Venues

The Restaurant at Waterkloof

The Restaurant at Waterkloof
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Cost
R370 for two courses; R480 for three courses; R900 for six course degustation menu (R1100 with wine)
Ambience
Classic elegance
Food
Fine-dining food, French, Modern
Payment
Amex, Mastercard, Visa
500
2016 top 10
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Critic's review

Greg Landman

Food
Master Chef Gregory Czarnecki reigns supreme at this up-market venue, consistently turning out food that looks great and tastes even better. The menu is available as two courses, three, or a degustation with or without wine pairings.

The amuse-bouche, a whipped goat's cheese mousse, sets the palate up for what’s to come. The sea-bass ceviche starter is deliciously fresh and tender, served with a salty snoek purée, crunchy celeriac discs and bottarga, a salted and cured fish roe. Warm bread rolls then arrive with five different butters, the best of which is black-garlic aioli.

One of the highlights, a Joostenberg Vlakte duck breast, is served with oven-roasted turnips infused with hibiscus, a pickled turnip disc, passion-fruit dressing and a turnip-and-hibiscus puree. Never has the humble turnip been so elevated! The rich duck jus served in a cute little jug is the perfect accompaniment for this excellent dish.

Desserts of a blood peach panna cotta or Tahitian vanilla vacherin make a great ending. Three intensely sweet caramel and chocolate offerings presented with the bill are a lovely touch, so save room for them.

Drinks
The excellent wines of Waterkloof are available at elevated prices from the tasting room, which is just the other side of the room.

Service
Of the highest standard: friendly, professional and warm. What more could you ask for?

Ambience
This is a spectacular setting, high up on the mountains, with giant glass walls overlooking sensational views of False Bay and the Hottentots Holland mountain range.

And…
Do a wine tasting before your meal to see which of the estate’s offerings suits you best.

(September 2016)

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  • Graham Howe

    Food
    Applying French culinary technique, Chef Gregory Czarnecki creates fare as light and ethereal as his glasshouse lair in the mountains of the Helderberg. Classic meets contemporary in innovative winelands cuisine inspired by the natural landscape, using organic, free-range ingredients like farm eggs, mushrooms, lamb, wild herbs and salads grown on this biodynamic estate, with seafood sourced from False Bay.

    The sense of transparency in an open glass kitchen translates into simple, honest flavours; this is South African fare with a sophisticated spin. Artisanal suppliers and growers are highlighted on a menu designed to showcase the estate’s wines. The changing seasonal à la carte menu delights with meticulously crafted compositions like farmed Mulloway kabeljou with pistachio, broccoli and endive, or Joostenberg Vlakte duck with orange confit and sultana fritter. Signature starters tempt with sublime flavour combinations such as Smiling Valley marron with piquant grapefruit, and delicate textures of peas paired with truffled buttermilk. The dishes are artfully plated with subtle reductions, foams and emulsions. There’s limited choice for vegetarians when it comes to mains.

    Desserts are divine, including the likes of a fantastic local cheese platter and a wonderful quince-and-verjuice terrine with buffalo yoghurt.

    Drinks
    Enjoy the estate’s own renowned wines paired by the glass to every course, as well as complimentary spring water bottled on the farm.

    Service
    The approach is warm and attentive, from arrival to departure and ranging from wine to food service.

    Ambience
    This is smart, intimate fine dining. Cocooned in a contemporary glasshouse cantilevered on the Schaapenberg, the diner enjoys spectacular views all the way to False Bay.

    And…
    In winter, try the popular platter of terrine paired with their own organic olives, breads and a trio of cheeses that includes Waterkloof’s own Healey’s slow-matured cheddar, served in the tasting lounge next to a roaring fire.

