Venues

The Conservatory (The Cellars-Hohenort)

The Conservatory (The Cellars-Hohenort)
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Cost
R145 avg main meal
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Fine-dining food, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
500
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Critic's review

Cathy Marston

Food
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.

Drinks
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.

Service
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.

Ambience
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.

And…
If you can make it to dessert, the late Liz McGrath’s chocolate plate is the dish to go for.

(October 2015)

 

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  • Graham Howe

    Food 
    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.

    Drinks 
    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.

    Service 
    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.

    Ambience 
    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.

    And… 
    Go the full monty with a Sunday lunch with all the trimmings, from roast beef, roast potatoes and roasting juices to the Yorkshire pudding.

    (July 2014)

  • A beautiful, tranquil and refined setting offering all-round excellence. Chef Delia Harbottle uses garden-fresh ingredients to create dishes that showcase natural flavours. Magnificent seasonal fare has a modern and light touch. The magical setting is perfect for a romantic date or special occasion celebration. Highlights: artichoke and celeriac soup, beetroot carpaccio, and sous vide sirloin with wild mushroom risotto.
  • Food
    Inspired by the freshest local produce and using herbs and greens picked daily from the kitchen garden, the seasonal menus showcase the natural flavours of ingredients in sublime combinations of texture and taste. Signature dishes tempt with organic soup, ethereally light double-baked soufflé, slow-roasted crispy duck in honey-ginger jus and chargrilled Chalmar beef sirloin béarnaise with triple-cooked chips. Simplicity is the key to gourmet fare in the comfort zone.

    Wine
    There’s an award-winning selection of iconic Cape wines for every pocket. Enjoy a glass of Vin de Hohenort dessert wine made from the Muscat vineyard in the garden.

    Service
    Impeccable, from the sommelier to the waiters who will take care of your every need, discreetly brushing the crumbs off the tablecloth.

    Ambience
    Light and airy, with tranquil views of the hotel’s famous woodland gardens from the terrace. The interior is chic country in a relaxed but sophisticated style.

    And...
    Enjoy three signature dishes on the tasting menu for R270, or do the popular Cellars Sunday roast with beef loin and real Yorkshire puddings. (GH, October 2012)

User reviews

  • The food may be delicious, but make sure to check before booking your table that there is no wedding happening. The wedding venue is literally in the room next to the restaurant, with no real separation or sound proofing. Expect to have no dinner conversation (because you can't hear yourself think) if the disco has started. Totally not worth the money in this situation, and the manager gave us "coffees on the house as a concession, with apologies". Same old shitty Cape Town service (we can be slapgat and snooty because we have The Mountain...)
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  • My son was visiting from London with his partner, who made reservations at Greenhouse. When the three of us arrived, we were told that Greenhouse was closed on a Monday and that our booking was now at Conservatory. We were very disappointed at first, but enjoyed the excellent food, wonderful ambience and great service. We hope to be back and try the Greenhouse to compare. Thanks to all!
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  • Sunday lunch on 30 June was great. Very well appointed restaurant with attentive service. Enjoyed the Eikendal Charisma, 2011. Stunning venue.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Accommodation
  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Cocktails
  • Dinner
  • Dress code
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Halaal friendly
  • Licensed
  • Lunch
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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