Monday, November 15, 2010



This was at the Waterkloof wine estate and restaurant, outside Somerset West, near Cape Town. And that was the best pink wine I have tasted. Ever. And, looking at their prices afterwards, one of the most expensive. Fortunately, it was sold out. The wine maker is Werner Engelbrecht.


Good times.

Waterkloof is on a hill and the cellar and restaurant are a massive, carbuncular concrete monolith of which the Soviets might have been proud. The interior is stunning, but could conceivably have been arrived at more gracefully.


Some of the food was very good, and all of it was beautiful. Our waiter was a delight, and the sullen and rude girl maitr d' who seated us a terror who would have been quite at home in that USSR.   She could care less that we had specifically booked a table in the glass box.

It's full, she said, gesturing impatiently at the empty tables. Finish en klaar. Incapable of cracking a smile. The wall came down a long time ago, Sister.

Above, Vincent's risotto, and below, It's in there. It was a good idea, but the egg was overwhelmed by the deeply fried potato nest. Less is more, back to the drawing board.

The winner was the succulent pork belly, below. Isn't it always? My yellow tail was ordinary and overcooked.

But I forgive them all (except for Nurse Ratched), on the strength of the panna cotta. I don't usually go mad for dessert. I'm far more interested in what precedes and what forms the main event. Cheese is more tempting, too. It is seldom that a dessert menu really makes me sit up and take notice. This was sublime. I even forgave the foam, basil-infused. Foam is over. Let's move on. Thing is, here, it worked. There was a wizard in the pastry kitchen.

I have to say 'was' because this meal was eaten a long time ago, in March, and may no longer reflect the current menu or status quo, though I doubt that the carbuncle itself has been reabsorbed into the hillside. But the maitr d' might have been fired and the chefs and cooks may have changed up.

Yes, I would recommend it. The view is gorgeous, out through the glass box in the carbuncle, overlooking False Bay. You can watch the innards of the winery in action through the no-expense-spared floor-to-ceiling-glass as you eat. The kitchen is open. The wine is superb. The service excellent. Apart from You Know Who. And when we sat down for lunch, the food was hit-or-miss very good to acceptable.

If you have visited, please tell...


  1. I haven't eaten there, but agree about the foam - puh-leeze!
    my favourite restaurant, nicely hidden in it's hill, remains Haute Cabriere.
    outside of a hill, George Jardine's place at Jordan is f a n t a s t i c. net so bietjie duur...

  2. Haha, I also agree that foam is over!

  3. Lily - it's pretty nutty, but I have not eaten at Haute Cabriere - I am little allergic to Franschoek. But now we will. Thank you.

    Leah - the trickle down effect.

  4. Those wine pix are some of the most atmospheric I've ever seen here in blogland. Kudos for your good taste and for the wisdom to share with us. :-)
    All the best,

    PS: One of the best rosé sparkling wines I've ever had, including rosé champagnes, was a South African rosé. They know their stuff down there.

  5. Hey Michael - thanks :-) Come and test some for yourself, soon.


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