Venues

Bertus Basson at Spice Route

Bertus Basson at Spice Route
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Cost
R135 avg main meal
Ambience
Groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Food
Modern, South African
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
no BYO

Critic's review

Jeanne Calitz

Food
Chef Bertus Basson has become known for his love and commitment to heritage food, and his restaurant at Spice Route flies that flag with pride. He has become a veritable powerhouse of the culinary industry, and it was with some doubts of him possibly overextending himself that I approached the meal at Spice Route. Happily, I found that the quality of the food remains excellent. The flavours are vibrant and the presentation fresh; the dishes tinged by nostalgia. Clearly, Basson has all his ducks in a tidy and very tasty row – hats off to him.

The menu has been pared down to a brief selection brimming with local flavour. When you have friends visiting from overseas and you would like to treat them to an authentic but gourmet local meal, this is where you bring them. Here, they can enjoy a top-notch bobotie with yellow rice and pumpkin pie, or lose themselves in a wonderfully fragrant Cape Malay chicken curry, served with basmati rice, poppadom, the lightest carrot pickle, and minted yoghurt.

That is of course after you’ve enjoyed the pre-meal bites, which consist of freshly baked vetkoek accompanied by apricot butter and a whole roasted pear. The problem with this is that it might prevent you from ordering a starter, and with options like spicy beef and tomato bredie samoosas, or crispy Cape Malay calamari to choose from, that would be a shame.

Desserts also hearken back to the good old days. Choose between Bertus’ now-famous apple pie (borrowed from his mom’s recipe arsenal); or an old-school waffle with ice cream; sweet cream and a vanilla-and-cinnamon syrup (scrumptious, and big enough for two to share); a fine local cheeseboard; or a jar of milk-tart milkshake, served with meringues and marshmallows. The latter can also be spiked with a shot of Kahlua or Jamesons.

Whatever you order, you can hardly go wrong.

Drinks
The drinks menu brings the only true point of critique – it is limited to the Spice Route wines, with three options available by the glass. Surely the estate can afford to celebrate some other local wines as well? Anyhow, the rest of the drinks list offers more variety, with the CBC beers available to order (brewed on the estate), along with a short but well-chosen selection of local gins and some neat tonics.

Service
The staff are friendly enough, but the service could do with a bit of polish.

Ambience
The décor seems almost designed to disappear. The calm white and grey colour scheme allows you to focus on the surrounds: the lovely views over the Boland, the big trees outside, the sound of flowing water from the fountains, and of course the flavourful food on your plate. When the weather allows, the place to be is at one of the tables on the stoep. During the week it is quiet and very peaceful; over weekends the joint is hopping.

And…
If the food is to your liking, you can always pick up one of Basson’s cookbooks to go and replicate the dishes at home. There is no shortage of other things to do on the estate – from sampling Richard Bosman’s delicious cured meats to stocking up on CBC craft beer or De Villiers chocolate, or dropping in at the glass-blowing studio next door. Truly, you could spend the whole day here and not see everything.

(October 2017)

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food
  • Richard Holmes

    Food
    A ‘South African Country Restaurant’ proclaims the menu proudly, and the food from acclaimed chef Bertus Basson delivers on its promise with a three-course menu – a few choices per course – that gives a modern twist to South African classics. Expect hearty traditional plates dialled a notch upmarket. Starters kick off with the likes of wholesome pea soup lifted by shiitake mushrooms, or traditional pickled fish paired with organic beetroot. Mains lean towards the meaty side, and there’s nothing listed for vegetarians who should perhaps call ahead to check availability. Meat-lovers will be happy though: the sirloin glazed in that South African curiosity, monkey gland sauce, is expertly cooked, and plated with old-fashioned pumpkin tart and spinach puree – Basson’s take on the steakhouse classic. Regulars rave about the braised pork belly served with sautéed gnocchi, while roasted hake with salsa verde offers a lighter bite for warm days. Speaking of lighter bites, there’s a dedicated menu for those popping in for a quick meal.

