Restaurant review: Waterkloof in Somerset West

Posted on 23 April 2012

Waterkloof Wines must have one of the best views in the winelands. The estate’s restaurant, located at the top of a winding road through the vineyards, has floor-to-ceiling glass windows which overlook rolling vine-covered hills, and the Strand far below.

The restaurant’s food is equally fantastic. With dishes that ranged from cob with chestnut gnocchi and broccoli couscous, cocoa and olive oil sponge with lavender and honey sorbet, and quail with sticky spare rib dim sum, it was hard to choose what to eat.

We did eventually choose our dishes, and were not disappointed. We tucked into Camembert crème brulee with curry candied walnuts and a granny smith apple and celery sorbet for a starter (click here for the recipe), followed by ‘chicken of the forest’ mushroom topped with poached egg. Never having eaten this mushroom before I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t chicken – it’s even got a chickeny texture. The main of monkfish and crispy prawn with ginger beer compressed apple was sublime. We ordered two desserts and shared them (it was too hard to choose one) – caramelised banana with truffled ‘Nutella’ and horlicks ice cream, and cream of ivoire white chocolate with matcha tea and black sesame. The desserts were delicious but my favourite component was the horlicks ice cream – it reminded me (in a good way) of my horlicks-filled childhood.

We also did a wine tasting of Waterkloof’s wines – trying out the Waterkloof Sauvignon Blanc, Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc, Circle of Life White, Circumstance Chenin Blanc, Circumstance Syrah and the Circumstance Cabernet Sauvignon.

After lunch we chatted to French chef Gregory Czarnecki, who explained how much work goes into creating each spectacular dish (turns out this kind of gourmet food is more like an art form than cooking). With years of Michelin-starred restaurant experience in France, Gregory uses a South African influence as much as possible, by bringing in ingredients such as buch and Cape Malay spices into his dishes (think yoghurt mousse with biltong soil and buchu meringue). He also chatted about how there are plans for the restaurant to be almost 100% sustainable by next year. With its own herb garden, and organic compost/earthworm centre, Waterkloof looks like it’s well on its way.

Sitting around the tasting room’s fire with a glass of syrah and a tummy full of delicious food is rather a nice way to spend a windy autumn Saturday. Unlike other winelands restaurants that are all about al fresco dining, Waterkloof is the perfect autumn or winter spot – you still get great views and a feeling of being in the winelands, while being inside. And the food’s pretty amazing too.


Waterkloof Wines info

The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner, and for Sunday lunch. Main course prices range from around R100 to R160

Wine tastings take place from 10h00 to 17h00 and cost R30 a person. Order a ploughman’s platter (R120) or a cheese platter (R80) to accompany the wine tasting if you’re not staying for lunch at the restaurant.

Tel: 021-858-1491

Adress: Sir Lowry’s Pass Road, Somerset West

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