    (September 2015)

  • Eat Out

    Food
    This restaurant is the ideal destination for lovers of modern food and modern spaces. Using seasonal produce, lots of it biodynamically farmed on the estate, chef Gregory Czarnecki’s menu is deliberately light and fresh, with a noticeable absence of heavy sauces. The offering seduces with a deliciously velvety foie gras parfait with sweet apple and pistachio – a light and airy dish showing perfect balance of flavours, expertly matched with straw wine. Then there’s delicate lime-cured trout with avocado, daikon and salmon roe, showing a lovely combination of textures, and finally a wonderful dish of marron with fennel panna cotta and chive purée – and that’s just for starters. A dessert of salted hazelnut with chocolate and granadilla brings the meal to a surprisingly simple but completely delicious end.

    Wine
    The offering is limited to the estate wines, but these pair deliciously with the fresh, contemporary style of the food. There are some great recommendations by the sommelier, and all the wines are decanted and poured at the correct temperature.

    Service
    Expect a warm welcome and attentive service from both the front-of-house staff and the sommelier. The approach is personal and full of character.

    Ambience
    Step into an expansive, airy space with astonishing views over a triptych of sights: the vineyards, mountains and False Bay. There’s a feeling of class here, with bespoke tableware and excellent attention to detail.

    (August 2014)

  • Food
    A contemporary menu focuses on locally sourced ingredients foraged from artisan growers and fresh, organic produce from farm to plate. French chef Gregory Czarnecki demonstrates the classic culinary techniques he learned at top Michelin restaurants in the treatment of ‘eco-conscious produce’ from farm eggs, wild mushrooms, herbs, micro-greens and carrot shoots from the ‘leaf lab’ to free-range lamb, beef and springbok, sustainably farmed trout, kabeljou and marron. A changing seasonal menu preserves the natural flavours and textures of top-quality ingredients in dishes that bear the hallmarks of simplicity and integrity. Elegant interpretation of South African ingredients is demonstrated in signature starters like soft-boiled farm egg or lime-cured trout sashimi, while mains like springbok loin and Magaliesburg duck are enhanced by intensely flavoured reductions and purées, custards and crumbles – plus playful plating on the cutting edge of culinary trends. Chef reinvents the familiar family roast in a variation of pork (loin, belly pastille and crackling) with brussel sprout and quince purée. The artisan suppliers of ingredients are acknowledged on the menu as key contributors of the quality of the finished dish.

    Wine
    Waterkloof’s own biodynamic wines – no pesticides, no mechanical harvest, no additives – are paired by the glass to every dish with a skilled sommelier explaining the basis of each food and wine match. And they serve their own farm spring water.

    Service
    The waiters are versed on the composition of ingredients on every well-dressed plate from the main ingredient to the garnish.

    Ambience
    Set in a glass and steel eyrie cantilevered out over the vineyards, this contemporary space has eagle-eye views of False Bay – a match for the sophisticated chic of the tasting room and gravity-fed cellar.

    And...
    Enjoy a wine and cheese tasting of resident Healey’s cheddars. (Graham Howe, September 2013)

