Average read time: 5 minutes.
Food is such a funny thing. We need it to sustain us on a very basic cellular level, but – when created by a certain type of person in a certain way – it’s also a full-on art form. So, if you want to get metaphysical and a little weird about it, you could perhaps say when you eat really good food, that art becomes a part of you.
Deep stuff, we know!
However, it’s also true that what you eat and how you choose to nourish your body contributes greatly towards determining your health in the long term. This why it’s so cool to find restaurants where the food is a-ma-ZING and completely Insta-worthy, but also incorporates fresh, healthy ingredients that are good for your body and the planet.
Fortunately for the health and eco-conscious foodies among us, there is a growing trend among forward-thinking chefs to position themselves in spaces where they have access to the most amazing, dew-dappled, fresh-from-the-farm ingredients.
So, without further ado, here are five dining destinations in the Cape Winelands where each meal you choose will be filled with locally sourced, farm to table goodness:
Spier Food Garden & Riverside Picnics
Over the last 20 months, an old horse paddock at Spier Wine Farm has been transformed into a thriving food garden. The roughly one-hectare garden’s bounty includes fruits, herbs, salad greens and vegetables — all cultivated using eco-friendly and regenerative techniques.
The garden’s delicious and nutrient-rich produce is used in Spier’s restaurants and can be purchased online and from the Spier Farm Café. Want to get in on the action? You are now also able to harvest your own — directly from the garden!
For just R150, take home a box crammed full of seasonal goodness to nourish you in the week ahead. Visit the garden Monday to Saturday from 9-11am. Comfortable shoes and a hat are recommended. Booking in advance is essential, make your reservations here.
Feeling peckish? Enjoy an alfresco spread at the new Riverside picnic area – a serene spot with panoramic views of the Helderberg and soothing sounds of the meandering Eerste River.
Nestled amongst big granite boulders alongside the dam, the spot’s ideal for soaking up the sun while tucking into a deliciously fresh summer picnic and Spier’s award-winning wines.
Facebook: Spier Wine Farm
Instagram: Spier Wine Farm
Babel Restaurant at Babylonstoren
Located in the old, beautifully renovated cowshed on the Babylonstoren estate, Babel Restaurant is a wonderful mix of Cape Dutch architecture and contemporary glass walls that makes for a simple yet edgy environment in which to enjoy their tasty, yet often unconventional, flavour and texture combinations.
The restaurant has a farm-to-fork philosophy which means they like to serve seasonal food that reflects the team’s “pick, clean and serve” approach. Babel is open for breakfast and dinner every day of the week and for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday. Their menu is seasonal and is always guided by what is available in the garden.
Schalk Vlok is the current executive chef. He works closely with a team of bakers and gardeners, as well as food designer and stylist, Maranda Engelbrecht.
“While our meals are creative, we don’t like to tamper unduly with our food. Our meals are always clear in structure, so that fruit and vegetables gathered daily from the garden are often served whole or with the skin on – we believe our guests must be able to see what they are eating. Our helpings are generous, and our food always reflects the season.
“So in summer, we may serve a yellow salad of pineapple, gooseberries, granadillas, yellow tomatoes and apricots, while in winter a slow-cooked leg of lamb in red wine is more likely,” Schalk explains.
The Werf Restaurant at Boschendal
At Boschendal, the focus is firmly on providing authentic culinary experiences rooted in flavourful, nourishing, soil-to-fork goodness. This is why their menus shift with the seasons, and why much of the fresh produce you’ll find on your plate is sustainably grown right there on the farm, in their gorgeous gardens.
The estate offers a variety of dining options, but if you’re looking for something extra special, The Werf Restaurant is where you need to be. Here, Chef Allistaire has designed a menu that truly celebrates the remarkable organic produce of the farm.
This includes a very popular line-up of imaginative dishes that features produce from the farm, as well as their own Black Angus beef, forest-reared Duroc pork, and fresh vegetables and herbs from The Werf Food Garden, which can be viewed from the conservatory.
View all their updated opening hours on this handy page, and pre-book your meal online there as well – simple!
Hamm & Uys at Blaauwklippen
Hamm & Uys at Blaauwklippen outside of Stellenbosch is a Cape heritage restaurant, and the ideal place to go if you want to enjoy modern interpretations of super nostalgic South African dishes like soet kerrie (sweet curry), peppermint crisp tart, denningvleis and more – but super fancy.
The chefs like to work with the freshest produce available and align themselves with local producers to bring the flavours of the Winelands to life in the most spectacular fashion.
Think Saldanha Bay mussels prepared with Blaauwklippen Chenin Blanc, red onion, saffron, and a dash of cream, served with wood-fired roosterkoek Scarpetta; and poached summer peaches with whipped Ideal milk. There is even a naughty version of a koeksister, called a Sletsister… Ask your waitron about it.
Find their current opening times and online booking form here.
Facebook: Hamm & Uys
Instagram: Hamm & Uys
Osteria by Hamm & Uys
Situated in the undercover-cool Boland town of Wellington, Osteria serves really good Italian food. As in, the type of Italian food that has you involuntarily using your hands to talk like Sophia Loren, and quoting bits of The Godfather all day. It’s so good. And fresh!
Here, the chefs and their crew go out of their way to source incredible local ingredients, such as capers that are grown on Kalmoesfontein in the Swartland, and parmesan from Klein Rivier, bacon from Joostenberg etc.
Osteria is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Sunday, with two sittings for lunch (12 and 2pm), and a dinner seating from 6pm. They are closed on Mondays. At the time of going to print, their liquor licence is still pending, but you are welcome to BYO. Click here to make a booking.
Salivating a bit, there? Sorry, we know! It’s amazingly tempting. So now you know where you can find the good stuff in the Winelands. Check back soon for more insider insights into the best places to have your culinary mind blown.
TOP TIP! Always remember to call ahead and make a booking when you’re headed to eateries of this calibre – they tend to fill up quickly! This way you’ll also know if they plan to close for a particular holiday or a private function before you make the trip.
Words | Anna-Bet Stemmet @skryfyster
Editor | Nikki Temkin @nikkitemkin
Images | Images courtesy of the venues