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Springfontein Eats

Springfontein Eats
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Cost
R710 for six-course set menu, R630 for five-course set menu, R540 for four-course set menu, R440 for three-course set menu
Ambience
Groups, Special occasions
Food
Fine-dining food, Modern
Payment
Mastercard, Visa
Corkage
No BYO

Critic's review

Seth Shezi

Approximately two hours southeast of Cape Town, chef Jürgen Schneider’s ambitious farmstead restaurant, a modern barn on Springfontein Estate, serves a four-, five- or six-course tasting menu centred on produce pulled from the earth mere hours before gracing your plate.

Food
Anyone who comes here expecting casual fare will be sorely disappointed, because the food at Springfontein Eats is anything but casual. Springfontein Eats is what you get when Michelin-star skills are paired with a fervent love for organic, local produce. The success of this union is the reason this off-the-beaten-track spot near Stanford has appeared on the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards nomination list.

To kick off the meal, a warm variety of fresh breads with a selection of spreads are served before delicious bite-size amuse-bouches (‘greetings from the kitchen’) arrive, subtly hinting at chef Jürgen’s cooking history. After a well-timed break, the starters are served, and the much-loved local trout remains on the menu, with an updated twist. Delicate trout is served with compressed watercress and shaved mairübchen, a type of turnip popular in Germany that chef Jürgen and his co-owner wife Susanne grow on the farm.

After tasting the squid dish with tomato and squid ink sauce, it becomes clear why many people repeat the trek to eat here. The main courses pick up where the starters left off with a deliberate intensity in the depth of flavour. The oxtail is a moreish warm hug on a winter’s night, while the springbok with cauliflower is an unctuous dish with a lingering gamey finish. Along with the foraged garnishes, the ever-changing list of side dishes such as Gruberg cheese or the butter salad made with ingredients that come from the farm’s vegetable garden.

Unconventionally, even the best dessert comes from the vegetable garden. The utterly delicious sorrel soup with floating vanilla sponge is as ingenious as it is intriguing.

Drinks
Expect to find every palate catered for, from single malt whiskies, wines from the greater Hemel-en-Aarde valley and, fittingly, some German Rieslings. It would be a travesty to forget the estate wine – especially the Springfontein chenin blanc and the Jonathan's Ridge pinotage.

Service
The service is relaxed yet attentive. Susanne keeps a watchful eye over the dining room, while watrons tend to guests with the warmest courtesy.

Ambience
Like something of a modern-day barn, Springfontein Eat’s décor is beautifully pared down. Thatched roof, polished floors and exposed stone walls are accented by smatterings of vibrant art pieces.

And…
Don’t scoff at The Springfontein Wine Bar(n). It offers wine tastings and light nibbles for guests who wander onto the farm outside of the main restaurant’s mealtimes.

(August 2018)

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

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  • Richard Holmes

    Food
    There are no quick bites at Springfontein Eats, where chef Jürgen Schneider combines his Michelin-starred background with local produce to conjure up an impressive multi-course dining experience.

    Despite the casual farm locale, the cooking here is accomplished, with multiple elements in each dish delivering layers of flavour. The meal begins with a plate of wonderful fresh breads, before a succession of amuse-bouche plates dubbed ‘greetings from the kitchen’. This could be a light and fragrant carrot soup, or slow-cooked beetroot with home-made ham. But leave space for starters: the local trout done three ways is superb, as is the flavour-packed ravioli of wild mushrooms picked that morning on the farm.

    In addition to his foraging, Schneider has an extensive vegetable garden on the farm that provides plenty of organic produce to the kitchen. Mains hint at the hearty cuisine of Schneider’s homeland, with duck breast plated in a rich jus and topped with a sweet crumble of crispy duck skin. The intense oxtail is another good choice for chilly nights.

    Desserts are equally inventive, and the wood-sorrel ice cream with orange couscous is as memorable as the generous plate of petit-fours that will finally send you rolling out the door.

    Drinks
    An impressive wine list offers multiple vintages of estate wines both in the nearby Hemel-en-Aarde valley and further afield. Estate wines are available by the glass. If your pockets are deep, there’s an enviable selection of German Riesling and French Bordeaux to be had. The adjoining whisky lounge offers a wonderful selection of single malts.

    Service
    While Jürgen is in the kitchen, Susanne Schneider keeps a close eye on the happiness of diners. Expect warm and charming country hospitality.

    Ambience
    There’s a bright and modern farm feel, the exposed stone walls and thatched roof contrasting neatly with modern art and blond wood furniture. Bag a table near the wood-burning stove in winter, or out on the terrace in summer.

    And…
    No time for degustation? The Springfontein Bar(n) offers wine tastings and lighter bites.

    (October 2017)

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

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User reviews

  • A little way out of Joburg (okay actually a 2-hour plane trip and then a 2-hour drive down the coast with time to stop and enjoy the views over Gordon’s Bay) you will find @Springfontein Eats - an incredible restaurant tucked away in the sleepy village of Stanford. The kitchen presided over by talented “Flavour Bender” and Michelin Star Chef Jurgen Schneider delivers dish after dish of spectacular taste combinations which will delight every gourmand, hedonistic pleasure seeker or self proclaimed foodie - each course is delightfully intriguing with a whimsical playfulness - every mouthful packs a flavour punch which has you guessing the ingredient which takes the dish from excellent to “OMG” - true “art on a plate” in every sense. The 4,5 or 6 course degustation menu is excellent value for money with additional amuse bouche and after dinner delights from the kitchen leaving you ... well ... delighted. With a seasonal menu which changes regularly it is difficult to recommend a favorite but the potato, bacon amuse bouche, the trout, lemon, broccoli and the seafood, pea, mint were certainly stand out dishes - and all this accompanied by excellent service from Susan and her team - friendly, authentic and truly welcoming while still managing to be unobtrusively professional and on point. Phenomenal food, superb wine list, excellent service and a touch of whimsy make this a “must do” - suggest start planning your trip now - we will definitely be back
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  • I was so disappointed with the service, or lack thereof. We were seated in the Barn and therefore missed the beautiful ambiance. This restaurant was recommended to me, as I was with a group of high end guests. Each dish, regardless of filler or our order was plomped down without any description of what was being served. I had to ask for a description on 3 dishes I expected more interaction with regards to the wines, there was none. We were left to make our own choice without knowing anything about the wines. It took over an hour for desert to be brought. After asking twice. The explanation being that the desert took a long time to cook. As an experienced chef, I would have thought he would have a better handle on his timing. I understand a leisurely lunch, but this was unacceptably slow. I have dined at other restaurants on the 30 best restaurant list, and feel Stilfontein Eats should train their staff better to be on a par with other nominations. I have sent the restaurant an email expressing my disappointment, and as of today have not had the courtersy of a reply.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food

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