Sundays in Cape Town are generally quiet with most shops and restaurants closed so that their staff can maintain a work/life balance that Capetonians pride themselves on achieving. Visitors should follow the lead of locals and spend the day at one of the many area beaches, climb Table Mountain, or (my preference) head to the wine lands for a seriously delicious Sunday lunch. On my latest foray to Cape Town, I chose to spend my Sunday wining and dining at Waterkloof Wine Estate in Somerset West. The restaurant was recently named one of the ten best restaurants in South Africa in the Eat Out awards and it is easy to see why. The cellar and dining room are housed in a modern building dramatically perched on the slope of Schapenberg Mountains offering fantastic views of False Bay from the dining room. Try and resist the lure of the huge wraparound cantilevered balcony where you can contemplate life while staring at the sea, undulating vines, and indigenous fynbos.
I recommend arriving before your reservation so as to have enough time to sample wines from the Waterkloof wine range. I grossly underestimated the time involved because the wine consultant spent a significant amount of time tasting all of the same wines I had selected. I elected to sample the six premium wines from the Circumstance (single varietals) and Circle of Life (blends) ranges. Half the farm is dedicated to wine production and the other half has been set aside to allow the indigenous fynbos to flourish. Beyond conversing about the tasting notes of each of the wines, the consultant described the biodynamic farming techniques (no industrial pesticide or chemicals), plowing with horses, and no yeast added during the winemaking process. Of course, I ended up shipping six bottles of the 2013 Circle of Life White blend to my home in Johannesburg since the wine so perfectly tasted like summer.
After the tasting, I crossed the room to my table which had a glorious view of the sea. The dining room almost resembles a greenhouse with floor to ceiling glass that brings the outdoors inside. Make a reservation as this is a popular destination for a leisurely lunch with family and friends. Skip breakfast so that you are able to properly enjoy the six course tasting menu paired with wines from the vineyard. I normally pass on tasting menus because I find it is too much food to consume in one sitting, but this one was light and perfectly curated by the chef.
The Restaurant at Waterkloof Wine Estate produces contemporary and playfully innovative food. Every course from the amuse bouche to the final trio of sweets was phenomenal and when possible, organic and locally sourced. The kitchen produces a series of gorgeously plated dishes that look like edible art. The standouts from the ever-changing tasting menu were the epically beautiful and delicious foie gras with hibiscus, saffron apples, and ginger crackers and the cheese platter that had a generous slice of Belnori Phantom Forest cheese (a chèvre encased in ash and produced at a farm not far from my house in Johannesburg), truffled pear, and a brittle. The meal was perfectly attuned to the summer season and all the dishes had a light almost ethereal quality. Despite the sheer quantity of food, I left feeling satiated and not stuffed to oblivion.
Sunday lunch with good wine and good food is one of my favorite ways to while away an afternoon and Waterkloof Wine Estate did not disappoint in producing an epic and memorable experience.
- Foie Gras Terrine
- Norwegian Salmon Gravlax
- Poached Kingklip
- Tradestone Farmed Quail
- Belnori Forest Phantom Cheese
- Blood Peach Panna Cotta