored with taste and affection. Family photographs adorn the walls and the environment is warm and welcoming. Linen, tableware and glassware are of the highest quality.

And…
Don’t over-indulge on the breads. Keep some, and the sweet potato and goat’s cheese butters, to mop up a sauce or two.

(September 2016)

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  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Richard Holmes

    Food
    A meal at Rust en Vrede is not to be rushed. Right from the start, with the elegant canapés delivered to your table on arrival, chef John Shuttleworth encourages you to slow down.

    Take your time, and savour the elegant croque monsieur and feather-light falafel with your aperitif. Don’t rush straight to starters – first there are the gorgeous breads: a Guinness loaf, brioche, and more, offered with goat’s milk and farm butter. A playful amuse-bouche will follow, before you can even begin the four- or six-course tasting menu.

    Balance is the watchword once you finally get started. Cape gooseberries add welcome acidity to a pork belly cooked sous vide and served with a tail of marron; the crunch of crispy ‘Scotch Egg’ contrasts against unctuous foie gras. The standout is the herb-crusted lamb loin, beautifully plated alongside meltingly tender braised shank and rich sweetbreads and, to lighten it all, the salty tang of olive. Careful attention is given to sourcing of ingredients, with local farmers and producers listed on the menu. Unlike some of the other top 10 contenders, the menu here is classical rather than trendsetting, yet there’s elegance on the plate and a deft hand in the kitchen. A true fine-dining experience.

    Drinks
    When a wine list arrives on its own trolley for easy reading, you know you’re in for a vinous treat. With many wines available in multiple vintages, the impressive selection encompasses South Africa’s finest estates, alongside a range of foreign cellars. Although there’s plenty on offer for those with deep pockets, there’s certainly no shortage of quality offerings that won’t break the bank. If you’re dining alone, or driving, there is an excellent selection by the glass. Your best bet is simply to leave it all up to the engaging and knowledgeable sommelier, Barry Scholfield, who is adept at pairing wines with the menu of the day.

    Service
    Exemplary. It’s with good reason that the restaurant has won the Service Excellence Award in the past; the staff here set the bar for fine-dining service. Staff are attentive when needed, yet entirely unobtrusive as you settle in to enjoy the meal. From the door held open on your arrival to the hand-written bill at the end of the meal, service here is faultless.

    Ambience
    Rust en Vrede is all about refined elegance. Situated in the estate’s original wine cellar, the history of the farm shines through in the family photographs hanging on ox-blood walls and the sturdy ceiling beams above. A show-kitchen at one end adds a discreet touch of showmanship without dominating the room. On the tables, expensive linen tablecloths are laid with bespoke crockery and fine stemware. From start to finish, it is a dining experience filled with style and sophistication, yet without a hint of pretence.

    And…
    If you have four hours and R2 000 per person to spare, the Estate Experience Menu offers a gastronomic journey on a bespoke menu paired with rare wines.

    (September 2015)

  • Eat Out

    Food
    Everything you’ve heard about this restaurant is true: the service is excellent, the space captivating and the attention to detail unparalleled. From the magical bread course of mini Guinness loaves and goat’s butter to petits fours at meal’s end, it’s an enchanting experience. Chef John Shuttleworth  impresses with strikingly plated dishes that are cleverly put together, yet never overworked. A starter of pan-seared marron served in a Jerusalem artichoke velouté is sweet, earthy, elegant. The duck and pork terrine is a lesson in balance, with pickled romanesco, sweet raisins and smooth cubes of foie gras. The tarragon gnocchi with a foam-like cloud of smoked tomato purée, sweetbreads and parmesan is another highlight. Dessert might take the form of gingerbread soufflé with apple sorbet and Calvados crème anglaise. Don’t let the cheese trolley, with its remarkable selection and accompaniments of aged balsamic, grape preserves and truffle honey, pass you by. It’s heavenly. The final petit four, a paper-wrapped chocolate brownie delivered at the end of the meal, demonstrates sensational attention to detail.

    Wine
    An extensive wine list, clearly aimed at those with deep pockets, is ably presented by the knowledgeable sommelier Barry Schofield. Estate wines are not overly pushed, and suggested wine pairings work exceedingly well.

    Service
    Slick, attentive and highly knowledgeable, the level of service is deserving of its reputation.

    Ambience
    Located inside the wine cellar of this captivating estate, this is a very elegant and refined restaurant. The gleaming showcase kitchen is complemented by a luxurious, spacious interior.

