A generous bread selection is always a portentous start to a meal, and at The Conservatory Head Chef Paul Nash definitely sets things off on the right foot with a wooden bowl of fresh ciabatta, seed bread, bread sticks and lavash. From here things only get better, with a compact menu that manages to tick a variety of boxes. In the mood for comfort food? Opt for the free-range beef burger “with all the fixins”. Lighter bite? The classic Caesar salad is superb with showers of Parmesan, a deep-fried hen’s egg, white anchovies and cured bacon bits. Still hungry? It’s with good reason that the soufflé of ‘Aged Boland Cheese’ has become a permanent fixture on the menu.
They are all excellent starter options, but mains ramp up the kitchen creativity a few notches. The grilled rib-eye comes packed with flavour thanks to a topping of bone marrow and forest mushrooms. There’s an Asian flavour composition in the miso-glazed grilled tuna with soba noodles and bok choy, while tourists are kept happy with a modern take on classic bobotie.
There are a handful of excellent desserts, including the ‘chocolate plate’ favourite of the hotelier and late owner Liz McGrath, but the excellent cheese selection is equally tempting.
An exceptional wine list with a wide range of Constantia valley estates alongside icons of the broader Winelands. Excellent selection by the glass, and a handful of international labels complete a superb wine offering.
Formal yet friendly service, with plenty of staff on hand so you'll rarely be left waiting.
Despite being the more casual of the hotel’s two restaurants, there’s elegance at The Conservatory in the white lilies and linen tablecloths. Choose between the garden terrace, the sun-splashed garden room or the more formal section overlooking the hotel’s historic camphor trees. It’s a relaxed space, but in the evenings you’ll want to dress up a little.
The adjoining Martini Bar is a great option for a pre-dinner aperitif.
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At the time of writing, the restaurant was just about to change their menu to offer more health-focused dishes, along with tapas, and dishes with a fermentation focus. Think salads bursting with quinoa, freekeh, butternut, goat's feta or a modern Caesar salad with gem hearts, corn, miso, avo and prawns. Kimchi and sauerkraut will join the menu, along with springbok rump, free-range rib-eye steak, free-range baby chicken and SASSI green-listed yellow fin tuna.
For now, classic dishes, starring local produce of excellent quality, shine here. For starters, the double-baked Underberg cheese soufflé is a stand-out: light and airy yet sufficiently cheesy. Rooibos-cured salmon with beetroot, goat’s cheese mousse and an apple-and-walnut salsa is another flavourful choice. For mains, meat-lovers will be happy with the free-range beef burger served with crunchy onion rings and triple-cooked chips, or grass-fed rib-eye with crispy onion spaghetti and wild mushroom ragout. Fish and chips is also a satisfying choice, as is grilled baby chicken with mash, chipolatas, crispy pancetta and a chasseur sauce, or pan-fried duck breast and confit leg with truffled Parmesan potato, Savoy cabbage, mushroom fricassee, baby leeks and orange jus.
Vegetarians are catered for with a Thai vegetable laksa. For dessert, try the creamy wild chamomile and honey panna cotta with pistachio brittle and fresh berries, an excellent marriage of texture and flavour, or the signature Liz McGrath dark and white chocolate plate.
An extensive wine list, local and international, with several options by the glass.
Well-intentioned, but can be a little slow during busy times.
Beautiful setting with views of the well-tended gardens.
Try the Sunday lunch special: roast beef with all the trimmings for R135.
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The menu at The Conservatory is fairly safe, but excellently executed, using top-quality ingredients and served with a polish and flair which more than justifies the prices. Classic combinations of duck with orange (duck croquettes with red onion marmalade and oranges), salmon trout with beetroot (served with Waldorf salad and wholegrain mustard dressing) dominate the starters, but their signature dish of double-baked Underberg cheese soufflé is the one to choose, the soufflé balancing lightly and fluffily in a pool of tangy cheese sauce.