User reviews

  • We absolutely loved our lunch at Waterkloof. We went for the tasting course and ordered a bottle of the Circle of Life Red (amazing). As you drive to the restaurant you do not expect to find the gem that is Waterkloof, but as you wind up the hill the glass building in the sky comes to view and you are greeted as if entering the heavens. We went on particularly overcast and cloudy day where we felt with the floor to ceiling glass walls we were in a cloud. Later the sun came out to reveal the Strand and Atlantic coastline. We had the tasting menu which was reasonable priced compared to other restaurants in the cape at R450pp but we had more than just the courses we planned as the kitchen kept bringing out unexpected treats and palette cleansers. We had 3 different desserts and after our first bottle, we wanted to try more of the Waterkloof wines and moved to the wine tasting area next to the restaurant only divided by some towering walls. we could watch the chef create and enjoyed the 6 wine tasting next to the fire pit. A worthwhile experience close to the city.
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  • I am a vegetarian and was a bit worried when I saw nothing for me on the mains menu. Luckily the chef came to the rescue, and I had a lovely selection of veggies. Even though you only order 3 items of the menu - the kitchen sends out little tasters between each meal - which were lovely. And if you get a chance - go and say hello to the big draught horses and sheep outside. Also - there is a helipad for those arriving by air.
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  • Had a lovely meal here, ambience bit intimidating in a way. But the food is fantastic the compressed quince is a winner
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  • With regular menu changes, Waterkloof is one of our favourite destinations. Greg always delights our palates with new dishes and inspired ingredient choices. I love that I can try something new or eat a favourite dish, maybe with a different twist. The staff are attentive and friendly and the view spectacular. We enjoy our first glass of wine next to the fireplace and will often end our meal in the same spot, with a glass of port. We have met people from across the world who rate this as one of their top restaurants in South Africa and I can totally agree.
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  • We discovered this wonderful restaurant a couple of years ago when staying in Somerset West. And what a discovery! Stunning views, magnificent architecture, sublime food and wine. The service was amongst the best we have experienced at any restaurant, which can be expected from staff who are so obviously well treated and respected by management, judging by the quality of the food prepared for them. We will have to find an excuse to go back soon
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  • The restaurant at Waterkloof is, in our opinion, the best restaurant in The Cape Town area. The quality of service and food is consistently excellent. Every year when we holiday in Cape Town from the UK, we make several visits to this restaurant for lunch and we are never disappointed. The chef here is a true artist. The combination of flavours and lightness of touch in every dish is exceptional. The complimentary amuse bouches are always a delight. Attention to detail is apparent all around - food, service, setting. Add to this the wonderful views. Dining here is one of the highlights of coming to Cape Town. It should be at the top of the list of Cape Town's finest restaurants. Linda and Roy Walker 24th January 2015
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  • Waterkloof is a favourite on our list and having been there over a dozen times we are never dissappointed. Gregory is an inspired and dedicated chef but never too busy to talk to his customers. His is a well drilled team and regular menu changes widens his inspirational flair and brings the experiences of enjoying choice. This fine restaurant should not be overlooked again in the top ten choices.
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  • 4 of us enjoy last night a great dinner with fantastic food ,good service,beautiful crokery and a great setting
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  • A spontaneous decision to lunch at Waterkloof after a medical appointment nearby turned out to be the right thing to do. The view from this quirky building is spectacular, as is the food. But what most impressed me was the food knowledge of Benedict, our waiter, and the fact that the music volume was so low as to be unobtrusive. Many a great meal is ruined by having to listen to somebody else's taste in music. And when you get older and your hearing is on the blink (not me, thank heavens) all you can hear is noise and no conversation, apparently. Mrs B is very happy and she isn't easy to please, believe me.
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  • Exquisite setting, perfect service, outstanding value, perfectly-balanced and well-constructed meals, not too complicated but still contemporary. Wine prices excellent too; a lovely treat!

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  • One of the best I've been to in a long time. Excellent fine dining with service to match. Complimentary water a nice touch.

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  • Perfection...the symphony of tastes (and there were many), the ambience, the attentive staff and of course, the brilliance of Chef Gregory Czarnecki and his staff. My husband and daughter had the 5 course Beef Menu and I had the Degustation Menu paired with the estate wines. Highly recommended for anyone looking for something special. Having eaten in fine dining establishments all over the world this experience is comparable to and even exceeds some of those. What was quite remarkable was the fact that despite good size portions and decadent desserts, at the end of the meal none of us felt overly full. We spent a happy afternoon enjoying a superb meal and admiring an amazing view - a combination of idyllic farm and sea views, probably the most unique restaurant setting in Cape Town and well worth a visit!

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  • After reading reviews, will have to try it again. First time I went, every dish had too much pepper and you needed a microscope to see the food. Second time, great service, better food, but still miniscule and I left hungry after three courses. Surprised it is on the short list for an award.

