Good food and wine, good room with a view: Waterkloof joins select group of restaurants in the Cape winelands

NEDBANK’S presentation of American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards to Waterkloof on the Sir Lowry’s Pass Road outside Somerset West and De Grendel on the Tygerberg Hill in Panorama/Durbanville brings the number of top SA wine farm restaurant laureates during the past year to around 20, i.e. including those that achieved top honours in the 2013 Eat Out Awards and/or Three Star ratings for ‘truly superb experiences’ in Rossouw’s 2013 restaurant guide.

And particularly outstanding are the seven dining rooms located next to award-winning wine cellars that have earned two or more of these top restaurant accolades in the past 12 months, if not repeatedly in recent years:

Jordan in Stellenbosch
Overture at Hidden Valley in Stellenbosch
Pierneef at La Motte in Franschhoek
Rust en Vrede in Stellenbosch
Terroir at Kleine Zalze in Stellenbosch
Tokara in Stellenbosch
Waterkloof near Sir Lowry’s Pass outside Somerset West

Newcomer to the top echelon of winery restaurants in the Cape, Waterkloof is out of the way, on a road less travelled and a bit of a schlep to get to 
 but increasingly well worth the detour. Owned by British wine merchant Paul Boutinot, the place is as much an architectural marvel as a space to enjoy a taste of good living. From a chic wine-tasting lounge and open-plan kitchen, the tables and seating for 120 extend out onto a glass-walled balcony with vistas that range from Waterkloof’s mountainside vineyards to False Bay in the distance.

French chef Gregory Czarnecki focuses on contemporary classics with many of the ingredients for his recipes grown at Waterkloof. Two of his signature dishes: Monkfish and crispy prawn, curry mayonnaise and ginger beer-compressed apple; Camembert crème brulée, candied walnut, granny smith and celery sorbet. Besides the multi-course Degustation menus at R500 to R600pp including wines to match, the À La Carte menus include a variety of delectables at R260pp and up for two- and three-course meals.

On the winelist: red, white, rosé and bubbly for between R95 and R195 a bottle, with all  except the Villiera and Steenberg sparkling wines – made at Waterkloof and all available by the glass for between R28 and R49. Most recommended: Circle of Life White (blend), Circumstance Cabernet Sauvignon and Circumstance Syrah  click here for ratings of recent vintages and prices ex-cellar, and click here for more info about The Restaurant at Waterkloof.