Ilse van der Merwe
Husband and wife team Luke and Jessica Shepherd run a tight ship as the formidable host and chef behind The Table Restaurant. They’ve always had a strong and loyal local following since their days at Nook Eatery, making guests feel at home with their honest hospitality and undeniably delicious food.
The Table only serves lunch on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – best during summer for the magical setting under the oak trees. Bookings are essential and the menu is restricted to a generous three-course feast (set menu) that allows you to settle into a lazy and relaxed Winelands daze. Tables are served platter-style which allows for a generous, no-rush approach of extended hours around the lunch table with family and friends.
Jess’s background as a pastry chef allows her to create truly skilful pastries (savoury tarts as well as decadent desserts), but it is her understanding of ingredients and flavours that makes her an all-round master chef. The approach at The Table is down to earth, unpretentious and absolutely scrumptious.
The menu changes weekly, but a winter example might include the following: leek, potato and parsnip soup with homemade sour cream, fried sage from the garden and truffle oil; pasture-raised beef braised in red wine, roasted carrots, organic pumpkin barley risotto, candied beetroot salad with fennel and radish, white chocolate panna cotta with garden kumquat and passionfruit jam and olive oil shortbread crumb.
The beetroot tarte tatin with homemade creme fraiche and micro salad is an absolute dream, using beetroots straight from their new vegetable garden. All ingredients are sourced from the best producers, including Farmer Rico’s huge free-range chickens from Boschendal – magnificent in a white coq au vin. Jess’s winter puds are to die for, especially the warm apple cake with cider butter sauce and homemade lime yoghurt ice cream. This is some of the best country-style food that you’ll find in the Winelands.
The wine list showcases De Meye’s wines, also including an MCC from Villiera.
The service is warm, relaxed, attentive and informed.
The Table is most loved for their lazy outdoor summer lunches under the beautiful oak trees at De Meye – a very special setting that induces tranquility and relaxation. In winter they move indoors to their rustic farm dining rooms with the cosiness of a Queen Anne wood-burning stove and eclectic vintage crockery.
Don’t forget to mention any dietary requirements on making a reservation – they will accommodate as far as they can. Your “properly supervised and well-behaved children” are welcome to join and will be charged 50% of the set menu price. They also have certain dates when well-socialized dogs are welcome.
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Chef Jessica Shepherd and her husband Luke Grant have taken over the reigns from the previous owners and their comforting, country-style food remains in a class of its own. The only option is the set three-course menu, served family-style, but given the excessive deliciousness of the food, its something of a relief to surrender any decision-making. First there is sourdough from the award winning Schoon de Companje and sweet, creamy farm butter from the Heike Farm. The earthy sweetness of turnips is celebrated in a soup, and then something magnificent appears: bright purple beetroots are layered on flaky pastry and topped with some cream and fresh greens. This is their famed beetroot tarte tatin, which makes a frequent appearance on the menu. The sweet and tender beets are lifted by the cream and salty, buttery pastry – a triumph. For mains, there’s Karoo chicken, which has been roasted in verjuice, cream and celery, which combines into an utterly moreish sauce. There’s also a thoroughly creamy celeriac gratin, with a crispy baked top, which we jealously divvy up. A crunchy apple and chicory salad smartly cuts through all this cream. By dint of loosening our belts, we just manage to squeeze in pud: a pancake with Van der Hum, orange and naartjie sauce, and a sublime homemade vanilla ice cream.
The wine list is so short that it’s recited by the waiters, rather than written down. You’ll only find De Meye wines here – they’re not the most high-brow of the estates in the winelands, but they’re very reasonably priced. (A bottle of thoroughly drinkable rosé comes in at just R60 on our bill – although that is the cheapest of the lot.) There are also several craft beers available.
The service suits the country-style food. Wait-staff may be dressed in jeans, but there’s a professionalism about their service, and a warmth in their serving style.
In summer, tables are spread out on the lawn, a tree apiece – so it feels as if you’re dining privately in some vast garden. In winter, tables are usually inside the historic building with its half-metre thick, whitewashed walls and mismatched furniture. There’s also an extension with glass walls, looking out onto the lawn and vineyards. Crockery is a mismatched mix of antique finds – plates are adorned with blossoms or patterned with autumn leaves.
As it’s a set menu, the team enquire about dietary requirements when you make a booking, and are extremely adept at adapting dishes to special needs. Our beetroot tarte tatin is made suitably wheat-free – with pastry so beautifully buttery and flaky that I can scarcely believe it’s not wheat.
This countryside gem is run by husband and wife team Luke Grant and Jessica Shepherd, with Luke as efficient front of house manager and Jessica doing her thing in the kitchen. Only open on weekends, the restaurant serves a set three-course menu built on quality local produce, taking care to mention the origin of their producers. A highly seasonal approach means the menu varies, but on any given Sunday you may sit down to the following feast: breads with farm butter, a aioli and garden herb pesto, followed by a tarte tartin made with golden heirloom beetroot; a main course of lamb ribs with roast potatoes and sweet corn salad; and, for dessert, oat crumble with peach and rhubarb compote and buttermilk ice cream… I know, right?
