There’s a little-known secret among foodies in the Cape – as winter settles in for the next few months, biting cold and driving rain keeps many away from venturing further than home or office.
However, those in the know beat a path to the region’s top fine dining establishments, those that are typically booked up and consciously make the most the season.
By shifting their focus to maximise ingredients that come into their own in winter and creating unctuous comfort dishes with them, these five restaurants should be the very reason to head beyond your front door this season.
That all of them offer a crackling fire to accompany your meal is yet another reason to put them on the shortlist.
1. beyond, Buitenverwachting Wine Farm, Cape Town
Simplicity and sophistication in equal measure
Beyond the bustle of city life, Buitenverwachting wine farm is host to award-winning chef Peter Tempelhoff’s creation: beyond. With views across the Constantia valley, the restaurant encapsulates the traditions of the farm through pared back architecture and honest food.
With a particular focus on supporting local and buying seasonal, all ingredients are sourced from the best community producers and surrounding farms, many from Buitenverwachting farm itself.
Served fireside, this year’s winter menu is defined by both comfort and elegance and heroes ingredients like chestnuts, artichokes and mushrooms – all at the very peak of their growth.
Expect honest, feel-good dishes elevated to fine dining standards like the Springbok with estate raisins, cocoa, and celeriac pap as well as iberico pork with a Malay spiced crayfish bisque, heirloom carrots, and lentil bhaji.
beyond is open for lunch on Thursday to Sunday from 12pm to 2.30pm ( until 1 October 2022) and dinner Wednesday to Saturday from 6pm to 8.30pm.
- Bookings: [email protected] or 021 794 0306.
- Website: www.beyondrestaurant.co.za
2. Deux Lions, La Bourgogne Farm, Franschhoek
Barefoot luxury under the oak or beside the fire
Tucked away off one of the Franschhoek Valley’s most seductively picturesque roads, Deux Lions at La Bourgogne Farm encapsulates the best of what the region has to offer: jaw-dropping natural beauty and sought-after cuisine.
Opened in April 2022, this newcomer channels barefoot luxury through its menu, marrying comfort and honesty.
Head Chef, Nanda Cardosa is passionate about locally sourced ingredients and seasonality, allowing each ingredient to speak for itself. Tuck into their lamb rump with caper and sultana crumb or their pea risotto at a table under the old oak trees in a patch of winter sun or beside their fireplace.
The farm is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Walk-in guests are welcome.
- Bookings: [email protected] or 021 876 3245.
- Website: deuxlions.za.com
3. Clara’s Barn, Vergenoegd Löw The Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
Ancestral food made modern in the Cape’s oldest barn
A modern farm kitchen rooted in South African heritage food – that’s what awaits at Clara’s Barn. Number 7 in renowned restauranteur, Bertus Basson’s stable of establishments, Clara’s Barn brings staggering history (it’s the oldest barn in the Western Cape), character and soul to Basson’s famously local focus.
Picture a refined, fine-dining venue with two roaring fireplaces, farm-style recipes featuring the likes of Chalmar sirloin, braised hoekkraaltjie goat shoulder or yellowfin tuna, all expressed in Chef Drikus Brink’s contemporary way.
The restaurant is open for lunch on Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm to 4pm and dinner Friday and Saturday from 6pm to 10pm.
- Bookings: [email protected] or 021 202 4373.
- Website: bertusbasson.com
4. Faber, Avondale Wine, Paarl
Nature’s goodness against the backdrop of the majestic Klein Drakenstein Mountains
Faber is a farm-to-fork establishment that reveres mother nature’s bounty. True to Avondale wine’s philosophy of sustainable, biodynamic farming, Faber follows suit, creating wholesome, nourishing fare that’s as good for you as it is for the earth.
With Avondale’s proprietor Johnathan Grieve and chef Dale Stevens aligning their belief systems, the farm produces its own organic produce and sources extras from a strict set of sustainability principles.
Here, fresher-than-fresh organic ingredients and creative flare pair with an outstanding location fronted by views across the vineyards toward Table Mountain and the Simonsberg Range.
The farm is open for Lunch on Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm and dinner on Thursday to Saturday from 6pm. Walk-in guests are welcome.
- Bookings: email [email protected] or 021 202 1219.
- Website: avondalewine.co.za/faber/
5. Farro, Gabriëlskloof, Bot Rivier
Butter. Bread. Wine and Meat – full throttle wintery indulgence
Fans who have followed this long-time pop-up restaurant around the country are licking their lips at the return of Farro – this time for good. Husband and wife duo Alex and Eloise Windebank bring their mix of comfort classics to the Overberg, now calling wine farm Gabriëlskloof home.
The pair is renowned for their seasonally inspired menu of small plates cued by big global flavours and their love for indulgent ingredients. With dishes like the crispy lamb shoulder scrumpet and the truffled cappelletti, pumpkin and parmesan, their current offering is all about wintery goodness. That they’ve settled on one of the Cape’s most loved wine farms makes the full package pretty spectacular.
The restaurant is open for lunch Monday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm.
- Bookings: email [email protected] or 028 0085 017.
- Website: www.farrofoodandwine.com
Picture: @restaurantbeyond / Instagram