Restaurant of the Year: The Restaurant at Waterkloof

The piquing excitement and sense of occasion conjured by the meandering drive up to Waterkloof – which jauntily perches atop the Schapenberg mountain – is rewarded by a decidedly otherworldly dining experience. Revered chef Gregory Czarnecki is gifted and has thus earned him and his restaurant global recognition – and the number one spot – for his unique style of artful simplicity.


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The Waterkloof degustation menu is one of a few tasting menus that is capable of melting your heart and bringing a warm smile to your face dish after dish. The menu should always be taken with the wine pairing, as it’s brilliant, and each dish is conceived with the sole intention to complement its accompanying exquisite organic wine.


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To start, arriving in quick succession, are the impeccably beautiful bite-sized dishes of tandoori and langoustine, the oyster and saffron cauliflower, and the vichyssoise and caviar. The first dish is the most aesthetically pleasing dish of the year: a tomato consommé with basil, chives, rosemary and verbena, followed by rich snails in a green spinach, mint and blue cheese sauce.

The uncontested highlight is a simple dish of Mauritian sea bass with leek ash, watercress and pommes boulangerès. The aroma of the sauce being poured over the fish is like an olfactory orgasm, capable of evoking long lost memories of holidays I had in Saint-Paul-de-Vence in the south of France.


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What sets chef Gregory is apart is his fearlessness. He’s not afraid to put risky ideas on the menu, and they always work. One such marvelous success is the dessert dubbed ‘Milk, Milk… Milk’ – a trio of buffalo, cashew, cow and goat’s milk.


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Located in an award-winning organic wine farm run by the one of the country’s most celebrated winemakers, Nadia Barnard, Waterkloof makes it easy for diners. The tasting menus come with exceptional wine recommendations.

In keeping with the elevated culinary offering, the service is precise and polished without being ungenial.


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Dubbed the ‘cellar in the sky’, the restaurant is a striking glass and concrete cube atop the Schapenberg mountain, with unimpeded views of False Bay. The simple interior is awash with natural light, crisp white tablecloths and fynbos flower arrangements by Michelle Czarnecki to create a softening touch to the minimalist décor.

Best for…
A truly special occasion, from marriage proposals to anniversaries or making partner at your firm.

The Restaurant at Waterkloof. Photo supplied.

See all the winners for the 2018 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards and the rest of the Top 10.

Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.

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