Everything is as delightful as it sounds, with special mention to the beetroot tart, served with fresh herb salad and crème fraîche – a wonderful combination of tastes and textures. The lamb simply falls off the bone and raises the bar for lamb served anywhere, and that salad abounds with fresh flavours: sweet corn kernels, broad beans, peas, cucumber, red onion and pea shoots. Simply sensational.
Located as it is on a wine estate, BYO is not encouraged; however, diners are entitled to a free wine tasting of the estate’s wines, so make your pick and order a bottle to go with lunch. Ranging from a fruity, very affordable chenin to the excellent Trutina blend of cabernet, shiraz and merlot, this is great, budget-friendly wine. A warm summer's day may necessitate one of their freshly made cordials – the rose geranium version being a thirst quencher par excellence.
Luke is the very embodiment of efficient service, coming out to each table to explain the next course, making sure everyone’s having a good time, and generally keeping a close eye on the friendly and welcoming waiting staff.
It doesn’t get more relaxed than this. In winter I imagine the outside tables would retreat to the small restaurant space, but in fine weather tables are set up under the big trees dotting the lawn, with accompanying picnic blankets for those who want to spread out and relax. It’s perfectly idyllic.
Well behaved kids are welcome, and will have a blast lolling about the garden.
A perfect Sunday lunch in every way. Hugely attentive service, highest quality, well prepared food in a serene enviroment.They get it so right! This is my No 1 spot!
Thank you Russel, Camilla, Johan our waiter, and everyone for a delightful experience at The Table last Sunday. The food was perfect, the service was attentive and attention to the smallest detail was heart-warming. We enjoyed our time there and were sorry to leave! The tomato soup was unbelievable, as were the ribs and beans; baby potatoes cooked to perfection. Dessert was a bonus!
I just threw a birthday party at the restaurant and it was fantastic - had to write a review as a small thank you for such great service. The food was delicious, genuinely one of the best restaurant meals I've eaten (the ribs, the ribs, the soup! Did I mention the ribs?) And the staff were so friendly and attentive.
What makes The Table so special is how the food and service blur perfectly into the glory of De Meye as a place. We went for a stroll through the wine farm after lunch, bellies full and more than a little tipsy. The greatest temptation is pitching a tent on the front lawn and never leaving!
What a place - it really felt like going for lunch at an old friend's house - just with better food.
The food was absolutely heavenly, and chef Camilla went out of her way to accommodate the vegetarians among us. Everyone was so friendly, we really felt right at home.
We went there a few weeks ago and had the slow-roasted pork belly. The food was fabulous - perfectly cooked, full of flavour, the veggies just bursting with freshness. They source all of their ingredients locally, and the produce was just beautiful. The chocolate cake was to die for! We left feeling truly welcome and completely spoilt. Can't wait to go back.
Had a lovely meal on Saturday. If I could afford it, I would have gone there every weekend. Lovely atmosphere. Excellent food and warm service. Would recommend this any day!
I was invited by my sister to visit The Table for a family outing with our parents over Mother's Day weekend. It was simply one of the best experiences I've had for a long time. Not only for the cuisine, but for the wonderful atmosphere, homely setting and beautiful surroundings. Not once did I feel like I was visiting a restaurant; however, the food definitely belongs right up there with the best.
The mussel soup, as was correctly described on their website which I read beforehand, was indeed rich and creamy and perfectly rounded off with a glass of De Meye's unwooded chardonnay which was on the house. The accompanying bread was fresh and tasty and I was told it had been baked there that very morning. I'm not such a big fan of paté and wanted to spare myself for mains, but from my family's reaction it must have been quite divine.
The lamb casserole was absolutely perfect, the secret being in the spicing. One of the reviewers on this site wrongly speculates the use of stewing lamb instead of shoulder of lamb as was promised by service staff, which I found rather unfair to the restaurant. If you are accustomed to cooking with anything other than stewing lamb, you should know that there are a variety of shoulder cuts available and funny bits of bone are nothing unfamiliar. The vegetables on the side were standard but the polenta was spot-on to go with the casserole, soaked in its delicious sauce. If I remember correctly, the estate's flagship red blend (it's been a while so I've forgotten the name) was recommended with the meal. I had the Shiraz instead and it proved to be a good choice.
Dessert was next up after a bit of a family stroll along the surrounding vineyards to give our stomachs a much needed break. This is where I could find the only mistake of the day - 'Oeufs à la neige' was wrongly spelt on their website. But hey, this is South Africa and not France though you would have been forgiven for thinking so once tucking in.
All in all, the magnificent surroundings, casual yet efficient service and quality of food made for an unforgettable experience. Will be back soon!
