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The Veg Table Private Dining Room

The Veg Table Private Dining Room
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Cost
R400 for seaonal vegetarian four-course meal including tea and coffee
Ambience
Comfy & casual
Food
South African, Vegetarian
500
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Critic's review

Charlotte Pregnolato

Food
Brett Garvie, chef patron, wows guests with his four-course veggie feasts that prove just how lush vegetarian fare can be. His credo is that only the best ingredients will do, so whatever is not in season, locally available, or of top-quality, won't be on the menu. What is in store for diners are inventive dishes based on classic cooking techniques with everything – even pastas, bread and pastries – made from scratch.

The four-course menu reflects the seasons as a natural consequence of relying on local bounty. Zesty basil pesto served with fabulous feather-light gnocchi or cool strawberry soup with goat's cheese croutons could steal the show. Fall or winter fare might focus on locally harvested mushrooms, perhaps in risotto, richly flavoured cheeses or pears, roasted in a salad with honey/mustard dressing.  Brett's attention to detail is notable in how each dish is beautifully plated to harmonise taste and visual appeal without showoff flourishes.

Drinks
Guests bring their own drinks of choice but excellent coffee and herbal tea, made from his garden's own herbs and flowers, make great closing notes.

Service
Everyone wonders how Brett does it all – from harvesting mushrooms to attending to every detail in the kitchen, to serving – but this is work he loves and it shows.

Ambience
The setting is an intimate cottage surrounded by deep green forest trees, romantically lit with candles and fairy lights. In summer guests meander out to the porch between courses and in cooler weather the central fireplace and wood-burning stove keep everyone toasty. Tables seat up to twenty so booking early is essential.

And…
Be sure to discuss any food allergies or issues with Brett when you book so he can plan the menu accordingly. They also do not have credit card facilities.

(September 2016)

Eat Out reviewers dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Click here to read our editorial policy.

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  • Food
  • Charlotte Pregnolato

    Food
    Like a well-tended garden, Brett Garvie's The Veg Table Private Dining Room is thriving. Even committed carnivores are won over by his special brand of no-shortcuts approach to cooking. Brett's background as a botanist serves him well: he forages for his own mushrooms (including porcinis), gathers pecans from the surrounding orchard and procures the rich harvests of every season from local farms and gardens in Rheenendahl. The menu is ever-changing, but one of the first of two starters could be a honey and mustard roast pear salad with seasonal legumes and baby gem lettuce, followed perhaps by dukkah-crusted butternut with orange-glazed carrots, fragrant whole-wheat couscous and a tahini yogurt dressing. His vast repertoire of plate-licking entrées includes silky homemade cannelloni filled with spinach and gorgonzola, topped with buttery walnut sauce, and meaty porcini mushroom risotto.

    Drinks

    BYO and enjoy it in charming vintage glasses. Do try some of his homegrown rose geranium tea after the meal.

    Service

    Brett is a welcoming host, and eager to please. This is a one-man show (plus an assistant), so the food will come when it comes.

    Ambience

    What could be more enchanting than a candlelit cabin in the woods? The central fireplace and wood stove create an inviting atmosphere on chilly evenings and in summer, the porch is the ideal place to sip your wine and take a stargazing break between courses. The happy vibe is underlined by whimsical touches like tiny ceramic animals among the mix-matched table settings.

    And…
    This is a magical venue for private parties of up to 20 on Tuesdays or Saturdays, but book early, as tables quickly fill in season.

    (October 2015)

  • Charlotte Pregnolato

    Food
    Brett Garvie, botanist, chef and creator of The Veg Table, brings his talents to the table by turning the seasonal harvests of local farms, gardens and orchards into scrumptious four-course feasts. Every night is different, but dishes are often modern variations of classic recipes like silky porcini mushroom ravioli, or funky takes on current food trends like veggie sliders. Brett’s adept at using lesser known fruit and veggies like tomatillos (a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine) in green gazpacho soup, and pairng herbs like lemon thyme with figs. And there’s always a stunning finish – perhaps a sorbet of roses.  Even the staunchest carnivores will appreciate these indulgent and delectable dishes, and certainly no one ever goes away hungry.

    Drinks
    Mismatched vintage glasses are on hand, but you’ll need to bring your own wine and spirits. At the meal’s end, teas made from Brett’s own garden herbs and flowers are offered along with coffee.

    Service 
    This a one-man show that relies on Brett’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and perfectionist drive for doing all things well.

    Ambience
    Imagine how delightful it is to come upon this small cottage in the woods, lit with fairy lights and candles. The interior is filled with an enchanting mix of mismatched chairs, tables, and tableware that Brett has collected over the years. All this charm is permeated with wonderful aromas coming from a wood-burning cooker. Cool nights also mean the fire is lit and you will be super warm.

    And…
    Since the menu relies on what is fresh and available, call on the day of your booking if you wish to pair your wine with the food.

    (August 2014)

     

  • In the woods of Knysna, by candlelight, feast on local, seasonal fare prepared with care and flair. The menu changes nightly, but chef patron Brett Garvie spoils his guests with beautiful creations made on his wood-fired stove. Charming, mismatched cutlery, china, tables and chairs contribute to the homey comfort of this dining room. (EO mag 2014)
  • Food
    The meal is presented in four courses, usually including a soup, starter, main and dessert – every bit freshly made by Brett Garvie, owner and passionate chef. Even stalwart meat-eaters will find dishes like slow-roasted beetroot puff pastry on horseradish crème fraiche; earthy mushroom risotto; charred brinjal with smoked nuts; and pasta with lemon and mozzarella pesto scrumptiously satisfying.

    Wine
    Bring your own. Home-made herbal teas, as well as coffees, are offered at the end of the meal.

    Service
    Brett does it all, but does not object to a little help from the guests with bussing or serving.

    Ambience
    Surrounded by woods, this tiny cabin-like home (Brett’s own) turns magical at night with the light of the fire, fairy lights and candles. The old-fashioned range and mismatched tables, chairs, tableware and cutlery add to the charm.

    And...
    Be sure to mention any food intolerance or allergies when you book. (Charlotte Pregnolato, February 2012)

User reviews

  • We visited The Veg Table for a second time this month and enjoyed it so much that we had to share the experience. The 4 course meal started with a bonus ‘picked this afternoon’ porcini ‘carpaccio’, breaded courgette, gorgonzola cream gnocchi, tomato tart tatin and home made strawberry ice cream on a bed of strawberries with lemon basil. Almost all the ingredients are local and organic and this comes through in the rich, burst-in-your-mouth flavours. Dining at The Veg Table is an unforgettable experience. You would be extremely hard pressed to find another dining experience so personalised and with food that has been created with so much love, passion and care. All cooked on an old wood fired stove!

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  • This has to be the best find for vegetarians anywhere in the Western Cape. We had the most deliciously tasty, wonderful four course surprise vegetarian dinner in a romantic, rustic and charming environment. Each dish was beautifully plated and you could really tell that it was cooked with love and a true passion for healthy veggie food. Can't wait to go back. Brett, you're heading the right way in your food. Long may it continue.

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  • Amazingly different, divine, fresh and different food, not what one expects, but so worth the adventure! Be brave, you won't be sorry!

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Facilities

  • Booking required
  • Child friendly
  • Dinner
  • Food
  • Functions
  • Parking
  • Serves food
  • Vegetarian

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