The Werf Restaurant, situated on the grounds of the Western Cape’s second oldest vineyard, serves up dishes especially curated for the love of fresh, farm to table goodness.
Recently revamped, the Werf is one of two eating establishments on Boschendal Farm in the Franschhoek valley.
Fast establishing itself as a foodie hot spot in the winelands, I was keen to see what the fuss was about, and disappoint, it did not.
We arrived on a balmy Saturday evening for dinner and were promptly shown to our table for two besides a cosy fire.
The restaurant prides itself on farm fare, but the decor is anything but. Overlooking the lush vineyards and groves, the Werf has a large, open plan seating area.
It’s perfect for those last of the cold evenings with its candle-lit interior, while the spacious outdoor deck offers unparalleled views of the farm.
Chef Christiaan Campbell, well known for experimenting with fermenting produce, has taken traditional farm style cuisine and turned it into a gastronomical experience.
The restaurant’s new shared plates menu reflects Campbell’s approach to sustainability and his obvious passion for sourcing only the best when it comes to fresh produce.
Our first course was two dishes: hanger steak with pickled onions, fermented garlic and honey sauce; and squid and fennel with goat’s cheese and sour cream.
Both dishes were generous enough portions for two people to share, twice over. Light and each with its own distinct flavour, I especially enjoyed the hanger steak.
As each dish arrived, our attentive waitress rattled off each ingredient without skipping a beat - highly impressive!
But the pièce de résistance was the main course.
Again, two main dishes consisting of fish and lamb, accompanied by sides of Jerusalem artichokes, candied carrots, roasted potatoes and garden salad.
Don’t think this is your average Sunday lunch. Far from it - the carrots were accompanied by savoury honeycomb; and the potatoes roasted in beef fat. It’s testament to Campbell’s ingenious thinking out of the box and experimenting with different foodie techniques.
Even dessert was a show-stopper. Kumquat creme brulee accompanied by poached guavas, homemade custard and spiced ice cream - a fragrant affair infused with cardamom and other spices.
The daily menu is constantly evolving with seasonal changes, so no one visit is ever the same.
Dishes for two range from R80 (starters) to R450 (mains), and it’s worth every cent.
It’s a place you visit to impress your out-of-town friends, or you just want a fine dining experience that you’ll be bragging about days after.
Dietary requirements are also easily accommodated, which is a big plus for me.
It’s very seldom that I’m able to find establishments which are prepared to cater halaal.
The Werf is onto a winning formula and when word gets out, diners will be chomping at the bit to get a popular reservation there. My advice: visit before word gets out.
Visit www.boschendal.com for more information.