    Desserts continue the ‘local is lekker’ theme, and certainly don’t miss out on the delicious Tannie Hetta’s Apple Tart with custard.

    Drinks
    A good range of wines from both the Spice Route cellar and neighbouring Fairview, with a selection available by the carafe. Craft beers are by CBC, situated on the estate, and it’s great to see a selection of craft gins from local distillers, including Hope on Hopkins and on-site Wilderer Distillery.

    Service
    From the warm welcome at the door to friendly waitrons bustling between tables, the service is unfailingly good.

    Ambience
    A bright and airy space with gorgeous views of the Cape winelands. Indoors, there’s a quirky blend of country style and traditional motifs. The spacious terrace is your best bet on sunny days, with wide-open lawns making this a family-friendly choice too.

    And…
    The four-course Traditional Sunday Lunch served family-style is a fine excuse to head into the country, offering homemade soups, an assortment of starters and two main course dishes.

    (September 2016)

    Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.

     

  • Jeanne Calitz

    Food
    Over the last couple of years, Bertus Basson has become known (and celebrated) for his love for heritage food, and at this establishment his roots are allowed to shine. The food treads a comfortable balance between old-school classics and modern, international influences. It harkens back to grandma’s food (if she were a truly excellent cook), but with quite a few modern influences. In this manner, Ouma Jossie’s baked tongue with slaphakskeentjies rubs shoulders with a wonderful little starter of squid, Malay mayo, miso cream and pickled greens, while a serving of chicken liver parfait on toasted mosbolletjie is offset by a dish of crispy pork with gem lettuce and parmesan. The mains section continues the conversation between old and new: pork belly braised in CBC beer (brewed on site) is served with soetwortels (sweet carrots) and a dash of salsa verde. An excellent cut of sirloin is flavoured with braai spice and accompanied by a mouthwatering combination of leeks, mushrooms, bacon and dukkah. The traditional tamatie bredie (tomato stew) becomes a playful treat, served as a springbok tamatie bredie pie in its own little pan. A substantial dish, it is kept from being a touch heavy by the addition of sweetly sour pickled onions and a fragrant batch of pumpkin fritters that would knock the socks off any member of the CWAA, the formidable tastemakers at the Cape Women’s Agricultural Association. Of course, no meal is complete without a decent helping of poeding. We settle for the old-fashioned comfort of Tannie Hetta’s apple pie with vanilla ice cream and homemade custard – Bertus’s mom’s recipe. Such sweet temptation. The same goes for the rest of the dessert menu, which includes items like a lemon tart with burnt Italian meringue, and fried camembert with watermelon preserve and peppered honey. Well, there’s always next time…

    Drinks
    As can be expected, the range of Spice Route wines takes centre stage, with quite a few available by the glass. Sparkling water is served not in the normal bottle but in a sizable carafe, with lemon – a nice touch, and even more so when I study the bill afterwards and notice that it bears no charge.

    Ambience
    The style is crisp, clean and uncluttered – all the better to enjoy the expansive views over the surrounding farmlands towards Table Mountain. Smart touches, like artistic antelope heads lit from within, and wallpaper consisting of what looks to be old dictionary pages, add interest and character. The atmosphere is relaxed and leisurely; this is not the kind of place where you’ll be rushed through service.

    Service
    Friendly and accommodating. The waiting staff seem very pleased to be here and are quick to recommend their favourites off the menu and volunteer information about the origin of some dishes.

    And…
    With it authentic South African flavours, this is a good spot to bring any overseas guests.

    (August 2015 )

  • Jeanne Calitz

    Food

    Over the last couple of years, Bertus Basson has become known (and celebrated) for his love for heritage food, and at this new establishment his roots are allowed to shine. The food treads a comfortable balance between old-school classics and modern, international influences. It harkens back to grandma’s food (if she were a truly excellent cook), but imagine, if you will, that she shared her kitchen with a younger, eccentric sister – you know, the one who ran off in the 60s, travelled the world, lived as a nudist and then returned spouting foreign words like ‘chorizo’ and ‘kimchi’.

