The Werf offers modern, scrumptious farm-to-table dining with a light and local touch.
It probably doesn’t get much more seasonal and local than this: according to staff, up to 90% of the items you find on the menu here are either produced on the farm or sourced from the Franschhoek valley. How lovely to think there were no air miles involved in the making of these beautifully plated dishes. The tone is set by the arrival of a quaint little garden salad, consisting of a baby carrot and its leaves, plucked that morning, drizzled with a piquant dressing and dusted with a cumin-spiced dukkah. So simple yet so striking.
The menu options are divided between savoury and sweet, with the caveat being that they are slightly bigger than starter size and therefore designed to be shared. There will be no sharing on this side of the table, though: my sous vide quail with polenta cakes, fennel salad and Karoo Blue is just too yummy to part with even a morsel. And there are quite a few other savoury dishes just begging to be tasted – like perhaps the beef brisket with smoked bone marrow and potato sauce, which sounds perfect for a slightly colder day.
On the sweet side, a buttermilk mousse with strawberries, baby meringues and coconut sorbet is a perfectly wonderful combination of tastes and textures – but I’d also like to get a closer look some day at that crème brúlée with banana sorbet and caramel. Be sure to end your visit with a stroll through the veggie gardens, where the white butterflies are fluttering, the bees are buzzing and the comical farm ducks are foraging for their lunch.
Start with a glass of one of the very fine Boschendal bubblies (or one of their signature cocktails!) and go from there. The wine list is on the expensive side of things and looks to be aimed at tourists’ pockets. Apart from the wide range of Boschendal wines, there’s a good selection of other local bottles, as well as a few overseas imports.
Very attentive – from the welcome in the parking area to your seating, staff are highly professional and completely focused on the customer’s needs.
It’s not for nothing that Boschendal has been a sponsor of the Eat Out Style Award – this is truly a spectacular space. There are three different ‘rooms’ for dining – first you step into a more formal setting, with heavy wooden beams, low lighting and enormous ‘Hugenot ancestor’-style portraits on the walls (as well as a gleaming bar in one corner). The next space feels like a modern greenhouse – enhanced by the views through floor-to-ceiling glass doors of the extensive veggie gardens outside. The colour scheme is white, royal blue and light wood – a very calming theme that is carried throughout, also to the gorgeous bathrooms. And finally there’s the wooden terrace, where the mood is most relaxed, and space would be premium on a beautiful summer’s day.
Those looking for a delicious farm-to-table experience.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.
Hetta van Deventer Terblanche
The Werf’s philosophy is all about taking responsibility as custodians of the land, sustainable business and agricultural practices, and on top of that, seriously good food.
At first glance the menu gives the impression that the vegetables from the biodynamic garden adjacent to the restaurant are underplayed in favour of meat and poultry, also grown on the farm, with starters such as lamb broth and pulled lamb belly or dry-aged Angus beef tartar. However, the vegetables play much more than just a supporting role on the plates.
A starter of butter-poached chicken, delicate and juicy, is served in a puddle of soft-poached egg with forest porcini mushrooms and olive oil. Slow-cooked meat dishes on the main-course menu are one of chef Christiaan Campbell’s highlights and come highly recommended, such as the 16-hour hot-smoked Angus beef brisket served with “weed” salad and polenta, or slow-cooked lamb shoulder with broccoli risotto and goat’s cheese.
Seafood options are available, too, including the likes of casserole of hake, Jerusalem artichokes, pickled mussels and white beans. Vegetarian dishes are not listed on the menu, but can be ordered in the knowledge that everything is picked fresh, straight from the garden or pasture, and that it was made especially for your own preferences and tastes. A shared platter option with three different meat dishes is popular; the selection of vegetable side dishes is worthy, too.
Chocolate, fruit, nuts, spice and sweet flavours lure you to end the meal with a beautiful creation from the pastry kitchen, such as guavas in a jar with custard and a spiced-milk ice cream.
Boschendal wine, presided over by cellar master JC Bekker and his team of winemakers and marketed by DGB, features exclusively on the extensive wine list. There is something for everyone, ranging from medium- to higher-end price ranges.
Well-trained professional and informed staff are instrumental in making the visit one that will call back memories of happy moments and good food, long after waving goodbye.
This is undeniably one of the most beautiful wine farms in the country, encompassing the whole package: beautiful scenery, exquisite gardens, heritage, tranquility and attention to detail.
Possessing the rare gift of a generous spirit, Boschendal creates opportunity for others to share in the magnificent estate. Visitors are invited to walk through the vegetable gardens, or to book one of the special weekends focusing on food, yoga or other invigorating outdoor activities. Guests can eat with a good conscience, happy in the knowledge that animals roam freely and are not given routine hormones or growth stimulants, and that no artificial fertilisers or chemicals are anywhere near plant or animal.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.