    Comments by the 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards judges

    “This is exciting food cooked with confidence, often leading to moments of awed silence.” – Abigail Donnelly

    “A journey of art, flavour and texture.” – Reuben Riffel

    (August 2014)

  • Food
    It is John’s graceful food, accompanied by superior service led by his wife, Andrea, and sommelier Joakim Hansi Blackadder, that won Rust en Vrede its position in the 2012 Top 10, and the prestigious service award. As an appetiser, pure white goat’s milk butter is an unexpected pleasure when enjoyed with caramelised onion brioche or one of the other freshly baked offerings: mini Guinness loaves, sundried tomato bread and perfectly round rolls. John’s dishes invite you to engage with the flavours: you never simply take a forkful, chew and swallow. Every mouthful presents questions, textures and sensations. The combinations of elements – freshwater marron with fragrant coconut curry and succotash of corn and peppers, and springbok loin with slightly bitter berries and chocolate and earthy beetroot – are unusual and thoroughly engaging. Many of the courses on the set menu may feature seafood (such as oysters, calamari, marron, kabeljou) and red meat (lamb, springbok loin, beef carpaccio), with a nod to chicken and pork (belly and chorizo) too. John likes to showcase the world-class proteins of the country and complement them with top produce from suppliers like Steve from Magic Herbs. (Vegetarian menus can be requested upon reservation.)

    Wine
    Sommelier Joakim Hansi Blackadder (winner of Eat Out's 2013 Wine Service Award) has left, leaving the able Barry Scholfield (Joakim's assistant for two years) in charge of the wine list, which is structured according to origin rather than varietals or blends. This serves to highlight the diversity of viticultural expressions that South Africa has to offer. At least one of Rust en Vrede’s red wines (they do not have whites in their stable at this stage) is used in the pairing for the tasting menu, and it often stays at one since John’s food is elegant and the wines are quite big and generous.

    Service
    Top service calls for consistency, yet it’s about striving for excellence too. This is evident in considerate touches like a folded napkin held by the waiter to prevent any escaping sparkles in the water, or your chair being pushed in as you sit down. They pride themselves on anticipating what you may need next.

    Ambience
    After a starlit drive through the vineyards and a few last steps under the soaring oak trees, diners are welcomed and led down a stone path towards the restaurant. Two large glass doors swing open ceremoniously, revealing a haven of comfort. Upholstered chairs and the old farm-style thick brick walls keep a balance with the elegance lent by designer crockery and glassware, heavy silver cutlery and crisp linen.

    And...
    Sample from the lovely cheese trolley – or ‘cheese chariot’ as the staff like call it. (May 2013)

User reviews

  • ― Marco Pierre White, famous Michelin Chef once said: “Escoffier, whose philosophy was “Good food is the basis of true happiness.” Last Saturday night we dined at the elite Rust en Vrede in Stellenbosch and the remark above, was what we received in our food “True Happiness” Chef John Shuttleworth and his Team did a fine job of enthralling, captivating and testing every sensory taste bud that we had with an incredible array of food, from... Pan Fried Scallop served with Cauliflower, Chestnut, Braised Bacon, Apple and a Cumin Foam Crown Roasted Duck Breast served with Confit Leg, Fig, Fennel, Endive, Coconut, Cashew paired with 2012 Sumaridge Pinot Noir. Smoked Chalmar Beef Sirloin served with Pithivier of Beef Cheek, Red Cabbage, Parsnip, Broccolini paired with a 2011 Rust en Vrede Estate Shiraz. White Chocolate and Passion Fruit Cheese Cake served with Yogurt and Lemongrass Sorbet, Dehydrated White Chocolate Mouse paired with a 2012 Keermont Fleurfontein. These are only 4 of the 9 course meals we experienced at Rust en Vrede that night. We would like to mention a group of individuals who just rounded off the evening at Rust and Vrede for us. Barry the Sommelier what an incredible amount of knowledge you have and the flawless way you carry yourself a true gentleman... Head of Pastry and her team, I have always rated a meal in its entirety on the desert “and yours was flawless, beautifully presented and flavours bursting in my mouth, which I have never tasted before wow... Emma our waitress and all the other others, which served us so diligently, again impeccable... Lastly to the Whole Team of John Shuttleworth at Rust and Vrede well done, My last remark to John on Saturday night was” if I was in Europe right now, I would personally rate this Restaurant, “Michelin 3 Star” Many Thanks Lourens and Vanessa May 2015
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  • Another splendid lunch. I'm still struggling to get used to the Salmon on the lunch menu but as usual the Sirloin and Syrah was fabulous!!!! Best lunch by far!
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  • Pretty bad, dinner for 4, pretentious wine steward, salty burned food, poor service When we complained politely about the food, we received absolutely no come back at all, no sorry, no management, nothing, this was not a case of not wanting to pay the bill, but to acknowledge the problem. Overrated, pretentious and snobbish, uncomfortable atmosphere, what is the point in having ladies opening the door for you, when the management does not have the decency to acknowledge a problem, in any Restaurant one can have a bad meal after all we are all human, the problem is to disrespect your customer so much as to just ignore it. Never again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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  • In my opinion should have been the restaurant of the year. Have eaten there twice in last three months. Concur that it has the best service and wine list. Food, wine and service just excellent. Can have a meaningful comparison, have eaten at seven of top ten restaurants in 2013 and nine out of ten for 2012.

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  • Dining at the Rust en Vrede was an absolutely amazing experience! Definitely the best service at a restaurant we have ever experiened! Food was divine! Scallops was yum! Desserts were divine!

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Dress code
  • Eat Out reviewed
  • Food
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • StreetSmart affliated
  • Wheelchair

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