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Diane de Beer
Chef Adriaan Maree opened Fermier in 2016 and feels they have found their sea legs. He’s right and following his passion, it shows in everything. From the food to the service which is complimented by what can almost be classified as performance art in the open kitchen which is part of the dining area and has the place humming.
From the welcoming hearty, home baked bread with duck liver pâté and fresh butter with a handful of bitesize snacks to the perfectly combined dessert of poached pear, quince purée and salted caramel sauce, the meal is perfection on every level. It is masterfully clear in intent with taste, texture and balance all part of the equation. It runs through from the plating on carefully chosen crockery which has an individual feel about every piece as does everything else about this meal. The octopus with the mushroom, leek and Kalahari truffle is delightfully reminiscent of rich red meat and the lamb with tamarind and cauliflower transports you to the heart of a farm kitchen. Wild boar with broccoli, black garlic and kale goes directly against the name in delicacy and the tuna with celeriac, apple and crab as well as the bouillabaisse with fennel, pearl onion and dill both had veered off in unexpected fashion with individual flair. There is a simplicity yet depth of taste that’s intoxicating and this one meal clearly stamps the chef’s signature with comfortable confidence. Their stated goal is sustainability and much of the fresh produce and fish consumed has been supplied by the aquaponics farm also part of the property. Nine courses can be intimidating to present or to consume, but in both, they have mastered the process with aplomb. Like everything else, it hit all the right marks. Their menu changes seasonally which is also a treat.
If the wine pairing offered with the set menu does not appeal, (Ambeloui Ashley Brut MCC; Fledge and Co Fume Blanc; Longridge Chardonnay; Fram Dry White; Dorrance Chenin Blanc; Newton Johnson Pinot Noir; TSW Reserve Syrah; B Vintners De Alexandria; and finally Soetkarro) choose from several well-considered wines from the wine list with the help of their sassy sommelier Loraine Magombo.
Their staff (mostly feramle) are engaging and informed creating a warm atmosphere during the meal. They are clearly part of the room yet never intrusive and add to the enjoyment of the evening as they strike the right balance.
The interiors are as innovative and individual as the rest of the restaurant with exposed rafters and raw wood, exemplifying the simplicity and warmth of what has been established here. In winter the fires keep the airy venue warm while in Summer, large hinged doors are opened to welcome Pretoria’s spectacular summers.
an experience which is perfect from the moment one of the staff welcomes you by torch light to accompany you into the restaurant to every morsel of food and wine consumed. And then there’s the warmth of the chef and his people.
Eat Out critics dine anonymously and pay for their meals in full. Read our editorial policy here.