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  • Housed in an ultra-modern and award-winning building, The Restaurant at Waterkloof offers superlative views from it's "glass box", and a magical combination of exquisite flavours, which only a French-trained chef could prepare. Dining at The Restaurant is a tapestry of experiences, from building to vista, from flavours to excellent wine pairings. Whether you choose from the a la carte menu or the tasting menu, you'll not be disappointed, though the tasting menu really is something special.
    Given my rave review of food and scenery, you may then wonder why I've only given The Restaurant a four star rating. Simply put, the entire experience is horribly let down by indifferent and terribly slow service. Good food, I know, takes time to prepare, but the length of wait between courses, despite the presentation of two delightful amuse bouche dishes, is interminable. Moreover, the waitron service is best described as utterly lacklustre, most notably when it came to drinks. We were offered complimentary spring water when we sat down - and that was the last of it. My husband, who doesn't drink alcohol, was offered neither an alternative nor more water when his glass was empty. Given the slow service, I could have managed another glass of wine or water - again, neither were forthcoming. This extremely unfortunate notion of service truly spoiled what was otherwise an memorable dining experience.
    Would I pay a return visit? For the food and the views absolutely, but I'd make a point of keeping the serving staff on their toes.

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  • We had a perfect dinner.

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  • A culinary experience indeed! Beautiful plate construction - colour, textures and flavours - a definite blend of art and food science. I haven't started on the venue's view and location - breathtakingly stunning! A wonderful evening to be remembered. A small point to note, very structured and inflexible menu, and strict kitchen rules - you cannot order anything outside of the wine pairing menu, and it does not cater for vegetarians. That was a bit of a pity, but understood in terms of the complexity of the various dishes. Food service from Moffett.

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  • We recently had lunch at Waterkloof. We took our 10 month old daughter along and the staff were very accommodating. The food was very inventive with hot and cold combinations on two of our dishes. A very pleasant experience.

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  • After my first bad experience eating at Waterkloof soon after they opened, I vowed never to go back, but this weekend saw me winding my way up the hill again to see if things have changed. And oh yes, they have. Beautifully presented food, slightly bigger portions so that you do not have to stop at MacDonalds on the way home if you had a starter, main course and desert, excellent service, seasonal menu that makes you salivate when you read it, attentive but not overbearing service, beautiful amuse bouche and a pre-dessert dessert. Subtle sauces, although the jus with the quail was a bit salty. Can't wait to go back for the "degust" menu some time. Excellent.

