Pierneef a La Motte

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Reviewed by Richard Holmes

With the departure of chef de cuisine Chris Erasmus in May 2014, Michelle Theron had big shoes to fill. But Erasmus’s former sous chef has certainly stepped up to the pass, and the restaurant’s adventurous Cape Winelands cuisine is as good as ever. On the menu are dishes simultaneously adventurous and familiar, with homely ingredients given a new lease on life. The Cape Winelands chicken – baked with a pâté and a quail egg in the middle – is superb, and if you’re lucky, Theron’s hay-roasted quail will be on the menu.

Local and sustainable ingredients are key, and much of the kitchen’s fresh produce comes straight from the estate’s gardens, making the ever-changing Cape salad a solid choice for a starter. Historic techniques and ingredients may form the structure of the menu here, but the end result is thoroughly modern. Well-priced for the quality of cooking, this is a must-visit in the Winelands.

There's an exemplary wine list with offerings at very fair prices. Alongside the full range of La Motte wines, almost all available by the glass, there's a special selection of older vintages from the estate’s vinotique. As if that wasn’t enough, the list offers a wide range of top estates both from in the valley and further afield, before ending with a good selection of international options.

Excellent at every step, from the friendly receptionist at the art gallery to the maitre d’ and the well-trained waiting staff.

It’s a restaurant with two halves. Indoors the atmosphere is quite formal, with a wide hearth, art on the walls and genteel décor. The terrace and outdoor tables are more relaxed and family-friendly – a delight come summertime.

Do take a wander through the estate’s Pierneef gallery, home to dozens of works by the acclaimed landscape artist.

(July 2014)

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