We asked the co-founders of Art House Collection for their five favourite restaurants in the Cape Winelands, home to some of the best restaurants in the world.
These restaurants are the Brundyn family's favourite places to eat out when we are in the Cape Winelands. My selection ranges from carefully crafted fine dining experiences to casual family-style eateries. I am repeatedly drawn to these establishments because of their unique architecture and elegant interior design, which draws on historical inspiration combined with contemporary flair. They are classic examples that do not yield to passing trends or fleeting fashion. Most of all, I love these restaurants because they consistently provide delicious food and excellent service.
Protégé Restaurant, Franschhoek
Protégé is one of my family's favourite restaurants. The name means ‘protector’ in French, and I admire how – in keeping with this mission – the restaurant promotes the talents of emerging young chefs, by providing astute guidance and the chance to put themselves on the culinary map. Located in Franschhoek, the restaurant offers a casual approach to fine dining, by combining refined flavours with fresh and seasonal ingredients that are sourced– wherever possible – from local suppliers.
Protégé is guided under the excellent direction of previous Eat Out Chef of the Year, La Colombe's Scot Kirton and head chef Zane Soutar leads the talented team in the kitchen. They offer a set chef’s menu (and a vegetarian option) that features a selection of small plates and a main course with the option to add dessert or snacks as desired.
Orangerie Restaurant at Le Lude Estate, Franschhoek
Nic and Freda Barrow’s Orangerie Restaurant is a hidden gem nestled among the picturesque Franschhoek vineyards. The Barrows are passionate about providing a premium product and an unrivalled experience. I have known and loved the family for more than twenty years, since first meeting them at the Rosenhof CountryHouse in Oudtshoorn. Today their daughter, Chef Nicolene, runs the kitchen and specialises in classic French cuisine with a contemporary spin. Take for example their interpretation on a cheese soufflé, made with Gruyère, and served with a light crème sauce and an apple-celery salad.
Nic and Freda bought the Franschhoek farm in 2009 with the dream of producing the finest Cap Classique – a naturally bottle-fermented sparkling wine. Over the years, they have planted the farm with grape varieties synonymous with excellent sparkling wines such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This year they celebrate 10years since their maiden vintage in 2012. Having turned their dream into a reality, today Le Lude is internationally renowned for crafting an unique range of MCCs that are rounded, elegant, and refined.
De Volkskombuis, Stellenbosch
Nothing beats enjoying a leisurely drawn-out summer lunch under the oak trees or a moreish winter dinner in front of the fireplace at De Volkskombuis – an irreplaceable national asset and a comfortable family-friendly eatery. Set against the backdrop of an old Cape Dutch style building, this restaurant revives traditional South African fare with new twists. The menu boasts classic ‘Boerkos’ such ‘tamatie bredie’ and sago pudding alongside more modern options like mushroom risotto and Chalmar fillet.
The beautiful historic property – formerly labourer’s cottages – was designed bySir Herbert Baker in 1902, on the old farm previously known as Vredenburg. In1968 the property was acquired by Historical Homes of South Africa and restored and leased as a restaurant. While I was a student at the University of Stellenbosch, it was a popular place to meet friends and to host get-togethers. However, over time the building became neglected and even stood vacant for several years. Then in 2017 the Rupert family initiated a complete restoration of the property and today De Volkskombuis once again functions as a well-loved restaurant within the beautiful town of Stellenbosch.
Blanko at the Alphen Hotel, Constantia
As its name suggests, Blanko is an elegant, all-white, gallery-style space – one of the many reasons I love it! The restaurant's walls are adorned with works by some of South Africa's top artists, including William Kentridge, Brett Murray, and Mikhael Subotzky. The interior boasts beautiful Italian marble tables, a dramatically lit-up bar, and textured furnishings. This ambience is reflected by executive chef Amber-May Deetlefs' culinary philosophy: ‘The best food not only has to taste good, but it should also be something sincere and uncomplicated’. Accordingly, Blanko is where simplicity meets style, and it offers an all-round sensory feast.
La Cotte Farm Heritage Restaurant, Franschhoek
I was recently introduced to this gorgeous boutique hotel and restaurant by a stylish friend from Palm Beach. La Cotte Farm dates back to 1698 and is one of eleven Huguenot Farms granted to French immigrants fleeing their native country during the 17th century. Today you can experience this heritage – carefully restored over the last three and a half centuries – as well enjoy the natural beauty and luxurious accommodation on offer.
The La Cotte Farm Heritage Restaurant is housed in the original manor house. This building has been beautifully renovated over the years to showcase its high ceilings and spectacular light-filled interiors while still conserving remnants of the Cape Dutch Victorian and Georgian architecture.
Fora memorable dining experience, I recommend enjoying a delicious farm breakfast or savouring a lazy lunch while gazing leisurely across the valley towards Franschhoek village. The restaurant combines Malayan influences with traditional Cape Dutch cuisine, an amalgamation reflected in the bold, colourful interior design and the old Willow blue-and-white plates. The menu boasts a fusion of flavours which stood out particularly in the Nguni beef bobotie, made with organically sourced meat, that first caught my eye – and it did not disappoint!