Hazendal Estate, conveniently located on Bottelary Road, is one of the oldest farms in the Cape, tracing its history back to 1699. After a remarkable 18-month refurbishment, the estate offers an impressive array of culinary adventures, from fine dining to food trucks.
Executive chef Michélle Theron is the culinary powerhouse here, overseeing the estate’s entire food offering, but paying particular attention to the inspired fine dining at Avant-Garde Restaurant.
Set between the elegant wine lounge and modern cellar, tables rest beneath ornate ceiling frescoes paying homage to the history of the estate. The menu pays equal homage, fusing the culinary traditions of South Africa with the heritage of Hazendal’s Russian owners, all while celebrating local and seasonal produce.
The Russian influence across the menu is subtle yet unmistakable. To start, you’ll find Theron’s modern take on classic borscht, the quintessential Russian beetroot soup, lifted by sour cream and fragrant dill. Pampushki buns arrive filled with delicately smoked fish and curried sweet potato. Desserts are equally inspired, with the pastry chefs playing on themes of opulent Fabergé eggs and Russian ballerinas.
Lunch service brings a more relaxed approach, with Theron’s zakuski menu offering a procession of small plates that are ideal for diners looking to discover a wide range of dishes. At both lunch and dinner, a concise wine list celebrates the fine wines of Hazendal alongside selected premium producers from the Bottelary Hills.
For a more casual lunchtime meal, Babushka Deli‘s urban farmhouse kitchen further blends Russian inspiration and winelands provenance with a menu of generous bistro-style cuisine. Generosity, care and hospitality are the hallmarks of the food here, just as you’d find in the kitchen of any Russian babushka (grandmother).
The menu ranges from inspired all-day breakfasts to a lunch offering encompassing both Russian and Mediterranean culinary traditions. Choose a table indoors, with its contemporary country décor, or out in the shade around a remarkable steel-and-stone sculpture by Angus Taylor.Can’t get a table? Babushka picnic baskets can be pre-ordered to enjoy in the estate’s gardens, while the Wonderdal Food Truck turns out delicious street-food favourites, from umami-packed pork bao to black sourdough pita breads.
Across the clipped grass of the historic farmyard, the Pivnushka Beer Garden is a venue unbeatable on bright summer’s days. Formality goes out the window here, with long tables and bench seats made for large groups and great sharing platters of flame-grilled cuts straight from the barbecue. The Russian-South African fusion continues, with the likes of pork shashlik kebabs with sweet mustard emulsion and cabbage slaw, or beef sliders on a pretzel bun. To drink? A fine selection of local craft beers, alongside Hazendal’s own wines and signature cocktails.
Last but certainly not least is the Russian Tea Experience. Laid out under the oak trees when the weather’s fine, or in the newly-built glass conservatory when it’s not, the Tea Garden is an opportunity for locals and visitors to discover a contemporary expression of a uniquely Russian ritual that dates back to the 17th century and the Romanov Dynasty.
Imported Dulevo porcelain and traditional Russian samovars (tea urns) adorn the tables. A bespoke tea blend has even been imported from Russia, specifically for Hazendal. Tea-time snacks include freshly baked blini topped with salmon trout, blinchik (Russian crêpes) and Russian Olivier potato salad. Traditional Russian sweet treats balance the savoury: medovik honey cake, sharlotka apple cake and a gingerbread pryanik cookie.
At Hazendal, heritage and tradition combine in a thoroughly modern setting. And with such a talented chef at the helm, it’s little wonder that the historic Hazendal Estate has fast become a sought-after stop for gourmet adventures in the Cape winelands.
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