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  • What an extraordinary view, but what an overpriced menu. 100g of fillet for R155, the wine was cheaper than the meal. What a pity.
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  • I dined at Waterkloof for the second time last week and had a truly amazing meal. The lamb main was the best main course I have ever had in South Africa! We had three courses and left the restaurant feeling truly satisfied. The portions are perfect for this style of food and only fully appreciated as a three course meal - and, if you take the time to appreciate the delicate flavour components on each plate instead of just shoveling it in, you will leave satisfied. If you are just planning on having two courses, maybe you should wait till next month when you can afford a 3 courses.
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  • I dined at Waterkloof on the 6th of January and was overall very impressed. Whilst the portions are by no means large, it is quite clear that this is a menu which is meant to be enjoyed as a three course experience and not simply a main-course-only dinner. The flavour combinations and delicacy of the food impressed me no end and, after an appetiser and a main, there was no room for dessert. It is quite clear that a lot of effort and love has gone into the food, and that the dish on your plate is much greater than the sum of its parts. Whilst not a restaurant for weekly visits, this is a great place for that special occasion when great company demands amazing food.
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  • This restaurant used to be one of my favourites. I was somewhat disappointed, however, on the 10/01/2011 when I had lunch with a friend at this venue. The portion of the main (Wild Coast Sole) was so small (basically the size of a fishfinger cut in half) and it was priced at R150.00! A total rip-off! Im convinced the portion of amuse bouche was bigger than the main. Im all about fine dining, but this time the portion size was ridiculous for the amount of money charged for it. The service was also exceptionally slow and we had to call the waiters over several times to clear our plates. It wasnt a case of the restaurant being busy, as there were only 4 tables at the time. Overall - very disappointing. What a shame!
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  • We visited this restaurant last weekend and ordered the West Coast sole and kingklip. When the sole arrived, I thought it was some kind of appetiser before the main meal - 2 measly cigar shaped portions, about as much fish as one would get in a finger of haloumi cheese. It was accompanied by 4 mushrooms. Whilst very artistically decorated, it was finished in about 3 forkfuls. At R150, I experienced a feeling of being totally ripped off. The occasion was saved by a decently sized cheese platter, otherwise I would have left starving!
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  • Total rip-off.
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  • Great setting, but very average food at ridulously expensive prices.
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  • A great place to visit for the experience, but do not expect value for money. The main courses - @ R155 - are so lean that my overseas guest (who can afford it) - ordered two servings! Only recommendable for the experience and wine tasting.
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  • Wow, went for lunch on Saturday. All I can say is that absolutely everything from the host at the door to the beautiful food and service was unimpeachable. I truly believe you guys have earned your spot in the short list, and hope that you go all the way to take top honors. Thank you once again for a very memorable and special lunch...
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  • A couple of months ago I had fantastic lunch at Waterkloof with my friends. My second time wasnt that great and quite disappointing.I took my partner with to celebrate our anniversary. Second reason was to try their new summer special. The restaurant was quite empty(Monday lunch), but the breathtaking view was the winner. Service was really great, very attentive and professional, although management slightly lacking. Our starter, beetroot tart, was really great, but main course, springbok crepinette, was very disappointing. Pomme puree was served with La Beryl cheese, which was quite bad combination as the strong smell of the cheese completely overpowered the meal.The smell was so unpleasant, we called the waiter and complained. Unfortunately no substitute was offered to us instead of the springbok. Also the manager didnt come to apologise. Dessert was another bad choice with pineapple jelly tasting like dishwasher liquid and tasteless ice cream. When the waiter asked us about our overall experience we told him how disappointed we were. Although we were celebrating our anniversary, the last thing we wanted is to have the day ruined by bad meal. Still the manager was nowhere to seen. When we asked for the bill, we were told by our waiter that everything is on the house. It was a nice gesture, but the point is as a manager you must make sure that your guests will be completely happy and if the meal is not up to scratch you offer something else instead.I must admit quite bad experience, leaving the place hungry and driving all the way from Cape Town. Specials in the restaurant doesnt have to mean bad quality meals.
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  • I am astounded that this restaurant is classified as one of the best for the year. I will have to go back as the last time I went, I was bitterly disappointed. Miniscule portions of food, a heavy hand on the pepper, quarter of a quarter (not a spelling mistake or duplication!) of fig with the cheese board, foams that taste of nothing on everything . . .
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  • Please, please, please train the people that serve and receive the guests! This place has got so much money invested - really good food, really good philosophy to food and farming, but the service in the restaurant is pathetic, poor, if I could rate them as zero I would have but you only provide a rating of 1-5! The waiters have NO IDEA what they should be doing. The lady receiving us was so uncomfortable with her job and talking to people. Everything went wrong! I will NOT go back for one one reason, the service. The local deli in Cape Towns service is premium compared to Waterkloof. Sorry but this was the biggest disappointment! Do something PLEASE!