Was really looking forward to taking our mom out to The Table on Mother's Day. After checking out their set menu, we got even more excited. Unfortunately, it was rather hit and miss. The setting at De Meye is lovely, and we had an indoor table as the weather was looking chilly. Unfortunately, the doors were constantly opening/ closing so that the wait staff could serve the outdoor table. Understandably unavoidable, but still unpleasant. The starter was a homemade mussel soup and the overall taste of the soup was delicious, although the mussels were rather soggy. The home baked bread was divine though! The next course was homemade babganoush which was flavourful and delicious, but unfortunately, the chicken liver pate was a little tasteless.
The main course was slow-cooked lamb, which our waitress said was shoulder of lamb. It was definitely not shoulder, but rather stewing lamb with funny bits of bone here and there. The meat wasn't tough, but it didn't meet with our expectations. You would have expected a thicker, darker, richer sauce from the way the menu had been described. Served with grilled baby marrows and beetroot (which was cold - a bit odd) and saved by a lovely creamy polenta. At this point, we were feeling rather underwhelmed by the whole experience. The dessert arrived - Oeufs a la Niege which was soft meringue with the gentlest shade if toasty brown, sprinkled with dessicated coconut and floating in Creme Anglaise. Wow! It was certainly the high note. This place holds so much promise with their lovely setting and promise of local, fresh produce. Unfortunately, there are gaps which take away from the whole experience and leave a little dissatisfied.
Unpretentious lovely country setting and honest food. Just make sure to check the menu ahead of visit to avoid complications with set menu. We will be back soon.
This one is really hard to write simply because everyone as Table at De Meye is so darned nice. There’s an air of goodwill there that speaks volumes of the atmosphere the owners have worked hard to create. There is a charm that one can deny. It’s a lovely spot.
And it’s not Table at De Meye’s fault that Eat Out awarded them “Best Country Restaurant” this year. But it may have been premature. Clearly I may have visited on an off day – everyone has them – but there were fundamental problems with the cooking that simply can’t be overlooked.
Part of the problem is the weekly set menu – something I personally adore – but something that also set landmines in front of anyone but the most talented cooks. It allows you express yourself as a cook, but demands your menu choice therefore ensures the best product imagineable. And that’s where the meal I had fell short. The worst issue I had was with the main course of roast whole sirloin, which came medium/medium well that some might like but ultimately turns roast sirloin into this tasteless rubbery mass. Sure, many might have preferred it this way, but surely Camilla knows that you don’t serve sirloin anything less than rare to medium rare. In trying to adapt the dish to make everyone happy, she went for the center. And the center is medium and that’s simply wrong.
The hand-cut chips were great, as was the homemade ketchup. The béarnaise was nicely scented with fresh tarragon. But the salad was a mess, the micro-lettuces completely overwhelmed by the too-bold vinaigrette while, quite honestly, a simply olive and lemon would have sufficed. The chunks of tasteless, tomatoes and chunks of feta (do we really have to have feta in every “house” salad in South Africa?) only made things worse.
The starter braised calamari with chorizo was divine, as was the bread and farm butter that accompanied. As for dessert, I loved the citrus ice cream that accompanied the lemon tart. But again, the tart itself exposed some weaknesses. The bottom of the pastry was pallid and too thick, while I’m sorry to say that the filling itself had an unpleasant aftertaste of condensed milk, which completely undermined the citrus-y “snap” one hopes for in a lemon tart. It was not a masterful piece of pastry-making by any stretch. It simply wasn’t.
I think Table at De Meye is truly lovely restaurant just getting its feet under itself. I don’t think that it has hit its stride and Eat Out may need to question whether it’s done the place a disservice but putting them in the spotlight and at the mercy of those, like me, whose expectations are heightened.
And one final note (and this is a problem I see at a plethora of restaurants here), an owner should not dash through a room, not introducing herself, and ask quickly “Was everything okay?” If it was genuine query, then it be done personally; not in small room where everyone hears you as you dash between table to table asking the same question. Do you think I or anyone else wants to put a damper on everyone else’s day by saying, “Well, y’know, I did have some problems.”
So bottom line, I think Table at De Meye deserves a chance, but on my visit, I’m sorry, it really missed the mark in a big way.
One of the finest lunch venues I have come across through travels to some 80 countries. Cannot be faulted and well deserving of its 2011 award.
Everything they say about this venue is true! It's like visiting and eating home cooked food, just much better than you can do it yourself! Well-priced, substantial portions in a gorgeous farm setting with the friendliest service ever! You just don't want to leave. Wine only from De Meye - but the selection is more than sufficient and well priced to boot. I'll be back!
What a little gem! We had a superb rustic country lunch. Delightful setting, most charming host and really delicious fresh well prepared food. No choices, sharing platters, plenty to go round. Well worth a try!
What an awesome dining experience. The service is great yet relaxed and the food is to die for.
A wonderful, relaxing, delectable day in the country - and when you think it's perfect, then the caramel ice cream is served!
Exceptional food experience every time we've been, they so deserve the award!
We absolutely love this restaurant!