    In this manner, Ouma Jossie’s baked tongue with slaphakskeentjies rubs shoulders with a wonderful little starter of squid, Malay mayo, miso cream and pickled greens, while a serving of chicken liver parfait on toasted mosbolletjie is offset by a dish of crispy pork with gem lettuce and parmesan.

    The mains section continues the conversation between old and new: pork belly braised in CBC beer (brewed on site) is served with soetwortels (sweet carrots) and a dash of salsa verde. An excellent cut of sirloin is flavoured with braai spice and accompanied by a mouthwatering combination of leeks, mushrooms, bacon and dukkah. The traditional tamatie bredie (tomato stew) becomes a playful treat, served as a springbok tamatie bredie pie in its own little pan. A substantial dish, it is kept from being a touch heavy by the addition of sweetly sour pickled onions and a fragrant batch of pumpkin fritters that would knock the socks off any member of the CWAA, the formidable tastemakers at the Cape Women’s Agricultural Association.

    Of course, no meal is complete without a decent helping of poeding. We settle for the old-fashioned comfort of Tannie Hetta’s apple pie with vanilla ice cream and homemade custard – Bertus’s mom’s recipe. Such sweet temptation. The same goes for the rest of the dessert menu, which includes items like a lemon tart with burnt Italian meringue, and fried camembert with watermelon preserve and peppered honey. Well, there’s always next time…

    Drinks

    As can be expected, the range of Spice Route wines takes centre stage, with quite a few available by the glass. We opt for a carafe each of the Spice Route chenin blanc and sauvignon blanc – a perfect match for a balmy summer’s day. Sparkling water is served not in the normal bottle but in a sizable carafe, with lemon – a nice touch, and even more so when I study the bill afterwards and notice that it bears no charge.

    Ambience

    The style is crisp, clean and uncluttered – all the better to enjoy the expansive views over the surrounding farmlands towards Table Mountain. Smart touches, like artistic antelope heads lit from within, and wallpaper consisting of what looks to be old dictionary pages, add interest and character. The atmosphere is relaxed and leisurely; this is not the kind of place where you’ll be rushed through service.

    Service
    Friendly and accommodating. The waiting staff seem very pleased to be here and are quick to recommend their favourites off the menu and volunteer information about the origin of some dishes.

    The verdict
    Spot on: flavours are robust and portions are substantial. This is not itty-bitty overly fussy food, and we are delighted to find it so. The restaurant is sure to be a hit with both locals in the mood for a moreish, leisurely lunch, as well as tourists looking for an authentic South African meal.

     

    (March 2015)

User reviews

  • Stopped in for lunch today as I’d read so many good things about the place. Can’t fault the welcome and the service. As for the food, I was really disappointed. I had the lamb ribs to start. They were only ok. Not a huge lot of meat and the accompanying sauce was cold. For mains I had the bobotie. My wife ordered the chakalaka meatballs. The meat in the bobotie was very dry and very over cooked. I never leave food on my plate but on this occasion I couldn’t make myself finish it off. My wife’s meal was acceptable but again, disappointingly ordinary. I am not a moaner and when asked by the waitress how my meal was I explained. She said I should have complained earlier, and she was right but I believe the meal should be right first time and not wait for a complaint to do it properly. I was offered a free dessert and a drink, which was nice, but I wasn’t in the mood to remain to be honest. Maybe I was unlucky to catch them on a bad day, although I see reviews on other sights recently making similar comments. Very disappointed!
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food
  • Check out my review on my blog... http://allthingstellie.com/2015/03/05/bertus-basson-spice-route/
    • Ambience
    • Service
    • Food

Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Breakfast
  • Child friendly
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Wheelchair

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