Situated on Longridge Wine Estate, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, Rykaart’s is run by chef Alex Rykaart and his wife, Ella. Here, they present a family-style sharing menu using local, seasonal produce. Expect generous, flavourful cooking from the heart. The experience starts with freshly baked bread, warm from the oven, served with lemon-and-parsley butter and a gift from the chef: light-as-air Klein River Grüberg cheese gougeres, topped with finely grated cheese – the perfect one-bite snack that leaves you wanting more. Next, expect the likes of carrot risotto made with roasted carrot, carrot tops and Parmesan, as well as a salad with pickings straight from the garden and a nori-nut (almonds blended with nori) dressing – a pleasantly crunchy, salty addition. For mains, the roasted Greenfield’s grass-fed beef sirloin with a red-wine sauce and chimichurri is flavourful and tender, with the herbaceousness of the chimichurri a perfect foil to the rich meat and sauce. The triple-cooked potato chips with thyme salt and preserved lemon aioli are very moreish, as is the corn on the cob with chipotle chilli butter and onion ash salt. Slow-cooked leeks with cheese sauce, garlic breadcrumbs, crispy leek tops and dill oil is an excellent combination of textures, with the umami onion flavour well complemented by the freshness of the dill oil. For dessert, the almond cake with white-chocolate sauce, caramelised pineapple and coconut-and-almond crumb is a sweet ending to a meal cooked with heart. Vegetarians and those with special dietary requirements are well catered for, with the chef taking care to present alternatives.
A well-balanced wine list is the backbone of the drinks service here, with enough choices to fit all budgets. Wines from the estate feature strongly, available by the glass and the bottle. There are a few other options from estates in the area. A selection of beers, ciders, spirits, soft drinks and cordials is also available.
A warm welcome from Ella sets the tone for relaxed, friendly service from waiting staff who have a good knowledge of the menu.
Large, floor-to-ceiling glass doors offer panoramic views of the False Bay peninsula and Table Mountain in the distance. Tables are also set outside in the garden and are in high demand in warm weather. Clean, elegant décor and fresh flowers contribute to a homely, comfortable, yet unfussy feel.