Main courses are surprisingly substantial and seasoned ladies-who-lunch would struggle to eat both a starter and a main. Again, the classics are in evidence, with items such as fish and chips, beef bobotie, slow-roast crispy duck, as well as an excellent burger served with top-quality bacon and some of the best onion rings ever, although crispier chips would have rounded off the dish perfectly. An excellent bread board to start and delicious petit fours to finish make for a meal which is a notch above other venues in the neighbourhood. It’s not everyday dining for most, but the little touches, the care and attention of the staff and the excellent food make this a perfect place for a celebratory lunch or dinner.
The wine list is extensive, concentrating as you would expect on wines from Constantia, but with a good range of other regional wines plus some international ones as well. Vertical selections of both Vin de Constance and Château d’Yquem will keep dessert wine fans very happy. There are plenty of choices of wines by the glass and mark-ups are reasonable, considering the quality of the dining experience.
The service is delightful and very proactive – one waitress closing a shady blind which was annoying her guests without being asked. Staff are also knowledgeable which is great, and numerous, which can be confusing, although the restaurant is large and on a busier day, the balance may seem just right.
Expect an elegant country-house feel, achieved by the full-height windows overlooking the lush gardens and a pretty courtyard. Inside, it’s light and airy and the wicker chairs make for a comfortable stay.
If you can make it to dessert, the late Liz McGrath’s chocolate plate is the dish to go for.
Chef Delia Harbottle draws on her kitchen garden and the efforts of local growers to create fresh, seasonal fare to match the green conservatory setting. Signature dishes tempt with homegrown artichoke and celeriac soup, slow-roasted crispy duck with honey ginger sauce and Wagyu sirloin with triple-cooked chips.
Simplicity is the keyword in the preparation and presentation of dishes. The menu showcases the natural flavours of ingredients, in wonderful combinations that enhance the earthy, robust flavours of the main ingredient. Expect a taste explosion on the side from honey-roasted parsnips and caramelised pears to saffron velouté or a parmesan-flavoured mielie pap.
Vegetarians are spoilt for choice with organic vegetable soup, beetroot carpaccio, double-baked cheese soufflé and an ethereal gnocchi with exotic mushrooms. Visitors to SA will also be able to enjoy authentic versions of traditional dishes like Cape Malay bobotie and malva pudding. Leave space for the home-churned ices and sorbets, or a singular apple tarte tatin with Madagascan vanilla pod ice cream in season.
The sommelier offers professional service and an award-winning wine list features executive chef Peter Tempelhoff’s own wines, as well as a wide selection of the best from Constantia and beyond.
Experience five-star service with well-groomed Cape hospitality from reception to departure, from the serving of the bread basket at your arrival to the crumbs brushed off the table afterwards.
Built around a 300 year-old oak tree, the restaurant feels light and airy, with intimate dining inside. In summer, the terrace is a nice spot for a bit of family dining.
Go the full monty with a Sunday lunch with all the trimmings, from roast beef, roast potatoes and roasting juices to the Yorkshire pudding.
Sunday lunch on 30 June was great. Very well appointed restaurant with attentive service. Enjoyed the Eikendal Charisma, 2011. Stunning venue.
A lovely venue but unfortunately the food and service are not at a 5 star level. The steak was overcooked, and in fact the same applied to the duck. A very extensive wine list, but 300%+ mark-ups are excessive. At the end of our meal no staff members were visible in our section for at least 20 minutes. When we managed to track one down outside the restaurant to pay our bill the response was quite rude. A disappointing experience.
My wife and myself recently dined at The Conservatory to celebrate a special occasion. I can truly say that it was a superb dining experience. We were warmly greeted by the manager on duty, Jonathan, and shown to our table. We had the three course winter special menu which I highly recommend. We had different options, which included octopus carpaccio, pork belly, mushroom risotto and caramel souffle. Everything was really tasty, well prepared and well presented. I would definitely return to try out some of the dishes on the a la carte menu as well. Looking forward to returning, thanks once again to everyone who attended to us and a special thank you to Jonathan for your hospitality.
Excellent food, service and at the right price. Also a good wine list, with focus on Constantia, but much beyond that. For a special occasion - can't wait to go back!