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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