Camphors at Vergelegen

6 Reviews
Fine-dining food, Modern
Phone Number 0218472131 Opening Hours Lunch Dinner

Lunch: Wednesday to Sunday 12noon to 2.30pm

Dinner: Friday and Saturday 6.30pm to 8.30pm


Menu - Camphors at Vergelegen - Menu - Updated in February 2018 Camphors at Vergelegen wine menu - Updated February 2018
PDF - Summer 2017-18


Set menu at R495
Fine-dining food, Modern
Set menu at R495
Groups, Special occasions
Mastercard, Visa
Accepts credit cards, Booking required, Cocktails, Fireplace, Licensed, Parking, Wheelchair, WiFi

Critic's review

  • Ambience
  • Service
  • Food

Seth Shezi

Camphors may only be 40 minutes from Cape Town, but it is truly a destination restaurant. Situated in a vast and lush property, the Vergelegen grounds are a thriving well of inspiration for chef Michael Cooke, whose menu mainly comprises ingredients and fresh produce sourced or inspired by those surroundings.

Split between a ‘half’ or ‘full’ Tasting Tour, the menu is Michael’s endearing ode to seasonal produce. A freshly baked selection of bread is swiftly followed by a selection of seasonal ingredients from the estate, which showcases some of chef Cooke’s forages from the estate. But dishes such as the atchar-glazed East Coast hake with sweetcorn and pak choi (paired with the estate’s award-winning Chardonnay Reserve 2017) give patrons a glimpse into Michael’s genius mind. The dish is at once punchy and restrained so as to not overpower the delicate fish – perhaps a feat to be expected from chef Michael. After all, he has worked under Heston Blumenthal and Peter Tempelhoff, but the almost maniacal obsession with seasonality and provenance is all him. No dish exemplifies this better than the braaied Karoo lamb with savoy cabbage and fennel paired with the estate’s Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013 – a flavour profusion that feels decidedly South African.

Although the dishes are perfectly proportioned, after nine courses (the Full Tour Menu) one does start to feel stuffed, and chef Michael cleverly ends off with very light desserts that still showcase his knack for unorthodox flavour combinations.

The triple-volume thick wine list is filled with an incredible variety, including auction collector level bottles of wine. Wine-lovers will be elated.

Camphors offers expert service without compromising on congeniality. Everyone has very clearly defined roles and the ball never drops, from the sommelier keeping the glasses topped up, to your waiter never forgetting any minute allergy you may have noted, and the stellar restaurant manager acting as the charismatic go-between.

Three of the four seasons of the year should be spent outdoors, the manicured grounds and towering camphor trees offer a beautifully lush view from the patio seating. In winter, diners will appreciate the fireplace inside the neo-baroque dining room.

Best for…
Long lazy lunches or special occasions.

(October 2019)

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

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User reviews

6 Reviews
    Probably one of the finest food experiences in the Western Cape is to have a tour menu with house wines at Camphors. This is a tasting journey through some of the best fresh produce of the Cape where chef Michael and his team pair extraordinary combinations of food and wine to give exceptional flavour sensations which are also visually exciting. It is beyond me to describe in detail the courses, my son draws parallels with michelin starred restaurants in Europe. The Vergelegen website spells the menus in detail. It is a hidden gem of the Cape which should be on every person’s agenda who appreciates fine culinary arts. The staff are exceptional and knowledgeable enthusiasts,try it once and risk addiction!
    I felt compelled to write a review after reading the less than fantastic reviews from other diners. I ate here twice foregoing a night in cape town to dine a here a second time. It didn't disappoint I've been lucky enough to dine in many Michelin star restaurants and this bettered most of them for its innovative and devine food. We ate from both the a la carte and the tasting menu and recommend them both. The wine matching only enhanced the food. Regarding the entrance fee, if that's the price you pay to dine here then I would gladly pay it every time. I will make this a destination when next I'm in or near Capetown.
    This restaurant is a hidden gem, tucked away in the spectacular Vergelegen Estate gardens. The Food was beautifully presented with some incredible flavor combinations and the kitchen team delivered on all fronts. The muscles with bone marrow, lemon marmalade and kale was a mind blowing combination and an absolute must. The service was equally fantastic and Anthony did an incredible job. This must surely be one of South Africa's best lunch destinations.

    The venue is great, decor a little old school, but a great improvement on the old restaurant. For the rest I was so disappointed. I had high expectations, but the food was bland and some of the dishes at the table were really not very nice. The service was fine, but even after someone at the table said a dish was horrible, not even an apology was made. PS. remember to take R10 per person cash for entrance at the gate...which I found slightly rediculous if you are just going to the restaurant.

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