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  • Overpriced. The Moroccan lamb was 2 pieces each the size of a matchbox and arrived stone cold. R180. The tuna wasnt much bigger, also arrived stone cold. Sent it back and it took 17 minutes to come back out of the kitchen although there were 8 cooks in the kitchen. Arrived stone cold and not tasty, it was stringy. We felt wed been ripped-off. Wont go back.
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  • We enjoyed a fabulous lunch yesterday, starters enjoyed included the oyster mushrooms with rocket & egg - superb and the confit duck leg - whilst a very tiny portion was exquisite ! Mains , Kingklip - absolutely divine, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed the pork belly - not at all fatty, nicely seasoned - fabulous, ended off with a cheese platter. The views are outstanding, my only criticism would be a little background music to add to the atmosphere. Will definitely go again !
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  • On approaching this mountain-top location, the building looks like a concrete and steel version of the Starship Enterprise emerging from the mountainside. My expectation of a very cold interior was pleasantly transformed when we entered the enormous glass encased space that was drenched in warm sunlight. There is absolutely no doubt that the views from the so-called “glass box” are breathtaking but I do however think a jersey could be necessary during the rainy winter months.Gabriel our Zimbabwean waiter was polite, professional and had a good knowledge of the menu. The restaurant layout is spacious and very comfortable and the entire space has a wonderful airy and roomy feel. Crisp clean table settings and I love the slightly rough texture Tognana crockery. At last we have a restaurant which, instead of ripping patrons off with grossly overpriced Italian mineral water, they in fact offer complementary sparkling and still South African water. I salute the management for this really inexpensive and simple gesture. The amuse of prawn tortellini had a very thick and stodgy pasta case, leaving a very doughy feel in the mouth, and did not bode well for the rest of the menu. What was however a bit bizarre was that the amuse bouche and starters where brought to the table within one minute of each other by different waiters. With only two tables occupied in the restaurant, this could surely not have been a lack of communication between kitchen and wait staff. The waiter with the starters, upon seeing that we were still eating the aperitif, did not know what to do with the starter plates, so he simply put them on the side of the table and turned tail. Some very basic training is clearly required here and I am rather surprised, given the management’s illustrious backgrounds. My starter of pancetta and basil butter risotto was perfectly cooked with a creamy, rich butter sauce and traces of scented bacon smoke from the pancetta. The manger of kingklip, a mousse to normal people, was feather light and artistically presented. Both dishes were triumphs in their own rights. My main of glazed pork belly was slightly over seasoned but the sticky sweet glaze made this elegantly presented slab of meat a rich and unctuous dish. My partner’s springbok was tender and very tasty but the presentation was dull and unattractive as everything on the plate was a shade of brown.The wines were served well aerated in reasonably good stemware at the absolute correct temperatures.Over a perfectly made, exclusive blend of espresso, my dining partner said that “This is what lunch should be like everyday” and I could not find a lasting reason to disagree with him. I will definitely go back.
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  • The view of the Hottentots Holland Mountains is staggering. The service was impeccable. We only had starters and desserts - and the food was good, not brilliant; although the presentation was outstanding. The coffee was some of the best Ive had in South Africa.Minor quibbles; I tried to book twice by email - both times they were read, but unanswered... I had to phone in the end. They had run out rooibos tea. And the artwork borders on disturbing.But the VIEW - go for that alone. I look forward to returning.
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  • WOW! What a setting! Loved the whole experience and will definitely go back when Im in Cape Town. Our waiter was great and the food just delicious. Thanks for a memorable lunch.
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  • My husband and I had the most memorable anniversary celebratory Sunday lunch on the 27th December. We were thrilled with practically every aspect of the restaurant. The food, service and view were all exceptional. The novel ice bucket was a truly elegant touch. We will definitely revisit.
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  • One of the most beautiful restaurants we have ever been too, but one of the worst meals we’ve had this year. Both starters and main courses were boring and bland, very disappointing. Service good and managers great but the chef should up his game.
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  • What a setting and decor, wow! Then.. we arrived at 18h30 for our well awaited evening of bliss to be greeted with the noise of contractors drilling away in the upstairs area. I first had to complain to the waiter about this before the manager asked them to stop. The service was acceptable overall although the waiter spilled wine on the table and did not offer to change the tablecloth or move us to another table (they were not busy). The service deteriorated as more guests arrived. The food though was well presented and tasty and the wine selection and quality is good. It is sad but it just seems like the restaurants in the Sir Lowrys / Helderberg area cannot get it right - what a pity.
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Facilities

  • Accepts credit cards
  • Booking required
  • Dress code
  • Fireplace
  • Functions
  • Licensed
  • Parking
  • StreetSmart affliated
  • Wheelchair
  • WiFi

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