South Africa: Cape Winelands update
Considering how much other international boards on Chowhound have helped me in my travels, I always feel a bit guilty that the South African comments here are usually quite out of date, and a lot of queries never are answered in time. So in the interests of assisting fellow travelling hounds, who I know usually visit the winelands, a couple of relatively new updates:
Breakfast/brunch at La Motte Estate, just outside Franschhoek:
Really beautifully positioned spot, with great attention to detail. Eat outside under the oak trees in fine weather. Small but ever changing breakfast menu; the warthog smoor (a local version of a tomato sauce) and the omelettes are particularly outstanding. There's a little stream and a giant chess set for kids to play with. Make sure you peek in their cellar (you can walk around the barrels, as well as taste), and there's also their pierneef art museum and the gift shop. Lovely way to spend a morning.
LUNCH AT BABYLONSTOREN, outside Franschhoek:
OK, I haven't actually gone here, but I really want to. Check out their website, amazing attention to detail, farm to fork approach. Menu might seem a bit precious for those who are over the whole vegetable-sustainable trend. Veg gardeners should definitely check out their vegetable garden.
EIGHT, Spier Estate, outside Stellenbosch:
Another farm-to-fork dining experience. The chicken, eggs, and most of the veg come from their small biodynamic farm on the estate. Lovely setting, in a garden and a beautifully renovated barn. Fresh juices are superb, and the menu is pleasingly South African influenced but approachable.
Haute Cabriere, Franschhoek:
This one's been around for ages, a restaurant in a subterranean cellar. However I have eaten supper there twice recently, and someone in the kitchen is doing something right - traditional South African nouvelle cuisine is usually not my thing (even if it's de facto fine dining fare in this country), but there is a lightness of touch here. Very good food.
DIE OUDE BANK BAKKERIJ, Stellenbosch
Artisanal bakery in the middle of town. Wonderful breads, bakery lunches and breakfasts.
THE GRILL ROOM, Franschhoek
Straight forward steak house with a handful of fish, salad and other bistro dishes. Reasonable prices by Franschhoek standards, popular with the locals, great steak. Perhaps a good choice if you're out-wined and tasting menu'd after a couple days in the Winelands!
Previously reviewed on Chowhound, I still love Bread and Wine at Moreson, and Fyndraai at Solms Delta, both on the road into Franschhoek.
Another place worth mentioning is Cascade Country Manor in Paarl. They have an olive grove and make their own olive oils. The oil is intensely fruity--an apple and grape flavor--with a strong peppery finish. They offer an olive oil tasting, which is a great change of pace from the wine tastings you'll do in this area.