Exceptional food and drink at Oude Werf has been a Stellenbosch institution for more than 200 years. The dishes of the first inn’s Tant Betjie Wium delighted her guests in the 1800’s and today, this tradition lives on in a new restaurant, designed by top SA architects Revel Fox, which opened in 2014.
Built over the foundations of the Hotel’s famous 17th Century churchyard site (still visible today) the Restaurant is centred on a charming in-situ kitchen. There are touches of period detail recalling the hotel’s heritage and even a huge tree is incorporated into the spacious interior. Outdoors, a vine-covered courtyard dining area with water features is a reminder of the ‘lei-water’ canals that once existed here. Just off the courtyard, a period-style lounge, with bar and barista station opens onto the Hotel’s central gardens and pool deck - another quiet spot for a glass of wine, cocktail or coffee.
The Restaurant’s signature dining style is Cape Traditional food with a contemporary gourmet ‘twist’ and features varied menus with classic dishes showcasing the flavours and ingredients of the area, complemented by an extensive selection of wines from this celebrated region.
From easy breakfasts, light seasonal lunches, to hearty dinners or the baked delights of a typical old-style afternoon ‘tea and cake’, Oude Werf Restaurant offers a delicious sample of Cape cuisine in a relaxing, convivial setting that’s essentially Stellenbosch.
We decided to try their winter special this evening. What a disappointment! The 'special' is so restricted (only butternut soup and then either a chicken curry or bobotie) - everyone in our party ate off the main dinner menu. The lamb steak was uncuttable - sent back. The potato baskets were inedible - soaking in fat. The fillet steaks were good, but the vegetables were only the tiniest, thinnest scraps hidden under the meat. The place is being renovated but the dining area is in a sad state. No ambience, cold and draughty (although it is a beautiful building with a giant fireplace - positively oozing with potential). It has no heart and the staff seem tired.